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Seth P. Holcombe Papers

Identifier: 2012-0040

Scope and Content

The Papers consist of photographic prints and negatives, almost all taken by Seth P. Holcombe from 1946 to 1953, with some undated, mostly of locomotives of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, better known as the New Haven Railroad, taken at locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the Maybrook, New York, railroad yard. Other locations, of photographs more likely taken in the 1950s, include locations such as Maine, New Hampshire, and Virginia.

Other railroads represented include the Boston & Maine Railroad, the Canadian National Railroad, the Central Railroad of New Jersey, the Central Vermont Railway, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, the Delaware & Hudson Railroad, the Edaville Railroad, the Lehigh & Hudson River Railway,the Lehigh & New England Railroad, the Maine Central Railroad (leased by the Boston & Maine Railroad), the New York & New England Railroad (a predecessor railroad line of the New Haven Railroad), the New York Central Railroad, the Rutland Railroad, and the St. Johnsbury & Lake Champlain Railroad.

Don Ferry is identified as the photographer of photographs of the Rutland Railroad. George L. Heath is identified as the photographer of the New York Central Railroad photographs. Mr. Holcombe's mother, Ethel Monson Holcombe, is identified as the photographer of the "Ike's Train" photographs.

Unless otherwise noted all engines and trains are those of the New Haven Railroad.

Unless otherwise noted all photographs are in black & white.

There are a very small number of postcards in the collection.


  • Creation: undated, 1887, 1946-1953
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1946 - 1953


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.


Seth Pomeroy Holcombe was born on February 15, 1918, the son of Harold Goodwin Holcombe and Ethel Monson Holcombe. He grew up in Hartford, Connecticut, one block west of the railroad station, where he would frequently visit the station master and inquire about the engines passing through. He graduated from Trinity College in 1941.

Mr. Holcombe was the Secretary and Registrar of the Morgan Horse Club, now known as the American Morgan Horse Association. He married Lucy B. Eaton on January 17, 1959, and lived in Simsbury, Connecticut, from 1959 to 1974, and then in North Granby, Connecticut, until his death. He was an active member and President of the Salmon Brook Historical Society, served on the Granby Zoning Board of Appeals and as Treasurer of the F.H. Cossitt Library, and was a member of the Granby Republican Committee. He was instrumental in organizing the Granby Horse Council. He compiled and published several family genealogies and an anthology of letters written from 1822 to 1842 by Nancy Smith Huggins Holcomb, his great-great-grandmother.

Mr. Holcombe was a member of the Hartford Railroad Enthusiasts and took photographs of steam trains of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and on excursion trips of other steam railroads in the northeast United States.

Seth P. Holcombe died on July 9, 2009.


2.5 Linear Feet (Five boxes of photographic prints and negatives)

Language of Materials



The Papers consist of approximately 350 photographic prints and 500 negatives of images of steam locomotives mostly of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, taken in the Hartford, Connecticut, area.


Series I consists of photographic prints, organized by size and thereunder by year and month taken. Series II consists of negatives, organized by a number on the envelope applied by Mr. Holcombe as the photographer; the negative envelope number reads consecutively so that negatives are organized generally by date.

Mr. Holcombe often wrote the negative envelope number on the back of a print. Some of the prints have a description written on the back but for many of them the only way to know of the place the scene was taken or other details is to cross-reference the print to the negative envelope.

Note that many of the negatives do not have a corresponding print and many of the prints do not have a corresponding negative.

Provenance and Acquisition

The Papers were donated in March 2012 by Mrs. Lucy E. Holcombe of North Granby, Connecticut.

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. For detailed information on these collections please contact the curator or ask at the Reading Room desk.

Seth P. Holcombe Papers
Archives & Special Collections staff
2012 May
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