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MRRC and Railroad History Materials

Midwest Railroad Research Center

In 1997, the Midwest Railroad Research Center was formed as part of the IHS library in recognition of the role Indiana has played as a national leader in the railroad industry.  Indianapolis has served as a vital link between the East and Chicago, as well as being the hub of the interurban system in the Midwest.  Although IHS has collected materials related to transportation history for many years, this organization help to confirm and intensify these collecting interests. In particular, MRRC emphasizes the history of electric interurban railways. Indiana was second only to another Midwestern state, Ohio, in the track mileage for interurban transportation. In addition to railroads and interurbans, IHS is also interested in materials related to railroad suppliers that help to form a better understanding of the overall history of these types of transportation.

For the MRRC collections, we are seeking donations of railroad company records; the personal and professional papers of those who worked for railroads; runs of railroad periodicals, particularly those focusing on the Midwest; records of railroad unions; original photographs; records and publications of railroad clubs and historical societies; railroad guides and directories covering the Midwest; books on Midwestern railroads; and materials on interurbans, street railways, electric railways and trolleys on tracks. For more information about the types of materials we collect, please see our Collections Development and Acquisitions Policy, specifically attachment "A" which includes a full description of the MRRC Collection Policy.

Materials already located in our collections, other than the manuscript and visual materials referenced in the attached Guide to Railroad History materials, include both digital images and printed items. The Bass Photo Co. Collection includes a group of Indiana Rail Transportation Images, a full description of this collection can be found here. Other railroad related images exist in other collections within our digital archive, so searching this collection, as well as across all collections can yield different results. A basic search of our digital collections can be done by clicking here. The William H. Smith Memorial Library also holds many printed items related to railroads and interurbans. These materials include, but are not limited to, books, catalogs, periodicals, maps and broadsides.  Searching our online catalog would provide results concerning our printed material, as well as manuscript and visual materials.

Guide to Railroad History Materials

This guide describes manuscript and visual collections in the William H. Smith Memorial Library, including those collected before and after creation of the MRRC. These collections document the history of railroads and interurbans. Collections are listed alphabetically by creator, which could be a railroad, an organization or a person.  Please follow one of the links on the right to continue your search.