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Harry F. Brown Papers

Identifier: 2002-0105

Scope and Content

The Harry F. Brown papers are composed of 478 images on glass plate negatives, photographic prints, flexible negatives, 35mm film, and 35mm mounted slides. The majority of the images were taken between 1908 and 1933, with a few from 1959 and 1964. Most of the images contain railroad electrification equipment, and specifically anchor bridges and catenary along the shoreline route of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. Precisely numbered anchor bridges with exact locations appear in the photographic prints and the 35mm slides.

There are also groups of other types of images within the collection. The flexible negatives contain interior and exterior images of the power plants at Cos Cob, Connecticut and New Haven, Connecticut, as well as at Nantasket, Massachusetts. Both the glass plate negatives and the flexible negatives depict the construction of catenary. The flexible images show the Milford Bridge under construction. The 35mm slides contain a series of images of the wreck of the Federal in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in July 1955, as well as images of multiple unit passenger cars. Finally, the slides also contain images of equipment sold to the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad by Goodrum Substation near Porter, Indiana.

The collection includes several noteworthy images. The glass plate negatives include an image of a model of an electrification system and an electrified railroad car on a table. The photographic prints contain two images of a fire on the railroad tracks. Finally, there are a few images throughout the collection of catenary wires being built by workmen with horses and buggies.

Special thanks to Michael Ribuffo of East Northport, New York, for his valuable assistance in revising and refining the descriptions of several of the images in 2004.


  • 1908-1933, 1959, 1964

Restrictions on Access

As a preservation measure, researchers must view the reference set of prints of some of the original negatives in this collection.

Restrictions on Use

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.


Harry Farnsworth Brown was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on August 17, 1886, the son of Harry Bushnell Brown and Annie Josephine Burdick. He was educated in the New Haven public schools and attended Yale University from 1903-1907, where he graduated from the Sheffield Scientific School. Following graduation he was employed by General Electric Company.

In 1910 he took a position in the Electrical Engineering Department of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. He served as a draftsman (1910), assistant engineer (1911-1922), assistant electrical engineer (1922-1946), and electrical engineer (1946-1952). When he left the railroad in 1952 he was Chief Engineer of the Engineering Department. From 1951 until his retirement he worked as a railroad consultant with Westinghouse International Co., and Gibbs & Hill in New York, New York.

Harry F. Brown married Grace A. Durham on October 11, 1911. They had six children. He was a lifelong member of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. He died on August 11, 1980.


4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Harry F. Brown Papers consist of 478 photographic images in various media of railroad electrification equipment along electrified main line section of the Shoreline route of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad.


Series I: Glass plate negatives (n.d, 1916-1917, 1921-1922) includes 9 inch x 7 inch and 4 inch x 4.5 inch negatives of both outdoor and indoor railroad electrification equipment in locations that include New Rochelle, New York, Bridgeport, Connecticut and New Haven, Connecticut. Examples of electrification equipment include, anchor bridges, catenary wires, drawbridge catenaries, right of ways, switch generators, telephone switchboards, transformers, and triangular catenaries.

Series II: Photographic prints (Black and White) (n.d., 1930, 1931) includes 5 inch x 4 inch and 3.5 inch x 4.5 inch prints of railroad electrification equipment. Examples of equipment include anchor bridges on both the Harlem River Branch and the Main Line, catenary wires, railroad signals, transformers, and triangular catenary wires. Images were taken in the Bronx, New York, Oak Point, New York and Port Chester, New York. Also included are Bridgeport,Connecticut, Cedar Hill,Connecticut, Cos Cob,Connecticut, Darien, Connecticut, Devon,Connecticut, Greens Farms, Connecticut, Greenwich, Connecticut, New Haven, Connecticut, Sound Beach, Connecticut, South Norwalk, Connecticut, Stamford, Connecticut and Westport, Connecticut.

Series III: Flexible negatives (n.d., 1908, 1912-1914, 1919-1921, 1930-1931, 1933) includes 9 inch x 7 inch saftey negatives, and 4.5 inch x 3.5 inch nitrate negatives of railroad electrification equipment. Images of the Cos Cob, Connecticut power plant, New Haven, Connecticut heat plant, and the Nantasket, Massachusetts power station are included among images of catenary construction and the construction of the Milford Bridge in Milford, Connecticut. Also included are images of equipment, such as anchor bridges, catenaries, circuit breakers, electric switch generators, lightening arresters, right of ways, rotaries, signal stations, switchboards, and triangular catenary wires. Images were taken at locations that include, Cos Cob, Connecticut, New Haven, Connecticut, and South Norwich, Connecticut; Nantasket, Massachusetts; and Porter, Indiana.

Series IV: 35mm developed film (n.d.) includes two rolls of black and white film with images of electrification equipment, including anchor bridges, catenary wires railroad bridges, and transformers.

Series V: 35mm mounted slides (n.d., 1959, 1964) includes black and white and color images of railroad electrification equipment and a series of images of an unidentified train wreck. Electrification equipment images include anchor bridges on both the Harlem River Branch and the Main Line, busses, catenary wires, multiple unit passenger cars, pantographs, railroad traffic lights, signal towers, signal transfers, transformers, and triangular catenaries. The images were taken in locations that include, New Rochelle, New York; and Bridgeport, Connecticut, Danbury, Connecticut, and Stamford, Connecticut.


The collection is arranged by format, size and photographer's identification number.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by Diane Brown in September 2002.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of materials in this collection may also be found in the Archives & Special Collections digital repository

Related Material

Archives & Special Collections has a substantial collection of materials pertaining to New England railroads. See especially the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Records and related collections. For detailed information on these collections please contact the curator or ask at the reference desk.

General Physical Description note

3.25 linear feet.

Harry F. Brown Papers
Under Revision
Archives & Special Collections staff
2003 April
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US