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Reading Company records
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Reading Company records

Accession 1520

Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

PO Box 3630
Wilmington, Delaware, 19807

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2018-05-14T09:19-0400

Finding aid prepared using best local practices and Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Cite items for this collection in the following format:
[Description and dates], Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807


Descriptive Summary

Title: Reading Company records
Dates: 1795-1979
Accession Number: 1520
Creator: Reading Company.
Extent: 1 linear feet
Language of Material: English
Repository: Hagley Museum and Library: Manuscripts and Archives Department
Abstract: Chartered in 1871, Reading Company was the holding company for the system of railroads, canals and coal mines assembled by the predecessor Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company between 1833 and 1896. The collection consists of the corporate records of the Reading Company (1871-1976), the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company (1833-1896), the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company (1896-1923), and 159 predecessors and subsidiaries.

Administrative Information

Existence and Location of Copies

A selection of material on the Molly Maguires was digitized and is available online in the Digital Archives .

Access Restrictions

Records subject to 25-year time seal.

Use Restrictions

Literary rights retained by Reading Company.


Historical Note

Chartered in 1871 as the Excelsior Enterprise Company, Reading Company became the holding company for the system of railroads, canals and coal mines assembled by the predecessor Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company between 1833 and 1896. As a result of anti-trust proceedings, the Reading Company divested itself of its mining subsidiary in 1923 and became an operating company for its rail properties. After bankruptcy in the early 1970s, viable portions of the rail network were conveyed to Conrail on April 1, 1976. The reorganized Reading Company retains real estate and other non-rail assets.


Scope and Content

The collection consists of the corporate records of the Reading Company (1871-1976), the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company (1833-1896), the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company (1896-1923), and 159 predecessors and subsidiaries. Record types include minutes, account books, securities records, reports and agreements. Departmental records are available for the parent company, primarily from the various officers of the Operating Department, the Legal Department, the Secretary and Treasurer. Fragments of presidential correspondence are also available, especially for J.S. Harris and A.A. McLeod. Departmental records contain abundant detail on operating, technical and labor matters, with coverage relatively complete for the 1860-1914 period. Of special interest are papers relating to the Molly Maguires in the 1870s.

Most of original photographic archive was lost due to dispersal. Photographs are composed largely of construction for the 9th Street track elevation in Philadelphia and the Camden Terminal. The rest of the photographs are of structures, equipment, and images of staff published in the employee magazine between 1941 and 1965.



Part I. Parent company and predecessors (1833-1976); Part II. Subsidiary and associated companies (1795-1976); Part III. Subject files (1861-1957); Part IV. Miscellaneous (1825-1969); Part V. Photographs.


Access Points

Adams Express Company.
American Railway Association.
Anthracite Coal Strike, Pa., 1875.
Anthracite Coal Strike, Pa., 1887-1888.
Anthracite Coal Strike, Pa., 1900.
Anthracite Coal Strike, Pa., 1902.
Anthracite coal industry.
Association of American Railroads.
Association of Railway Executives (U.S.).
Baer, George F., (George Frederick), 1842-1914
Baird, Matthew, 1817-1877
Baldwin Locomotive Works.
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company.
Beech Creek Railroad Company.
Bertrand, Charles Edward, 1915-1978
Biddle, Edward R., (Edward Robert), 1798-
Buffalo, Rochester, and Pittsburgh Railway Company.
Bus lines--New Jersey.
Bus lines--Pennsylvania.
Centennial Exhibition. (1876 : Philadelphia, Pa.)
Central Railroad Company of New Jersey.
Chauncey, Elihu, 1779-1847
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company.
Coal mines and mining--Pennsylvania--Lackawanna County.
Coal mines and mining--Pennsylvania--Luzerne County.
Coal mines and mining--Pennsylvania--Schuylkill County.
Coal mines and mining--Pennsylvania.
Corbin, Austin, 1827-1896
Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company.
Dice, Agnew T., (Agnew Thomson), 1862-1932
Dickson, Samuel, 1837-1915
Drawings (Visual works)
Drexel, Morgan & Co.
Elmira, Cortland & Northern Railroad Company.
Emlen, William F., (William Fishbourn), 1787-1866
Empire Transportation Company.
Ewing, Charles H., 1866-1935
Fall Brook Railway Company.
Furness, Frank, 1839-1912
Gowan & Marx.
Gowen, Franklin B., (Franklin Benjamin), 1836-1889
Harris, Joseph S., (Joseph Smith), 1836-1910
Holding companies.
J.P. Morgan & Co.
Jersey Central Transportation Company.
Jersey Shore, Pine Creek and Buffalo Railway Company.
Junction Railroad Company (1860-1908).
Knight, Edward C., (Edward Collings), 1813-1892
Knights of Labor.
Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company.
Lehigh Valley Railroad Company.
Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad.
Lewis, Edwin M.
Lorenz, William, 1826-1884
McLeod, A. A., (Archibald Angus), 1848-1902
Montour Iron Company.
Montour Iron and Steel Company.
National Company.
New York Central Railroad Company.
New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company.
New York and Long Branch Railroad Company.
Nichols, Henry K., (Henry Kuhl), 1830-1904
Nicolls, G. A., (Gustavus A.), 1817-1886
Norfolk and Western Railway Company.
Osborne, John H., (John Humfrey), 1818-1894
Pennsylvania Coal Company.
Pennsylvania Railroad.
Personnel records.
Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Co.
Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company.
Philadelphia and Reading Relief Association.
Philadelphia, Reading and New England Railroad Company.
Pinkerton's National Detective Agency.
Police, Private.
Powelton Iron and Coal Company.
Pullman Company.
Railroad Strike, U.S., 1877.
Railroad cars.
Railroad passes.
Railroad police.
Railroad terminals--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.
Railroads--Buildings and structures.
Railroads--Equipment and supplies.
Railroads--New Jersey.
Railroads--New York (State)
Railroads--Passenger traffic.
Railroads--Pennsylvania--Schuylkill County.
Reading Company.
Reading Iron Company.
Reading Terminal (Philadelphia, Pa.).
Reading Terminal Market (Philadelphia, Pa.).
Robinson, Moncure, 1802-1891
Robinson, Wirt, 1806-1865
Sayre, Robert H., (Robert Heysham), 1824-1907
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.
Street-railroads--New Jersey.
Strikes and lockouts--Coal mining industry--Pennsylvania.
Strikes and lockouts--Railroads--Pennsylvania.
Tamaqua and Lansford Street Railway Company.
Temple Iron Company.
Tide-Water Pipe Company, Limited.
Toland, Henry, 1785-
United Mine Workers of America.
United States Express Company.
United States Railroad Administration.
United States Railroad Labor Board.
Voorhees, Theodore, 1847-1916
Welsh, J. Lowber, (John Lowber), 1842-1904
West Pittston Coal Company.
Western Maryland Railroad Company.
Western Union Telegraph Company.
Williamsport and North Branch Railroad Company.
Wootten, John E., (John Eastburn), 1823-1898
Workingmen's Benevolent Association.
Wyoming Valley Coal Company.
Young Men's Christian Association. Reading Railway Department.