Jay T. Last Collection of American Transportation: Railroad Passes: Finding Aid

Finding aid prepared by Diann Benti.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Prints and Ephemera
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: 626-405-3473
Email: lastcollection@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
© 2013
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.


Overview of the Collection

Title: Jay T. Last Collection of American Transportation: Railroad Passes
Dates (inclusive): 1848-1980
Bulk dates: 1860-1960
Collection Number: priJLC_TRAN_Passes
Collector: Last, Jay T.
Extent: approximately 3,055 items in 14 binders
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Prints and Ephemera
Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: 626-405-3473
Email: lastcollection@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
Abstract: The Railroad Passes in the Jay T. Last Collection of American Transportation consist of over 3,000 railroad passes issued primarily by American railroad companies to individuals in the 19th and 20th centuries, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1860 to 1960.
Language: English.
Note:
Finding aid last updated on November 12, 2014.

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Huntington as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Preferred Citation

[Item title, Call number]. Jay T. Last Collection of American Transportation: Railroad Passes, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Provenance

This collection forms part of the Jay T. Last Collection of Lithographic and Social History, which was donated to the Huntington Library by Jay T. Last in 2005 as a gift in progress. The bulk of the transportation ephemera was transferred to the Library in 2010.

Background

The Jay T. Last Collection is an unparalleled archive of printed paper artifacts that documents American lithographic, social, and business history. The collection began in the early 1970s when physicist and Silicon Valley pioneer Jay Last moved to Southern California and started collecting citrus box labels he found at local flea markets and rummage sales. As his collection grew, Last realized that these labels conveyed important information about commercial printing, graphic design, and social history, and he expanded his collection to include other forms of American visual culture. Today this collection contains more than 185,000 lithographic prints, posters, and ephemera of mostly nineteenth and early twentieth century American origin and represents works by more than five hundred lithographic companies.

Access

The collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please visit the Huntington's website: www.huntington.org.  

Scope and Content

The Railroad Passes in the Jay T. Last Collection of American Transportation consist of over 3,000 railroad passes issued primarily by American railroad companies to individuals in the 19th and 20th centuries. The passes provided the pass holder with permission to ride on the railroad, usually through the end of the calendar year, and the passes in the collection bear a variety of titles including annual pass, season ticket, time pass, free ticket, exchange ticket, and complimentary ticket. The bulk of the collection dates from 1860 to 1960, but among the earliest passes in the collection is one issued by the Schenectady and Troy Railroad in 1848; one of the most recent items is a 1980 pass for the homemade narrow-gauge Anacortes Railway.
The passes typically contain printed text with the railroad company’s name, rules governing the use of the pass, and year, with spaces to be filled in with the pass holder’s name and affiliation (often another railroad company), the pass number, and the authorizing signature of an executive of the railroad such as the president, superintendent, or secretary. Most of the passes in the collection are filled out in manuscript, or are typewritten in the 20th century, though some are blank. The passes average 2 ¼ x 4 inches in size and are typically printed on cardstock of varying colors, and many include multiple-color printing.
The decorative details of the passes vary across the collection, though most examples from the late 19th century and early 20th centuries contain engraved or lithographed designs and images. Visual decorations include patterned borders and scrollwork, logos, and vignettes primarily with transportation-related images such as railroad locomotives and trains, as well as buildings, views of landscapes, rivers and bridges, and wilderness scenes, and animals. Some passes have printed maps or pass conditions and rules printed on the card verso.
American railroad companies issued the majority of passes primarily for annual travel on commercial passenger lines. Among the anomalies in the collection are passes of interurban electric lines, foreign railroad companies, primarily from Canada and Latin America countries, such as passes of the Ferrocarril Mexicano, a 1934 pass of the South Manchurian Railway, a 1936 pass for the Liverpool Overhead Railway, as well as a 1861 blank form providing passage for Illinois State Troops by the Illinois Central Railroad Company, and a United States Railroad Administration 1921 pass for William C. Curtin, an accountant in the Office of the Comptroller, with his photograph pasted on the verso.
Many of the passes include a printer credit line, and well over a hundred different printers are named on the passes. A sampling of some of the printing companies more heavily represented in the collection include the American Bank Note Company of New York; the Bailey, Banks & Biddle Company of Philadelphia; Calvert Lithographing Company of Detroit; the Courier-Journal Engraving Company of Louisville, Kentucky; Gast of St. Louis; Hosford & Sons of New York; Maverick, Stephan & Company of New York; Poole Brothers of Chicago; Rand, Avery & Company of Boston; Rand, McNally & Company of Chicago; S.C. Toof & Company of Memphis; the Western Bank Note Company of Chicago, and Woodward, Tiernan & Hale of St. Louis.

Related materials in the Huntington Library

Arrangement

The collection is physically arranged in fourteen binders first by century (with eight binders containing passes from the 1800s, and the following six containing passes from the 1900s), and then alphabetically by company name.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

Genres

Business records.
Business records -- United States -- 19th century.
Business records -- United States -- 20th century.
Engravings.
Lithographs.
Maps.
Passes (tickets).

Subjects

Advertising -- Railroads.
Railroad companies.
Railroads -- Pictorial works.
Railroads passes.
Railroads tickets.
Railroads -- United States -- Maps.
Transportation.


Collection Contents

Binder 1

Railroad passes, 1800s A-Ce

Physical Description: approximately 230 items

Scope and Content Note

This binder contains 19th century railroad passes arranged alphabetically by company name ranging from the Aberdeen & West End R.R. Co. (1897 pass) to the Central Iowa Railway Company (1883 pass).
Binder 2

Railroad passes, 1800s Ce-D

Physical Description: approximately 280 items

Scope and Content Note

This binder contains 19th century railroad passes arranged alphabetically by company name ranging from the Central Massachusetts Railroad (1888 pass) to the Dutchess and Columbia Railroad (1871 pass).
Binder 3

Railroad passes, 1800s E-H

Physical Description: approximately 180 items

Scope and Content Note

This binder contains 19th century railroad passes arranged alphabetically by company name ranging from the Eagles Mere Railroad (1894 pass) to the Hutchinson & Southern Railroad (1892 pass).
Binder 4

Railroad passes, 1800 I-Me

Physical Description: approximately 230 items

Scope and Content Note

This binder contains 19th century railroad passes arranged alphabetically by company name ranging from the Idaho Central Railway (1888 pass) to the Mexican National Railway, Texas Division (1886 pass).
Binder 5

Railroad passes, 1800 Mi-N

Physical Description: approximately 230 items

Scope and Content Note

This binder contains 19th century railroad passes arranged alphabetically by company name ranging from the Michigan Central Railroad (1860 pass) to the Norwich & Worcester Railroad (1865 pass).
Binder 6

Railroad passes, 1800s O-R

Physical Description: approximately 200 items

Scope and Content Note

This binder contains 19th century railroad passes arranged alphabetically by company name ranging from the Oconee & Western Railroad Co. (1893 pass) to the Rutland & Washington Railroad (1856 pass).
Binder 7

Railroad passes, 1800s S

Physical Description: approximately 210 items

Scope and Content Note

This binder contains 19th century railroad passes arranged alphabetically by company name ranging from the [Western Union] and Sabula, Ackley & Dakota Railroads (1875 pass) to the Sylvania Railroad (1892 pass).
Binder 8

Railroad passes, 1800s T-Z

Physical Description: approximately 180 items

Scope and Content Note

This binder contains 19th century railroad passes arranged alphabetically by company name ranging from the Tacoma, Lake Park, and Columbia River Railway Co. (1896 pass) to the Zanesville & Ohio River Railway (1894 pass).
Binder 9

Railroad passes, 1900s A-Ch

Physical Description: approximately 240 items

Scope and Content Note

This binder contains 20th century railroad passes arranged alphabetically by company name ranging from the Abbotsford & Northeastern Railroad Company (1901 pass) to the Christie & Eastern Railway Company (1925 pass)
Binder 10

Railroad passes, 1900s Ci-F

Physical Description: approximately 245 items

Scope and Content Note

This binder contains 20th century railroad passes arranged alphabetically by company name ranging from the Cincinnati, Flemingsburg & Southeastern R. R. Co. (1913 pass) to the Frisco Lines (1925 pass).
Binder 11

Railroad passes, 1900s G-L

Physical Description: approximately 220 items

Scope and Content Note

This binder contains 20th century railroad passes arranged alphabetically by company name ranging from the Gainesville, Jefferson & Southern Railway (1904 pass) to the Luzon Military Railroad (1945 pass).
Binder 12

Railroad passes, 1900s M-O

Physical Description: approximately 220 items

Scope and Content Note

This binder contains 20th century railroad passes arranged alphabetically by company name ranging from the Manchester & Oneida Railroad (1910 pass) to the Ozark Valley Railway Company (1918 pass).
Binder 13

Railroad passes, 1900s P-S

Physical Description: approximately 220 items

Scope and Content Note

This binder contains 20th century railroad passes arranged alphabetically by company name ranging from the Pacific Coast Railway Company (1911 pass) to the Syracuse & Suburban R. R. Co. (1917 pass).
Binder 14

Railroad passes, 1900s T-Z

Physical Description: approximately 170 items

Scope and Content Note

This binder contains 20th century railroad passes arranged alphabetically by company ranging from the Tacoma Eastern Railroad Co. (1910 pass) to the Zwolle & Eastern Ry. Co. (1912 pass).