Title: Mary Louise Lawser Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1941-1957
Collection number: MS 19
Lawser, Mary Louise
Extent: 3 document boxes
California State Railroad Museum Library
Sacramento, California 95814
Shelf location: Big Four Building or off-site storage. Please contact
the Library in advance of your visit.
Estate of Mary Louise Lawser, 1986
Copyright has not been assigned to the California State Railroad Museum. All requests for
permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Senior
Curator. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the CSRM 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 by the reader.
[Identification of item], Mary Louise Lawser Collection, MS 19, California State Railroad Museum Library, Sacramento, California.
The Mary Louise Lawser Collection consists of correspondence, pamphlets and brochures concerning her railroad work, photographs
and transparencies of her work, and ephemera. The major portion of the collection, however, consists of preliminary sketches
and colored renderings for murals and panels to be installed in cars of the Seaboard Air Line and on the California Zephyr
and Denver Zephyr.
Mary Louise Lawser (1908-October 30, 1985) began her study of fine art at the Pennsylvania Museum School in Philadelphia.
Later she attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and L'École des Beaux Arts, where she studied sculpture. The
winner of a number of prizes for painting and sculpture, Mary Lawser worked for architect Paul Cret in the 1940s, and during
this period she completed many decorations for streamlined trains of the New York Central, Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, and
Seaboard Air Line, as well as for the famed California Zephyr train of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, Denver & Rio Grande
Western, and Western Pacific lines. In preparing these decorations, she relied on her skills in painting, sculpture, and linoleum
and wood carving. In later years, Mary Lawser produced decorations for the Burlington's Denver Zephyr. In addition, her work
appeared in public works projects in New York City and Philadelphia.