This guide lists finding aids for railroad materials in the Special Collections Department. Online articles listed below come from Books at Iowa. As a convenience to researchers, selected links to significant historical railroad research collections at other institutions are listed at the end of this document.

Manuscript Collections

Records of Carr and Carr, Manchester, Iowa. 1857 – 1957. MsC130.

Manchester and Oneida Railway Company: See Carr and Carr; Vander Maas collections.

Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway History Papers. 1953 – 1973. MsC210.

Chicago Northwestern Railway Register of Ticket Agent Papers. MsC85. Records of the Cedar Rapids passenger ticket agent for the Chicago Northwestern Railway from 1896 to 1899.

Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company. Records.
Records of this significant Midwestern railroad, including correspondence, administrative and legal matters, property records, and financial records. These materials document almost entirely operations in the state of Iowa, with a few exceptions for other states. MsC782.

D. M. Christisen Collection of Railroadiana, 1880s – early 1900s. MsC548.

Multiple railroads, with a focus on the Milwaukee Road.

Commercial Documents Collection, 1837 – 1931. MsC347. Illustrated Railroad Stock Certificates.

Papers of the Davenport Bessler Corporation. 1909 – 1955. MsC81. Business records of the defunct locomotive manufacturing company.

B.R. Dew Collection of Railroadiana, 1883-1966. MsC497 Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific.

Papers of Peter A. Day, 1853 – 1911. MsC86. Notebooks, diaries, correspondence and clippings of Dey, who served as an Engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad.

Papers of Grenville Mellen Dodge. MsC87. Describes Railroad Engineering Problems.

Papers of Samuel O. Dunn, 1917 – 1928. MsC435. Writer about Railroads.

Papers of the Greene Family, 1790 – 1936. MsC225. Some material concerning the Chicago, Iowa and Nebraska Railroad.

Albert N. Harbert Collection of Railroadiana, 1867- 1937. MsC434. Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern.

Drake Hokanson Collection of Railroadiana, 1971 -1989. MsC534. Amtrak.

Irelan Family Papers, 1925-1996. MsC845. Rock Island.

Papers of Charles Wood Irish, 1852 – 1927. MsC362. Chicago Northwestern, Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe.

Papers of Levi O. Leonard, 1839 – 1941. MsC159. Union Pacific, Rock Island and other railroads.

McKenzie Railroadiana Collection. MsC871. Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe; CSX Transportation, Soo Line, Wisconsin Central, Ltd. railroads.

Ottumwa Railway and Light Company, 1915 – 1922. MsC366. Street Railroad in Ottumwa.

Papers of the Sterns Family, 1858-1947. MsC405. Includes information about railroading from Albert Henry Sterns.

Papers of Charles E. Strickland, 1937 – 1972. MsC311. Iowa Terminal Railroad.

Papers of Clifford Thorne, 1901 – 1923. MsC188. Iowa Railroad Commissioner.

John P. Vander Maas Collection of Railroadiana. MsC468. Multiple railroads. Partial finding aid online at this time. The Vander Maas Collection images of Iowa railroad depots can be viewed through the Iowa Digital Library. MsC468

Diaries of R. Weston, 1873 and 1878. MsC117. Railroad Mechanic for Chicago, Burlington and Quincy and the Chicago, Dubuque and Minnesota Railroads.

James H. Windsor Collection of Railroadiana, 1874 – 1989. MsC521. Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific.


Grant, H. Roger. “The Railroad Timetable: A Neglected Research Source.” Books at Iowa 53, November, 1990.

Hofsommer, Don L. “Of Buffs and Professionals: Iowa’s Expanded Transportation Archives.” Books at Iowa 48, April 1988.

Kolbet, Richard M. “The Levi O. Leonard Railroad Collection.” Books at Iowa 8, April 1968.

Vander Mass, John P. “Early Reminiscences of RailroadsBooks at Iowa 58, April 1993.

Links for Railroad Research

American Memory: Railroad Maps, 1828 – 1900.

Railroad Collections in the Bentley Historical Library.

University of Connecticut Libraries Railroad History Archive.

University of Oklahoma Railroad Collections.

CRANDIC (Cedar Rapids and Iowa City) Railroad.

Local Guides & Histories: Railroads in Texas and Beyond

Originally compiled by Amy Cooper Cary, Special Collections Librarian, 2004, and since maintained by others.