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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:724 1835-1916 N253

Nashua & Lowell Railroad Corporation records

Records of the Nashua & Lowell Railroad Corporation, 1835-1916, include annual reports, account books, ledgers, and unbound papers documenting the company.


  • 1835-1916

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored offsite; access requires advance notice. Contact for more information.


30 linear feet (127 volumes, 112 boxes)

Chartered in New Hampshire in 1835 and in Massachusetts in 1836. Opened 14 mile line from Nashua, N.H. to Lowell, Mass. in 1838. Eventually absorbed by the Boston and Maine system. Account books, ledgers, and stock dividend records, annual reports, and unbound papers covering period of independent operation (1838-1857, 1878-1880); with other records covering the period the line was leased, first to the Boston and Lowell Railroad Corp. (1857-1878, 1880-1887) and later to the Boston and Maine Railroad (1887 and following years). Includes letters of Presidents Daniel Abbott (1848-1851) and F. A. Brooks (1879-1883); from Treasurers T. H. Woods (1871, 1874), C. V. Dearborn (1877-1881), and Charles B. Brooks (1881-1886); from Superintendents A. Mitchell (1848-1850), Onslow Stearns (1845-1863), Bernard Stearns (1846-1847), Charles F. Gove (1849-1853), George Stark (1847-1868), and others. Also included are papers relating to many other New England railroads with which the Nashua and Lowell had dealings.

There are many lawsuits in the unbound legal papers between the Nashua & Lowelland Boston & Lowell railroads over the working out of their joint arrangement.There are no bound letter books between January 1856 and January 1859 butthis gap is supplied in the unbound papers. These letters show that George Stark,who had been Treasurer and Superintendent of the Nashua & Lowell R.R. became Managerof the joint railroads in 1857 which position he held up to 1868 and perhapslonger.There are papers of thirty-one (31) railroads in the collection,in some cases as many as four volumes; in others, less than a folder.Twenty-three cartons of "vouchers" arranged chronologically,have not been opened. Many important papers, such as pay rolls, balances ofvarious roads, payments to "foreign roads," Treasurers' Statements, grossearnings and expenses are with these vouchers.

Historical Note:

These records, dated 1835 through 1916, were created by the Nashua & Lowell Railroad Corporation, which was chartered in New Hampshire in 1835 and in Massachusetts in 1836. Its fourteen miles of track were opened for business in 1838. It formed a very important connecting line with the Boston & Lowell Railroad and other short lines which extended very soon after this to Montreal, Ogdensburg, N.Y., and Albany. For many years it was a very prosperous road but in 1857 for more efficient operation it was leased to the Boston & Lowell. In the following year it was leased for twenty years although it remained a separate legal entity. After this agreement expired in 1878 it was operated independently for two years but in 1880 another lease was signed, this time for ninety-nine years. In 1887 the Boston & Lowell signed a lease with the Boston & Maine for the latter to operate all of the allied lines of the Boston & Lowell. In spite of this there were annual reports, stock records, and dividend records for the Nashua & Lowell for most of the period. There are many more accounts for the period before 1880.

In letter book, v. 112, under date of January 5, 1856, George Stark,at that time Superintendent of the Nashua & Lowell Railroad Company, wrote to H. B. Parsons of Harvard, Massachusetts, that the Nashua & Lowell had now ajoint contract with the Manchester & Lawrence road running eight years from 1852 by which all competition is agreed to be abandoned. Just how manysimilar contracts they made with other roads has not been ascertained. In the year 1857, however, a contract was entered into between theNashua & Lowell and the Boston & Lowell Railroad corporations. At the timeof entering into this contract, the Nashua & Lowell was the lessee of boththe Wilton and the Stony Brook Railroad. The term of the joint contract werethat the earnings and expenses of the Nashua & Lowell, Wilton and Boston &Lowell railroads should be pooled, the Nashua company assuming the entire rentof the Wilton road and receiving as its quota 31 percent of all net earning,leaving 69 percent of all net earnings of said four railroads for the Boston.& Lowell Corporation, the rent of the Stony Brook Railroad being paid out ofthe joint account. The Boston & Lowell company contributed its own main lineof 26 3/4 miles and the Nashua & Lowell contributed its own track of 14 milesand that of the Wilton 15 more. From time to time subsequently the jointtraffic contract was extended by the agreement of both parties so as to embracethe Salem & Lowell, the Lowell & Lawrence, the Arlington & Lexington, theMiddlesex Central, the Stoneham Branch, the Lawrence Branch and the PeterboroRailroads. In this way the mileage operated by the two companies on jointaccount had been doubled since 1857. See Report of the majority of a committeeof the Directors of the Nashua & Lowell R. R. (undated, but probably in 1878)in folder 4, v. l30.For further information on the joint contract of the Nashua & Lowelland Boston & Lowell R.R. see the report of the Board of Railroad Commissioners,February 4, 1879, in folder 4, v.130.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:
  1. Series I. Nashua & Lowell Railroad Corporation records, 1835-1912
  2. Series II. Boston & Lowell Railroad records, 1835-1881
  3. Series III. Concord Railroad Company records, 1845-1876
  4. Series IV. Northern Railroad records, 1846-1877
  5. Series V. Stony Brook Railroad records, 1848-1877
  6. Series VI. Wilton Railroad records, 1848-1879
  7. Series VII. Portsmouth & Concord Rail Road records, 1849
  8. Series VIII. Contoocook Valley Railroad records, 1850-1854
  9. Series IX. Boston, Concord, and Montreal Railroad records, 1850-1861
  10. Series X. Cheshire Railroad; Rutland & Burlington Railroad records, 1850-1858
  11. Series XI. Fitchburg Railroad Co. records, 1850-1857
  12. Series XII. Passumpsic Railroad records, 1850-1881
  13. Series XIII. Salem & Lowell R.R. records, 1850-1869
  14. Series XIV. Worcester & Nashua Railroad Co. records, 1850-1878
  15. Series XV. Vermont Central Railroad records, 1850-1880
  16. Series XVI. Vermont & Canada Railroad records, 1846-1860
  17. Series XVII. Concord & Claremont Railroad records, 1850-1885
  18. Series XVIII. Merrimack & Connecticut River Railroad records, 1853-1856
  19. Series XIX. Cheshire Railroad Co. records, 1851-1857
  20. Series XX. Rutland & Burlington R.R., Lowell & Lawrence R.R., New Hampshire Central R.R. records, 1851-1859
  21. Series XXI. Various railroads records, 1853-1879
  22. Series XXII. Boston & Lowell and Nashua & Lowell Railroad Companies records, 1857-1883
  23. Series XXIII. Boston & Maine Railroad Co. records, 1869-1916
  24. Series XXIV. Letters, Nashua & Lowell Railroad. Co. records, 1844-1885
  25. Series XXV. Letters—Various railroads, 1848-1864
  26. Series XXVI. Vouchers
  27. Series XXVII. Reports, 1875-1912
Nashua & Lowell Railroad Corporation. Nashua & Lowell Railroad Corporation Records, 1835-1916: A Finding Aid
Baker Library

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.

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