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William Wallace Atterbury (1866-1935), 1881-1935, 1990

Accession: 2053Identifier: 2053-I.

Part of collection: Atterbury family papers (2053)


  • Creation: 1881-1935
  • Creation: 1990

Scope and Contents

The Atterbury family papers are primarily of the personal papers of the younger W. W. Atterbury (1866-1935) as preserved by his family, along with a few items from his father, John Guest Atterbury (1811-1887), and uncle, William Wallace Atterbury (1823-1911). Atterbury's railroad presidential papers are located at the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg.

A large portion of the collection concerns W.W. Atterbury's activities as a member of the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment (AAPA) and several trips he took to Europe in the aftermath of his war service in order to promote the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) and investigate possibilities for American investment in European reconstruction, particularly in the former Habsburg Empire. The former contains official APPA letters and pamphlets and Atterbury's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, as well as many personal letters written to Atterbury expressing support or opposition to Prohibition. The latter is primarily concerned with making travel arrangements and arranging introductions. There is a memo prepared for Atterbury on hotels and sightseeing in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. There is some information on the railways of Austria and Hungary and on the natural gas fields of Transylvania. There are also notes and articles on the economic and political conditions in Europe during the early 1920s and a copy of the Versailles Treaty.

Pennsylvania Railroad miscellany includes the personal letters describing Atterbury's placement in the Altoona apprenticeship program; his promotions through 1903; a 1905 memo on organization and officer selection; a report on President Cassatt's plan for securing adequate water supplies; a booklet of schematic plans and sections of Penn Station in New York (1907); an illustrated book of PRR presidents (1909); a minute from the Women's Aid during World War I; a prospectus for the Pennroad Corporation; a 1917 speech by Atterbury on adequate freight rates; company financial and operating statistics for use on Atterbury's European trips; newspaper clippings on the 1923 Broad Street Station fire; and an engraved minute on Atterbury's retirement.

Atterbury's war service is documented primarily by newspaper clippings, with a few letters and telegrams.

Personal miscellany includes a letter from E.H. Hooker describing the European situation (1923), a copy of an 1881 letter from Atterbury's schoolmaster to his father regarding his disruptive behavior, and files on alumni activities and the education of his own children.

The papers also contain two interesting reports by the Foreign Sales Department of the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1922. One details conditions in Eastern Europe, primarily in Poland. The other is a full, illustrated report of a mission from Harbin to Omsk to negotiate with the Soviet authorities in the aftermath of the civil war. The report gives a highly critical picture of the devastation, the breakdown of economic life, and the technical incompetence or indifference of the Bolsheviks in Siberia. There is also a report on Russian famine relief by the American Relief Administration (1923), two pre-war French political tracts, and a biography of T.G. Masaryk.

The papers also contain some interesting graphics and ephemera, including large tourist maps of the Near East, Nile Valley, and Sudan; cabin plans of the White Star liners Arabic, Olympic, and Majestic; timetables and brochures from steamship lines; invitations to the inauguration of President Herbert Hoover and Governor William C. Sproul; a history of the Hutchinson Presbyterian Church in New Albany, Indiana, where John G. Atterbury was pastor; itinerary and menus from Marshall Foch's 1921 American tour; menus of banquets and testimonial dinners, many for World War I figures; European dining car menus; and a poster/lunch menu from Ciro's of Paris.

There are some genealogical notes and publications, notably on the Boudinot family, whom Atterbury seemed to consider his most illustrious forebears. Also included are the log of Atterbury's yacht, the Arminia, with records of several cruises to Alaska, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and New England; and a typescript biography of Atterbury by Patricia Talbot Davis entitled "The Railroad General," which was later privately published by the Atterbury family.


From the Collection: 4.25 Linear Feet

Additional Description

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research. Litigators may not view the collection without approval.

Related Names


Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA