Cornell University Library Digital Collections

Looking South: Forwarding Yard on Right, Classification Yard on Left

About the collection

This collection consists of 1,656 images (8 film negatives and 1,648 photographs) that were taken on behalf of the railroad labor organizations to support the testimony of their members before the U.S. President's Railroad Commission regarding the crew consist dispute and their assertions regarding the necessity of the fireman position. The railroad labor unions asked their members who worked for various carriers across the country to document their workplaces, such as train yards, stations and terminals, railroad tracks in urban and rural settings, industry sidings, industrial facilities, and locomotive engines. These photographs document the railroad facilities and equipment of 48 carriers across the United States, and were taken by more than 30 railroad employees, the majority of whom were employed as firemen and engineers. A number of the photographs were entered into evidence by the unions, but not all of them were used in evidentiary proceedings before the Commission. Both evidentiary photographs and those not used in the proceedings are located in this collection. The photographs are arranged into 34 series. The series each contain photographs documenting a specific carrier in a unique location, taken by an employee or employees of that carrier on behalf of their union. Where possible, the photographs have been identified by their exhibit number as referred to in testimony or, where that is lacking, internal numbering written on the versos of the photographs. Descriptions of the images are taken from the testimony of the photographers. For those photographs that were not included as exhibits, descriptions have been assembled from contemporaneous notes, geographical clues found in the images, and other information found in other exhibits submitted by the Organizations to the Commission.