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J. W. Swanberg Papers

Identifier: 2006-0251

Scope and Content

Series I of the J.W. Swanberg Papers consists of chapter and caption drafts, galley proofs, correspondence, and other materials associated with Mr. Swanberg's book New Haven Power.

Series II of the Papers consists of 247 photographs taken by Mr. Swanberg of railroad locomotives and scenes in the United States and Canada, from 1957 to 1978. These photographs have been digitized for the Archives & Special Collections digital repository and are available at Please note that Mr. Swanberg retains copyright for all of these images and any requests for use of the images beyond fair use must be made to him via the archives.


  • undated, 1954-1978, 1988-1989, 2007-2015


The collection is open and available for research. The photographs are accessible only through the Archives & Special Collections digital repository at

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.


John William Swanberg ("Jack") was born on October 12, 1939, in Norwalk, Connecticut, to William Andrew and Dorothy (Green) Swanberg and grew up in Newtown, Connecticut. He graduated from Trinity College in June 1961, having spent his third year of college at the University of Madrid, in Spain. In August 1961, he was hired by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad (better known as the New Haven Railroad) as a Locomotive Fireman.

In October 1962, Mr. Swanberg left his work with the railroad and volunteered with the United States Navy, in their Naval Aviation division. He went to Officer Candidate training in Pensacola, Florida, and was commissioned as an Ensign in February 1963. After he went to Aerial Transport Navigator training in Corpus Christi, Texas, receiving Navigator's wings in July 1963, he was assigned to multi-engine transport squadrons VR-7 and VR-22 in California, flying mostly Pacific routes, including many missions into Vietnam. He left active duty in 1966, but stayed in the Naval Aviation Reserve for twenty-five more years, retiring as a Navy Captain.

In 1966 Mr. Swanberg returned to the New Haven Railroad, but became a Management Trainee for the New York Central Railroad in October 1966. He was assigned as Assistant Trainmaster in Detroit, Michigan, when the New York Central Railroad was merged into the Penn Central in 1968, then as a Penn Central Assistant Trainmaster in Brewster, New York, in 1969, and as Trainmaster in Grand Central Terminal, New York, in 1970. He held the position of Trainmaster in Harmon, New York, North White Plains, New York, New Haven, Connecticut, and Stamford, Connecticut, initially with Penn Central, then later with Conrail beginning in 1976 and then Metro-North Commuter Railroad in 1983. He was initially assigned as Metro-North Staff Trainmaster in New York City and later in New Haven, Connecticut. His title later changed to Lead Trainmaster, the position from which he retired in January 2000.

Mr. Swanberg is author of New Haven Power, 1838-1968: Steam, Diesel, Electric, MU's, Trolleys, Motor Cars, Buses & Boats, a history of the locomotives and motive equipment of the New Haven Railroad. It was published by A. F. Staufer in Medina, Ohio, in 1988. He is also the author of numerous railroad history articles for Railroad History (a publication of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society), Shoreliner (a publication of the New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association), and other railroad history and enthusiast publications. Photographs that he has taken and collected over his career with the railroad have been widely published, many by other railroad history authors.

The book jacket for New Haven Power was illustrated by Grif Teller.


2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The J.W. Swanberg Papers consist of chapter and caption drafts, galley proofs, correspondence, and other materials associated with Mr. Swanberg's book New Haven Power and photographs taken by Mr. Swanberg throughout his railroad career.

Acquisition Information

The materials in Series I and II of the Papers were donated by Mr. Swanberg in 2006 with addition to the present.

The photographs in Series II were digitized in 2014 and 2015 and are available on the Archives & Special Collections digital repository at

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 the railroads of southern New England, particularly the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. For detailed information on these collections please contact the curator or ask at the Reading Room desk.

J. W. Swanberg Papers
Archives & Special Collections staff
2006 September
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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