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Railroads: Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints

DeGolyer Library

About the Collection


'Philadelphia' locomotive and tender, 1838

Everett L. DeGolyer, Jr. (1923-1977) was drawn to all forms of transportation, but railroads were his passion. As a result, he built one of the most comprehensive railroad photograph and manuscript collections in the United States, now held by SMU's DeGolyer Library. Mr. DeGolyer’s personal collection, the Everett L. DeGolyer, Jr. Collection of United States Photographs, contains some 15,000 photographs and thousands of negatives of railroads arranged by railroad line.

DeGolyer Library digital collections are part of CUL Digital Collections, which contain thousands of digitized photographs, manuscripts, imprints, and works of art held by SMU's Central University Libraries special collections.   

Collection Materials

The DeGolyer is home to several Baldwin Locomotive Works collections: photographs, builders’ cards, drawings and manuscripts. Of particular interest to many railroad enthusiasts and historians is the digitized set of 56 bound volumes from the Baldwin Locomotive Works engine specifications, 1869-1938 collection.

There are also many other notable accessions of interest to the researcher. For example, the David Goodyear Collection of Foreign Railroad Photographs contains 56 boxes of photographic prints. The Jules A. Bourquin Collection has vintage prints and negatives of Horton, Kansas, and the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad. The Richard Steinheimer Collection consists of thousands of negatives and is particularly strong in western railroad lines. Also related to the railroads are the Roland Collons Collection of more than 100 scrapbooks and 10,000 negatives and the H.D. Conner Railroad Depot Collection consisting of thousands of negatives of U.S. depots.

Central Pacific, snow plow locomotive, ca. 1890-1891

Holdings and Highlights

Railroads: Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints provides a sample of the items held in many of the DeGolyer Library's railroad collections. Examples include:

Related Collections

Wood burning locomotive on Nikolaev Railway, ca. 1855-1864

The DeGolyer Library has several rare railroad related accessions, including Alexander Gardner’s 1867 portfolio, Across the Continent on the Kansas Pacific Railroad (Route of the 35th Parallel), which is one of only four known copies of this early, significant western landscape project. There are also major collections of works by William Henry Jackson, Andrew Russell, George Barnard, Carleton Watkins, Charles Roscoe Savage and Robert Benecke as well as by photographers working in Mexico, Abel Briquet and Charles B. Waite among others. Digital copies of many of these items can be found in related digital collections from the DeGolyer Library, which are developed around geographical boundaries.

Related geographical and railroad collections from the DeGolyer Library include:


Texas State Library and Archives CommissionInstitute of Museum and Library Services

In FY2015 digitization of 1,000 negatives depicting eight major Texas railroads from the Everett L. DeGolyer Jr. Collection of United States Railroad Photographs was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through a grant to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) as part of TSLAC’s TexTreasures program. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.

Digital Collections Guidelines and Procedures

Items in Central University Library Digital Collections are digitized following the SMU Central University Libraries Digitization Guidelines and Procedures. Digital collections are created under the guidelines of the nCDS Digital Collections: Filenaming, Workflow, and Metadata Guidelines, or through specialized metadata profiles tailored for the collection.


Copyright usage terms vary throughout the collection. Each item contains information about usage terms. If SMU does not have the right to publish the item on the Internet, only the item's metadata will be available and the digitized object will be available on a restricted access basis. Such items may only be viewed on campus. When items are available for use, please cite Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library. A high-quality version of these files may be obtained for a fee by contacting

Contact Info

For more information about the collection, please contact