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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:724 1831-1898 B747

Boston and Albany Railroad Company records

The records of the Boston and Albany Railroad Co., its predecessors and branches, circa 1829 to 1916. Includes directors' records, stock records, transportation and engineering records and surveys, financial records, and correspondence.

Dates

  • 1829-1916 (inclusive)
  • Majority of material found within 1831-1875

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. Please contact specialcollectionsref@hbs.edu for more information.

Extent

114 linear feet (342 volumes, 69 boxes)

The records date from 1829 to 1916, with the bulk of the materials dating from the 1830s to the 1870s. The records are organized by the various railroad companies that were predecessors or branches of the Boston and Albany Railroad Co. There is also a series of records that documents the post-merger activities of the Boston and Albany Railroad Co. The collection consists of 342 volumes of bound records, and sixty-nine boxes of loose papers.

The records for each railroad generally include directors' records and meeting minutes; stock records; transportation and engineering records and surveys; financial records, accounts, bills, and vouchers; legal records; and correspondence. The Western Rail-Road Corporation records comprise the largest series, followed by the Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation records.

Historical Note:

The Boston and Albany Railroad Company resulted from the development and eventual merger of several railroad lines built to connect eastern Massachusetts with eastern New York state. The first of these railroad lines was the Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation, which was chartered in June 1831. Construction began in August 1832, and the full line between Boston and Worcester opened in July 1835. The Western Rail-Road Corporation was chartered in February 1833 to connect the Boston and Worcester Railroad to the New York state line. Construction of the eastern division of the railroad—from Worcester to the Connecticut River at Springfield—was completed between 1837 and 1839. The western division—from West Springfield to the state line at West Stockbridge—was completed in 1841.

The Albany and West Stockbridge Railroad Company was built to connect the Western Rail-Road line with Albany, New York. The New York state legislature first incorporated the Castleton and West Stockbridge Railroad Company in 1834. In 1836, another act of the New York legislature authorized a railroad line from the Hudson River at Greenbush to West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and the company was renamed the Albany and West Stockbridge Railroad. Construction of the Albany and West Stockbridge Railroad was completed in 1842, and the line was leased to the Western Railroad.

The Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation and Western Rail-Road Corporation merged in 1867 to become the Boston and Albany Railroad Company. In December 1870, the Albany and West Stockbridge Railroad Company, along with the Hudson and Boston Railroad Corporation, merged with the new company, creating a united line from Boston to Albany. The Boston and Albany Railroad Company remained an independent line until 1900, when it was leased to the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company (later the New York Central Railroad.)

Several other branch railroads were part of the holdings of the Boston and Albany Railroad Company or its major predecessors. These included the Pittsfield and North Adams Railroad Corporation, the Hudson and Berkshire Railroad (later renamed the Hudson and Boston Railroad Corporation), the Ware River Railroad Company, and the Hudson and West Stockbridge Railroad.

Series Outline

The collection has been arranged into the following series:
  1. Series A. Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation records, 1831-1882
  2. Series B. Western Rail-Road Corporation records, 1829-1901
  3. Series C. Albany and West Stockbridge Railroad Company records, 1834-1877
  4. Series D. Pittsfield and North Adams Corporation records, 1846-1872
  5. Series E. Boston and Albany Railroad Co. records, circa 1850-1916
  6. Series F. Western Rail-Road, Pittsfield and North Adams Railroad, and Boston and Albany Railroad combined records, 1848-1872
  7. Series G. Ware River Railroad Company records, 1873
  8. Series H. Housatonic Railroad records, 1847-1848
  9. Series I. Hudson and Berkshire Railroad records, 1835-1867
  10. Series J. Hudson and Boston Railroad Corporation records, 1854-1857
  11. Series K. Hudson and West Stockbridge Railroad records, 1842
  12. Oversized materials

Provenance:

Source: Boston and Albany Railroad, 1940-1942 and Miss T. H. Twichell.

Existence and Location of Copies

Volume A1: Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation: Minutes of directors' meetings, June 22, 1831 - February 21, 1835, is available as a digital surrogate.

Volume A11: Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation: Reports of directors to stockholders and legislature, January 8, 1833 - November 16, 1840, is available as a digital surrogate.

Volume B1: Western Rail-Road Corporation: Corporation records, March 8, 1833 - September 4, 1867, is available as a digital surrogate.

Related Materials

Baker Library Historical Collections also holds a 1927 Boston and Albany Railroad Co. photograph album. The album contains fifty-six black and white photographs that depict flood-damaged railroad tracks and bridges of the Boston and Albany Railroad Co. near Becket, Massachusetts. The photographs were taken in the aftermath of a catastrophic flood that hit eastern Canada and western New England on November 3 and 4, 1927. Call No. Mss:724 1927 B747 (HOLLIS Number : 009135076)

Processing Information

Processed: 2007; 2011 By: Kristy Sharpe, Tim Mahoney

The collection was reprocessed in 2007. Unbound records were refoldered and placed in appropriate storage containers. The original arrangement of these records was largely left unchanged, but oversized items were separated and unfolded for conservation purposes. The new location of these separated items is indicated in the collection inventory below.
Link to catalog
Title
Boston and Albany Railroad Co. Boston and Albany Railroad Co. Records, 1829-1916 (inclusive), 1831-1875 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Author
Baker Library
EAD ID
bak00034

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

Contact:
Baker Library | Bloomberg Center
Soldiers Field Road
Boston MA 01263 USA
(617) 495-6411