William Liseter Austin papersCreation: 1855-1932 Creation: Majority of material found within 1870-1932
William Liseter Austin (1852-1932) was an executive of the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. Baldwin Locomotive Works was a manufacturer of railroad locomotives from 1825 until 1972. The papers include correspondence, most of which is technical in nature; there is also a vertical file on the construction, sale, and parts of locomotives; specifications; sketches and sketchbooks; and engineering drawings. A very small portion of the collection covers Austin's personal affairs.
- Creation: 1855-1932
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1870-1932
- Austin, William Liseter, 1852-1932 (Person)
5.9 Linear Feet
William Liseter Austin (1852-1932) was an executive of the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. Baldwin Locomotive Works was a manufacturer of railroad locomotives from 1825 until 1972.
Austin began his career as a draftsman in the Philadelphia Patent Office in 1868, leaving the following year to become a draftsman at the Kensington Steam Engine Works.
In 1870, he entered the Baldwin Locomotive Works, serving as draftsman and designer under partner and Chief Engineer, William P. Henszey (1832-1909). He remained with the company until his death, serving successively as chief designer, engineer, vice president, and president from 1910 to 1911; chairman of the board from 1911 to 1912; and director.
In addition, Austin was very active in professional organizations, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Franklin Institute. He died at his home in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, on March 10, 1932.
Scope and Contents
The papers are almost exclusively business records of the Baldwin Locomotive Works retained by Austin, and they reflect his successive responsibilities within the firm.
The earliest series consists of Austin's sketchbooks and loose sketches used in his work as draftsman and designer. Subsequent series contain correspondence with customers relating to their specifications and to Baldwin's tests. Complementing these are several series of engineering drawings (originals on paper and linen, blueprints, and photostats), a number of which were produced by Austin. Collectively, these series give a cross-section of the development of individual components and locomotive types for railroads in the United States and other countries.
Austin's "vertical," or reference, file of clippings, notes, and correspondence covers various aspects of locomotive design and railroad and company history. The administrative and foreign sales records date from Austin's tenure as president and director and include a board briefing book and journal, partly in old-style shorthand, dealing with corporate and labor issues. Two files relate to Austin's non-Baldwin interests: one of personal correspondence and one of cartoons on contemporary railroad, political, and social issues.
This collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
William Liseter Austin photographs (Accession 1985.228), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.
- Baldwin Locomotive Works (Organization)
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- William Liseter Austin papers
- Description rules:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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- 2020: Laurie Sather