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Historical Note

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Arrangement of the Collection


Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series 1: Engineering drawings

Series 2: Specification Books

Series 3: Miscellaneous Indexes and rosters

Series 4: Sales order books

Series 5: Extra order books

Series 6: Law and junior law books

Series 7: Data books

Series 8: Employee book

Southern Methodist University

Collection of Baldwin Locomotive Works records, 1856-1956:

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: Baldwin Locomotive Works
Title: Collection of Baldwin Locomotive Works records
Dates: 1856-1956
Abstract: Baldwin Locomotive Works collection is devoted to the largest and most influential manufacturer of steam railroad locomotive engines in the world. This collection includes specifications, engineering drawings, advertising and corporate publications, ledgers, and manuscripts.
Accession No: Mss 0061 and Mss 0061x
Quantity: Approximately 175 linear feet
Language: Material is in English
Repository DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Historical Note

Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was the most successful builder of locomotives in the world. Sales of Baldwin steam locomotives in the United States and in foreign markets indicate the economic success of the company and the quality of the product.

The company was founded by Matthias W. Baldwin, a jeweler who opened a machine shop. After he built a steam engine for his shop sometime before 1830, Baldwin was commissioned by a Philadelphia museum to build a miniature locomotive to demonstrate the new steam locomotive technology first developed in England. The success of the model in 1831 brought Baldwin his first order for a full-sized locomotive from the Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown Railroad Company which was completed in 1832. From this modest start, the Baldwin Locomotive Works grew into a steadily increasing business. In his publication on American locomotive builders, John White wrote that "Baldwin survived because of conservative business methods, sound engineering, and basic good management."

Baldwin was the sole proprietor until 1839 when he took on some partners. Thereafter, the name of the company showed several variations. The following are the firm names under which locomotives have been built:

  • 1831 Matthias W. Baldwin
  • 1839 Baldwin, Vail & Hufty
  • 1841 Baldwin & Vail
  • 1842 Baldwin & Whitney
  • 1846 M. W. Baldwin
  • 1854 M. W. Baldwin & Company
  • 1867 M. Baird & Company
  • 1873 Burnham, Parry, Williams & Company
  • 1891 Burnham, Williams & Company
  • 1909 Baldwin Locomotive Works
  • 1911 The Baldwin Locomotive Works
  • 1951 Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation

A general decline in business set in during the Great Depression in the 1930s which resulted in various mergers and attempts to revive the business. Although production increased briefly during the second world war, the decline resumed until Baldwin built their last of approximately 70,500 locomotives in 1956.


Baldwin Locomotive Works. History of the Baldwin Locomotive Works from 1831-1897. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1894.

White, John. A short history of American locomotive builders in the steam era. Washington, D.C.: Bass, Inc., 1982.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

Since this material was acquired by C.W. Witbeck from Baldwin Locomotive Works on an informal and selective basis, it is difficult to explain the gaps in various series of volumes. Witbeck may have sold some of the original drawings and possibly record books to other interested parties. A few of the record books were donated to Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana where Witbeck lived. Quite possibly, the company may have lost some of the books, since Witbeck supposedly was allowed to take only the inactive records.

The bulk of this collection is made up of engineering drawings of locomotives and their parts. These drawings are loose and available for reproduction. The rest of the collection consists of bound volumes of standards developed by Baldwin when building locomotives or parts. Some of these have been microfilmed.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into 8 series:
Series 1: Engineering Drawings
Series 2: Specification books
Series 3: Miscellaneous indexes and rosters
Series 4: Sales order books
Series 5: Extra order books
Series 6: Law and junior law books
Series 7: Data books
Series 8: Employee book

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Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Sensitive Material Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications for which DeGolyer Library assumes no responsibility.

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Subjects (Organizations)
Baldwin Locomotive Works
Baldwin locomotives
Locomotives--United States--Design and construction

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Related Materials

Railroads: Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints, digital collection, https://www.smu.edu/libraries/digitalcollections/rwy/

Samuel M. Vauclain papers, 1856-1940 (A1980.0220)

Jan Kirsten papers and collection of locomotive drawings

Baldwin Locomotive Works foreign locomotive photographs (Ag1982.0053x)

Baldwin Locomotive Works albums, 1891-1915 (Ag1983.0275x)

Baldwin Locomotive Works builder’s cards (Ag2005.0003)

Baldwin Locomotive Works drawings, 1907-1910 (A1992.1780x)

Baldwin Locomotive Works drawings, circa 1910 (A1994.1982x)

Baldwin Locomotive Works drawings (A1989.1612x)

Baldwin Locomotive Works drawings (A1987.1480x)

Baldwin Locomotive Works drawings, 1916-1918 (A1990.1663x)

Everett L. DeGolyer, Jr. collection of United States railroad photographs (Ag1982.0232)

Lawford H. Fry papers, 1873-1945 (A2006.0018c)

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Collection of Baldwin Locomotive Works records 1856-1956, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Custodial History

Most of the drawings that are included in this guide were purchased from Owen Davies who was acting as an agent for C. W. Witbeck of Hammond, Louisiana. In 1953 or 1954, Witbeck acquired a narrow gauge steam locomotive from Godchaux Sugar Co. which in turn he sold to Gerald Best. Best, it turned out, was acting on behalf of Disneyland. When Witbeck approached Baldwin Locomotive Works in Eddystone, Pennsylvania about the original drawings for the locomotive, he learned that Baldwin was preparing to destroy their inactive records. He requested permission to retrieve what he could and was given a period of time to make his selections.

Matt Gray, an employee of Baldwin Locomotive Works in the Engineering Department, describes Witbeck's visit in a letter to John Kirtland (1977):

"While still at Eddystone about the year 1950 and later on about 1956 or so, a fella named Witbeck [sic] was given permission to gather steam Loco data and drawings from the files. I recall he would spend all night on the 7th floor and would bundle this stuff and carry it over to the train station."

Gray adds that "no one seems to know exactly what sort of rhyme or reason he was supposed to follow in separating the material but I would hazard a guess, judging by what was left, that he tried to get material from pre-1920 vintage locomotives."

Apparently, Witbeck sold and gave away small lots of these records to other collectors. Between the years 1962 and 1967, Everett Lee DeGolyer, Jr., Director of the DeGolyer Library, acquired the bulk of Witbeck's collection of Baldwin Locomotive Works material. While most of the original drawings came from the Witbeck collection, a small number of the mechanical drawings were also purchased from Herbert L. Broadbelt. In May 1989, Mr. H. Charles Yeager donated a group of drawings to the DeGolyer Library which are included in this listing. Yeager received these drawings as gifts from Witbeck. Also, the DeGolyer Library recently acquired a complete set of mechanical drawings (in 3 volumes) for a Russian 2-10-0 locomotive, which are not included in this listing.

Acquisition Information

Most of the records included in this guide were purchased from Owen Davies, a book and manuscript dealer, who was acting as an agent for C.W. Witbeck of Hammond, Louisiana. The typescript building lists containing numbers were acquired from Sylvan R. Wood.

Although most of the original drawings came from the Witbeck collection, a number of the mechanical drawings were also purchased from Herbert L. Broadbelt. Stanford University provided the DeGolyer Library with a microfilm entitled "Engine Drawing 1873-1910" which appears to be a pattern book showing engine designs.

Box 40-41 were added in 2021 and contain inquiry cards with locomotive drawings.

Processing Information

Finding aid written by Dawn Letson, 1994. Finding aid revised by Cynthia Franco, 2008. Select items from the collection are digitized, and links were added to the finding aid in 2019.

Encoded by

Cynthia Franco, 2008.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Engineering drawings
circa 9720 drawings

Original Baldwin Locomotive Works engineering drawings with index. The bulk of the drawings, ink on linen paper, were drawn for steam locomotives between the years of 1900-1920.
The first column, labeled “Index ,#” is the identification (filing) number for the drawing. The second column, labeled “Road Name,” is the alphabetical listing of the railroad companies, individuals, or agents who purchased the locomotives. The column labeled “Date,” is the date on the drawing. The columns labeled “Baldwin Class Number,” represent the Baldwin Locomotive Works identification number for that specific engine.
In addition, the listing has been cross indexed according to the Baldwin class number. This class number has been divided into three fields or sections to aid us in sorting by that number.
The three sections are:
  • number of wheels and the number representing the size of the cylinder
  • letter representing the code for the driving wheels
  • number indicating that locomotive's sequence in the class list
Baldwin Class Numbers:
The Baldwin Class number was a rather complicated classification system initiated in 1842 and used until some time around 1940. For example, The class number for the Nevada-California-Oregon Railway can be described in the following manner.
  • 10-24 D 35
  • 35 = Indicates the 35th locomotive in the class.
  • D = 3 pairs of driving wheels
  • 24 = Number representing size of cylinder
  • 10 = Indicates a total of 10 wheels
a. The initial number is the total number of wheels of all kinds under the locomotive
b. The second number indicates the cylinder diameter in inches, the cylinder diameter being obtained by dividing the classification number by 2 and adding 3 to the quotient. The above classification number of 24 indicates a cylinder diameter of (24 ÷ 2) + 3 = 15.
  • A fraction, 42/68 indicates a compound locomotive having two sizes of cylinders.
c. The letter designation indicates the number of pairs of coupled driving wheels.
  • "A" = special class of high speed geared locomotive with one pair of driving wheels. Also rack railroad locomotives.
  • "B" = one pair of driving wheels.
  • "C" = two pairs of coupled driving wheels.
  • "D" = three pairs of coupled driving wheels.
  • "E" = f our pairs of coupled driving wheels.
  • "F" = five pairs of coupled driving wheels.
  • Double letters = articulated locomotives having more than one set of coupled driving wheels.
d. The last number(s) in the class number identifies a specific locomotive within the class.
Erecting card drawings: circa 4017 drawings. Arranged by railroad name, BLW class, road number.
PDF of erecting drawings sorted by railroad name
PDF of erecting drawings sorted by class number
Detail drawings: circa 5,703 drawings. Arranged by railroad name and BLW class when that information is available.
PDF of detail drawings sorted by railroad name
PDF of detail drawings sorted by class number
Series 1: Engineering drawings: a selection of digitized drawings, https://www.smu.edu/libraries/digitalcollections/rwy/

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Series 2: Specification Books
1 box, 78 volumes

Volumes 5-82 have been digitized from a microfilm copy and are available at http://digitalcollections.smu.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/rwy/id/32/rec/1
Manuscript records containing engine specifications of locomotives built for various United States and foreign railroad companies.
Box Folder
9 4 Specifications, 1856-1864. (Rebound)The earliest specification book we have. Not available on microfilm.Specifications, 1864-1869. [From Stanford University]
5-82 Specifications, V. 5-82, 1869-1938. Index at the beginning of each volume. (Also available on microfilm, Mf79.23; 29 reels) Card index to specification books, 1880-1937. Handwritten cards (3 x 5 in.) Also available on microfilm (Mf79.23; 1 reel)

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Series 3: Miscellaneous Indexes and rosters
2 boxes

Other indexes to specific parts of the locomotive are described under "Locomotive data" in this guide.
These volumes have been digitized and are available at https://www.smu.edu/libraries/digitalcollections/rwy/
Construction lists, 1833-1956. Bound photocopies. Arranged by BLW construction number and date, listing purchaser of the locomotive and wheel arrangement. The photocopies were donated by Sylvan R. Wood. [Located on the Reference shelves in the Reading Room.]
Box Folder
26 8 Compound locomotive construction record, 1889-1911. A record of locomotives built, appearing in order by construction number, giving class number and purchaser.
Class and road rosters. Bound photocopies arranged by class letter : (single expansion locomotives) A, B, C, D, E, F, and compound locomotives.[Located on the Reference shelves in the Reading Room.]
Class roster. Arranged by the first number in the BLW class number (i.e. total number of wheels). Also serves as an index to specifications, cards (drawings), brass, casting, and forging. [Located on the Reference shelves in the Reading Room.]
Box Folder
27 11 Electric locomotive class roster. (1 v.)

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Series 4: Sales order books
9 boxes

Loose leaf pages bound with brads listing specifications for 184 locomotives, both U.S and foreign. Each page contains a mimeographed form with manuscript notation.
1 A
2 B-C
3 D-N
4 P - Southern Pacific
5 Southern Pacific - Union Carbide
6 Union Railroad Co. - U.S. Govt.
7 U.S. Govt. – Chile
8 Colombia – India
9 Mozambique - Russia

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Series 5: Extra order books
14 boxes

This series contains an incomplete set of shop and sales records detailing orders by railroad companies for extra parts or repairs.
Early miscellaneous order books
Box Folder
9 5-6 Order book, 1839-1848; 1853-1857. (2 v.) Brief entries recording orders placed with BLW for locomotives, parts, and extra orders. The name of the person authorizing or placing the orders is given.
7-8 Miscellaneous record book, 1846-1875, 1848-1857. (2 v.) Includes notes on selected locomotives, extra orders, and other information.
Extra orders arranged by part and date
Box Folder
12 1-2 Boiler flues. 1865-1871. (4 v.)
3-4 Boilers, furnaces. No. 1-66, 67-133, 1006-1070. (3 v.)
5 Copper feed pipe, etc. 1874-1878. (3 v.)
6-9 Driving and truck wheels. 1850-1855, 1862-1871. (7 v.)
10 Driving wheel centers. 1852-1868. (1 v.)
11 Guides, piston rods, etc. 1865-1872. (2 v.)
Box Folder
13 1 Piston rods. 1872-1873. (1 v.)
2 Side sheets, etc. 1874-1878. (1 v.)
3-4 Smoke stacks. 1854-1870, 1862-1864, 1864. (3 v.)
5-7 Tanks. 1849-1864, 1865-1870, 1872-1873. (3 v.)
8-9 Tender wheels. 1857-1865, 1870-1871. (4 v.)
10-13 Tires and wheels. 1857-1872, 1877-1879. (6 v.)
14-15 Wheels. 1855-1865?? (4,5 v.?)
Extra orders arranged by year and alphabetic subgroup
Although these volumes have been grouped according to the first letter of the purchaser's name, the records do not appear in alphabetical order, but according to the extra order number. The records are generally neatly typed listings and appear to be the official or final record of the parts acquired. Although Baldwin apparently provided indexes to these records, the library only has two such volumes (1904 and 1905).
Box Folder
14 1902 S (2808-5742)
1904 Index, W-Y-Z vol.
Box Folder
15 1905 A-C (4 v.)
Box Folder
16 1905 D-L (5 v.)
Box Folder
17 1905 M-R (5 v.)
Box Folder
18 1905 S-V (3 v.)
1906 F, Y, Z (2 v.)
1907 F, G (2 v.)
Box Folder
19 1907 H, K-M, O (5 v.)
Box Folder
20 1908 S (1 v.)
1909 W (1 v.)
1910 D, E, I-J (3 v.)
Box Folder
21 1912 L-I (1 v.)
1913 G (1 v.)
Box Folder
22 1920 18200 to 18499 (1 v.) Repaired Engine, 1908 (Philadelphia) 1 v.: #60-99 Repaired Engine, 1908 (Eddystone) 1 v.: #109-228
Extra work book, Drawing room, arranged by date. 16 v.
Brief handwritten entries listing extra parts and work needed to repair locomotives and their equipment. These records appear to have been kept in the Shop Drawing Room and often contain the name of the person requesting or authorizing the work. Where the dates of the records overlap with the previous series of records, the extra order numbers provide correlation between the two. Volumes 1878-1880 and 1888 contain orders for parts for engines then under construction which are identified only by the Baldwin class number.
23 1850-1855. (1 v.)
1865-1874. (3 v.)
1878-1880. (1 v.)
1888. (1 v.)
1890-1894. (8 v.)
1905. (8 v. [One volume is devoted entirely to springs])
24 1906-1907. (2 v.)
1909. (1 v.)
1914. (1 v. [missing])
Extra order books for electric locomotives
Book listing extra orders, 1923-1932. Generally, a chronological listing of extra orders for electric locomotives. Contains brief information on number, name of company, part and date "when returned," 1 v.
Box Folder
25 1 V. 13 – Truck springs (1911-1912)
2 V. 15 – Truck springs (1913)
3 V. 17 – Miscellaneous parts (1912)
4 V. 18 – Truck Springs (192-?)
5 V. 19 – Miscellaneous parts (1913)
6 V. 20 – Miscellaneous parts (1913)
7 V. 22 – Truck springs (1913)
8 V. 23 – Miscellaneous parts (1913-1914)
9 V. 24 – Miscellaneous parts (1914)
10 V. 25 – Truck springs (1915-1916)
11 V. 27 – Truck springs (1916)

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Series 6: Law and junior law books
2 boxes

Contains shop rules for building specific parts of a locomotive. Each volume contains an index of parts at the beginning of the book. Junior laws arranged chronologically.
Junior Laws
Box Folder
10 1 1877-1882, v. 1-2
2 1882-1885, v. 3-4
3 85 1885-1892, v. 5-6
4 1892-1899, v v. 7-8
5 1899-1904, v. 9 v. 10 missing]
6 1907-1913, v v. 11-12
7 19 1913-1919, v. 13-14
8 19 1919-1925, v. 15-16
9 19 1925-1930, v. 17-18
10 1930-1933, v. 19-20
11 1933-1937, v. 21-22
Law books
Box Folder
11 3 Casting and forging laws, 1911-1915
4 Compound locomotive laws, 1910-1912
5 Foreign locomotive laws, 1901-1917
6 Tender laws, 1909
Tender construction laws, n.d.
Box Folder
11 7 Electric locomotive laws, No. 2, 1913-1917
8 Standards electric locomotives, 1907-1920
9 Electric locomotive laws, 1907-1911
10 Gasoline locomotive laws, 1915-1920
11 Mallet locomotive laws, 1911-1917

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Series 7: Data books
10 boxes, filing cabinet

Primarily books listing information about locomotives, generally arranged by part or type of locomotive.
Box Folder
26 1 Air brakes.
2-3 Boiler and tank material: 1879-1881, 1882-1886.
4 Boiler finish orders, n.d.
5 Boiler specifications, 1872. Gives little information other than to refer to the card or drawing number.
6 Brakes, 1910. In groupings by "List #", the record includes the name of the road, the BLW class, and the last name of the draftsman.
Specifications – Brass
84 V. 1, 1867-1870.
85 V. 2, 1871. [The title on the volume is "Brass castings", but appears to be part of the same series]
86 V. 5, 1876.
87 V. 7, 1880-1881.
Specifications – Card record
92 V.2, 1871, April 8, 12D-28
93 V. 5, April 4,1876 - June 21,1878[Available on microfilm, Mf93.01]
Box Folder
26 7 Cab bracket drawings, n.d.
8 Compound locomotive construction numbers, 1889-1911?
Compound Counterbalance
Box Folder
26 8 1905-1906 and 1906. (2 v.)
9 1906-1910. (1 v.)
10 Connecting rods
11-12 Class C. 1904-1909. (3 v.)
13-14 Class D. 1905-1908. (6 v.)
Box Folder
27 1-2 1909-1912.
3-4 Class E. 1904-1912. (3 v.)
5 Dimensions of detail parts, 1867.
6 Drivers, tires, and axles, 1872-1873.
7 Eccentric drawings, 1844-1845. Pen and ink drawings of the "Throw of eccentrics" in valves for miscellaneous locomotives.
8 Electric trailing truck, 1902-1915. (1 v.) Appears to be an index to extra orders for trailing trucks. Generally arranged by construction number, with index at the beginning of the book.
9-10 Electric locomotives index, undated. Serves as an index to the drawing location. Arranged by class, with drawing number, purchaser, and drawer number (location for the drawing).
Specification Book 83: Electric train
Box Folder
27 12 Engine dimensions, 1854-1855. Penciled notes pertaining to miscellaneous engines.
13 Engine truck and tender wheels, 1872-1873.
14 Flue dimensions, 1865-1868.
15 Formula book, undated.
16 Iron (plate and forged), 1851-1854, 1854-1859. (2 v.)
17 Mallet locomotive, 1910. With index to purchasers.
Box Folder
28 1 Packing box list, 1894-1906. Appears to be a record of shipping specifications for locomotive parts to foreign railroad companies.
Specification Book 91: Finish, v. 1, n.d.
Box Folder
28 2-3 Paint Data, 1857-1870. (4 v.)Also available on microfilm, Mf92.06.
4 Parts – records of broken parts, 1915.
5 Problems, Miscellaneous, 1907-1909.
6 Smoke stack data, 1866.
7 Tanks. (2 v.)
8 Record of tender drawings, 1863-1917.
9 Tender frame dimensions, 1867.
10 Tender weights, 1886-1911. Arranged according to capacity of the tender (i.e. 2000 gallons, etc.) with date weighed.
Specification Book 95: Tender weights, 1924-1929. Arranged according to capacity (gallons).
Box Folder
28 11 Tender weights and specifications, [1889-1912]. Lists detail weights according to BLW class numbers for specific locomotives. Index by class number.
12 Tender wheels, 1865-1870.
Tender work. An index to the patterns and drawings of the casting, forgings, and cards of various tenders, 1910-1916. Also contains a cross index by BLW class number.
Specification Book 88: V. 1, 1910-1911.
Specification Book 89: V. 5, 1916.
Specification Book 90: Tracing directory, v. 1.
13 Truck wheel and axle dimension, 1864-1872.
14 Valve motion dimensions, 1891-1897.
15 Wrist pins.
Box Folder
29 1 Types of locomotives, v. 1 [1872-1909].
2 Weights of engines, 1846-1877.
3 Weights of engines. Arranged by class but does not list all locomotives from that class. Weights
4 C Class – detailed weights of engines, post 1895.
5 E-F Class.
6 Compound locomotives.
Specification Book 95: Weight of locomotives [ca. 1875-1933]. From the "Drawing Room", entered by BLW class number. The wheel arrangement appears next to BLW class number.
Engine Drawings, 1873-1910. Available on microfilm, Mf87.11. Arranged by BLW class number listing road names, gauge, and various measurements of boilers, tubes, heaters, and other parts. In addition, after the statistical information, a series of simple engine drawings appears with the class number. [Originals at Stanford University].
30-31 Engine drawings, 1904-1933? In 1910, Baldwin began keeping engine drawing data (mentioned above) on large cards (9 5/16 x 14 3/8 in.). Records of locomotives after 1903 were transferred to the cards and continued from that point. The cards are arranged by BLW class numbers and include primarily dimensions of various parts of the locomotive, not drawings.
32-39 Locomotive inquiry cards, 1915-[1931?]. When an inquiry about a locomotive was made by a potential purchaser, one of these cards was drawn up as a record. Arranged alphabetically by purchaser.
40-41 Locomotive inquiry cards, 1915-[1931?]. These inquiry cards contain locomotive drawings. Arranged alphabetically by purchaser.

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Series 8: Employee book
1 folder

Box Folder
9 9 Employee book, 1906-1912, with index. Lists name, address, date engaged, education, age, and other information.

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