New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association Collection
Scope and Content Note
Series I: SECRETARY RECORDS
Series I documents the responsibilities and activities of the Corporate Secretary. The Corporate Secretary utilized an alpha-numeric filing system in which a letter was followed by a document number. Each corporation in the New Haven Railroad organization was assigned a letter prefix (e.g. NYNHHRR - A, Central New England Railway - B, Berkshire Street Railway - C, etc.) for its secretary's document file. Within the file, documents were arranged by their numerical suffixes (e.g. 1-Directors' minutes, 2-Stockholders minutes, etc.)
This record group is divided into six subseries:
Subseries 1, SECRETARY'S "A" FILES, includes elements of both "old" and "new" company secretary's files. Initial access to the records in the "A" file should be through the index cards found in the reference room of Archives and Special Collections. When material is not found in collection files, then the NHRHTA "A" box and folder list should be consulted.
Subseries 2, SUBJECT FILES, includes documents of a general nature held by the railroad but not assigned an "A" file designation. The material is similar to that found in the "A" file and has been organized alphabetically by topic or corporate name.
Subseries 3, AGREEMENTS, contains contracts for the provision of materials and services, the use of land or facilities, and other purposes. Agreements in the NHRHTA Collection can be accessed by box and folder list. The agreements are generally arranged in chronological order, except for Sidetrack Agreements and Leases which are arranged alphabetically by location.
Subseries 4, REAL ESTATE, contains documents related to real estate holdings and transactions. Included in this series are maps, property descriptions, deeds, easements, valuations, and some title claims. The documents are filed chronologically by date of transaction. This subseries includes list of deeds, "evidence of title" records, "schedule of title", and map change index cards, valuation section maps, calculation books, and twelve cartons of working papers. Since no index to the working papers was found during processing, it is extremely difficult to use these materials, but well worth a researcher's time and effort to investigate them.
While day to day real estate functions were not a responsibility of the corporate secretary's office, the "A-12 file" file in the NYNHHRR collection contains 75 boxes of real estate transactions. Most of the material in the NHRHTA Real Estate series provides reference and support for those boxes and Valuation Section maps.
Subseries 5, INSURANCE, holds a limited amount of material relating to fires, derailments, and vandalism, along with schedules of coverage.
Subseries 6, SUBSIDIARIES, contains documents relating to subsidiary companies of the New Haven. The documents include: by-laws, minutes of meetings, legal papers, reorganization plans, and other materials. This series also contains documents related to owned, leased, or otherwise controlled companies of the NYNHHRR. This material is not accessible by index cards, thus the box and folder list must be carefully examined. A considerable quantity of Berkshire Street Railway records and Connecticut Company records are found in this series.
Series II: TRUSTEES
This record group is divided into two subseries:
Subseries 1, PUBLICATIONS AND REPORTS, includes reorganization proceedings of both eras and various reorganization plans with related files. Indexes to bound volumes are included, but access to other records can only be found through the box and folder list.
Subseries 2, TRUSTEE FILES, contain meeting agendas and minutes, related papers, and reports by the trustees.
Series III: ANNUAL REPORTS
This record group is divided into five subseries:
Subseries 1, ANNUAL REPORTS TO STOCKHOLDERS, contain accounts of management activities, corporate status, business statistics and other information deemed important to shareholders.
Subseries 2, ANNUAL REPORTS TO ICC, consists of operating statistics in a variety of categories.
Subseries 3, ANNUAL REPORTS TO THE STATES, contains operating statistics reported to the public utilities commissions of states served by The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad.
Subseries 4, ANNUAL REPORTS TO THE ICC: FOREIGN ROADS, are statistical reports of railroads neither owned not operated by the New Haven Railroad.
Subseries 5, ANNUAL REPORTS: WORKING RECORDS, contains rough drafts and copies of reports used in preparing the material in Subseries 1-4.
Many of the annual reports in the NHRHTA Collection are duplicated in the main New Haven Railroad corporate records and other railroad collections.
Series IV: ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT
This record group consists of a single subseries, GENERAL SUBJECT FILES. It holds stock and bondholder lists, transfer files, and coupon records, as well as custodian of securities minutes. The box and folder list provides the means of access to this material.
Series V: OPERATIONS
This record group is divided into four subseries:
Subseries 1, TRAINS, PERSONNEL, AND EQUIPMENT, includes administrative bulletins, train consist and crew information, passenger freight studies, and rule and instructional booklets, plus maintenance of way and right of way data.
Subseries 2, BRIDGES, BUILDINGS, & GRADE CROSSINGS, contains 11 boxes of bridge and building material and five boxes of papers related to public and private grade crossings along the New Haven Railroad, arranged by state and Valuation Section (V.S.).
Subseries 3, DRAFTING, consists of two boxes of drafting index books and blueprints of mechanical parts and other railroad items (including diesel locomotives).
Subseries 4, ARTIFACTS, include baggage tickets and some small booklets used by New Haven Railroad employees, and a framed charter (1865) of the Providence Division of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.
- undated, 1860-1986
The collection is open and available for research.
Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.
The New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association is an association dedicated to preserving the history of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, a major freight and passenger railroad in southern New England.
History of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad
During the centennial celebration of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad in 1926, President E. J. Pearson boasted that the "...history of the New Haven system was a history of transportation in this country." Had he limited his claim to the New York - Boston corridor, Pearson would have been substantially correct. For almost one hundred years the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, better known as the New Haven Railroad, was the primary means of passenger and freight transportation in Southern New England. Chartered in 1872, this merger between the New York & New Haven and Hartford & New Haven railroads later included the long desired rail link between Boston and New York. Approximately one hundred small independent railroads were built in southern New England between 1826 and the 1880s. By 1904 the majority were absorbed into the vast New Haven system. At its peak in 1929, the New Haven Railroad owned and operated 2,131 miles of track throughout New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
The local railroad lines that eventually became part of the New Haven system developed in response to local business and transportation needs. Unlike the Western states, where railroads preceded and shaped settlement, in the Northeast they served primarily to link existing towns, businesses, and markets. The New Haven system thus developed as a result of numerous consolidations and mergers. The New Haven traced its founding to 1826, when one of its predecessor companies originated, but the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad was not chartered until 1872. The company followed the pattern of consolidation established by the Pennsylvania Railroad and other companies, particularly after 1889, when major lines in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and southern Massachusetts provided a strong network linking New York and Boston. By 1890, company revenue exceeded $100,000,000 per year, and the New Haven employed 4,000 people to serve twelve million passengers annually.
This success led a wealthy group of New York investors, headed by J. P. Morgan, to seek and gain control of the New Haven's board. In 1903, Morgan installed Charles Mellen as president of the railroad. Together Morgan and Mellen set out to achieve a complete monopoly of transportation in New England. Substantial improvements to the system were made during the Mellen years, including electrification of rail lines between Woodlawn, New York, and New Haven, Connecticut, and construction of a power generating plant in Cos Cob, Connecticut. These accomplishments, however, were overshadowed by Morgan's ambitious schemes to dominate all modes of transportation in New England. Steamboat lines, trolley companies, and other railroad lines were purchased regardless of price and incorporated into the New Haven system.
An investigation of the New Haven's activities by Louis Brandeis in 1907 revealed the overextended railroad was on the verge of financial collapse. Morgan's death in 1913 and Mellen's subsequent resignation brought to a close a stormy period in the New Haven's history.
During the First World War all of the railroads in the United States, including the New Haven Railroad, were operated by the federal government. After the war, under Edward Pearson, President through 1928, the railroad was able to recover partially, despite increasing competition from automobiles, by sharing in the national economic growth of the 1920s. The company tried to meet this transportation competition by forming the New England Transportation Company, which operated a fleet of trucks and buses. Recovery of the New Haven, however, was cut short by the Depression of the 1930s, and in 1935 the New Haven plunged into bankruptcy. The company remained in trusteeship until 1947, when it returned to private ownership.
A series of struggles for control of the company in the post World War II period severely weakened the management of the company and its ability to adapt to changes in the transportation industry. The completion of the Connecticut Turnpike and other superhighways and the start of air shuttle service between Boston and New York intensified competition. The company's historic liability as a railroad overburdened with many short, costly branch lines further accelerated its decline.
On July 2, 1961, the New Haven Railroad once again went into receivership. A seven year trusteeship period followed, culminating in the absorption of the New Haven in the Penn Central system on January 1, 1969. Three years later the Penn Central itself collapsed into bankruptcy. The former components of the New Haven Railroad were divided among several entities. Freight service was assumed by Conrail when it was formed in 1976, although the Providence & Worcester Railroad also provided freight service on portions of the former New Haven, as did a few other operators. Passenger commuter service was funded by the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Long-haul passenger service was provided by Amtrak beginning in 1971. After 1976 passenger commuter service was operated by Conrail. In 1982 the United States Congress passed legislation that forced Conrail to divest itself of its commuter rail lines. On January 1, 1983, Metro-North Commuter Railroad, under joint ownership of the states of New York and Connecticut, took over all commuter passenger service. Amtrak continued to handle all long-haul passenger service.
The history of the New Haven Railroad reveals a company formed by one of the classic merger and consolidation patterns of the late 19th century, which was later unable to respond effectively to major changes in the transportation industry. The company's rapid growth, collapse, temporary recovery, and final dissolution offer a dramatic story, with government regulation, internal management decisions, and market competition playing important roles in the company's history.
222.5 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
A historical association dedicated to preserving the history of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, a major freight and passenger railroad in southern New England. Collection consists of records of the railroad, not the historical association.
The New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association (NHRHTA) Collection is the second largest component of Archives and Special Collections's New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Records. Composed of documents, maps and plans, the NHRHTA Collection not only provides information not found elsewhere, but also supplements the New Haven Railroad's corporate records.
Boxed material have been organized in a pattern similar to that of the main collection of corporate records of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, also found in Archives & Special Collections. Not all record groups in the corporate records are represented in the NHRHTA Collection and the one series is not available in the corporate records, that of a series of records associated with Operations, which includes technical documents (e.g. bridges, buildings, grade crossings, drafting, etc.).
Please note that while the NYNH&HRR Records (the corporate records) are arranged in Record Groups, the NHRHTA Collection is organized in series. When the collection was originally organized in the 1990s it was organized to strictly mimic the corporate records and included Record Groups. This arrangement was changed when the collection was reorganized in August 2013.
Provenance and Acquisition
The New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association deposited these materials with Archives & Special Collections in 1988. While the department has arranged, described and provided access to these materials, the Association retains ownership of the collection.
Maps that were donated by the New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association have been separated and available as a separate archival collections. Please refer to the online finding aids or inquiry at the Reading Room reference desk.
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