Finding Aids

Aviation, Transportation and Civil Engineering

Account Book

Account book from England with entries for various railroad companies, docks, and other transportation-related companies. Individuals are also represented.

Album of Engravings and Photographs of American Locomotives

Collection of engravings and photographs of American locomotives. The engravings and photographs have been cut out of books and magazines and pasted into the album.The dates of the locomotives range from the 1830s to the 1880s, though the album appears to have been assembled in the 1880s. Some images are grouped according to manufacturer or railroad company, but have little to no individual identification or description.

Baldwin, Loammi. Papers

Loammi Baldwin was a pioneering civil engineer who lived in Massachusetts from 1780 to 1838. He planned and executed public works projects in several Eastern states including canals, public monuments, dams, and tunnels. His lifework was a series of dry docks he built on commission by the United States government in 1833. The collection contains 247 handwritten letters both from and to Baldwin and his business associates, colleagues, and family members. The letters reveal aspects of Baldwin's personal life as well as his professional projects and meditations.

Barnes, David Leonard. Iron & Steel in Car Construction: Memoranda on Pressed Steel

Typescript copy with handwritten annotations on the construction, production, and specifications of metal freight cars. Includes clippings, tipped in. Illustrated with diagrams. Includes arguments, descriptions, costs, and design specifications of freight cars. Also includes "Memoranda on the use of iron and steel," particularly addressing the advantages of pressed steel plates in freight car construction.

Barnes, David Leonard. Specifications for Locomotive Details

Manuscript specifications for locomotive construction. Includes index. Illustrated with pen and ink drawings, and charts.

Bretonière, J. Sailing Flight, from Observations Made at Constantine, Algeria

Manuscript essay with annotations on experiments in aerial flight.

Bryan, Charles W., Jr. Collection

The collection contains images and texts documenting large-scale construction and engineering projects, particularly of ships, ports, and railroads. The materials were collected by, or associated with civil engineer Charles Walter Bryan, Jr. Crerar Mss 396 and 303.

Burroughs, John. The Flight of Birds

Includes holograph draft of "The Flight of Birds," later published in The Atlantic, vol. 126, pages 279-82, (1920). Also includes clippings and a letter from Edwin Carlile Litsey to Burroughs, 1920 May 13.

Central Pacific Railway Company. Blueprints

Detailed drawing of an engine car labeled "El Gobernador" and the freight cars it pulls. Includes separate, more detailed drawings of its components. The General Master Mechanic is listed as A. J. Stevens. The draughtsman is listed as H. Stillman.

Chalmers, Charles H. The Helicopter

Consists of two typescript drafts of "The Helicopter," four letters from Chalmers to Octave Chanute (1901 and 1908), blueprints, diagrams, and photographs. Material was collected by Chanute.

Chanute, Octave. Balloons in the Recent War

Handwritten essay, on the use of hot-air balloons in the Spanish-American war (1898-1899).

Chanute, Octave. Clippings on Aeronautics

Scrapbook of clippings from the United States, England, France, Germany, and Italy, concerning early attempts at manned flight made ca. 1870-1910. Includes related correspondence, holograph notes and articles, typed copies of articles, and photographs. Assembled by Octave Chanute.

Chanute, Octave. Collected Papers on Civil Engineering and Aeronautics (CrMs 168)

Copies of published essays by Octave Chanute, concerned with the engineering of bridges and railways, and experiments in aeronautics. Includes typescript paper with holograph revisions, "Opening address, International Conference on Aerial Navigation."

Chanute, Octave. Letters

Consists of 4 letters written to Chanute from representatives of various manufacturers of petroleum and diesel engines, as well as one administrator for a Chicago railroad company. Correspondents include Amos S. Stetson of Brayton Petroleum Engine Company, George B. Brayton, John B. Parson of West Chicago Street Rail Road Company, and E. D. Meier of the Diesel Motor Company of America. Also includes 2 photographs of what are identified as steam engines.

Chemins de fer du Centre, de Moulins a Roanne

"Ponts et chaussées, chemins de fer du Centre, de Moulins à Roanne, avant-projet:" portfolio with plans and maps for a railway to be built between Moulins and Roanne in France. Includes an index that is pasted to the inside of the front cover.

Chicago Belt Railroad Company. Records.

Contains preliminary and second drafts of Articles of Association; an official copy, notarized, with state seal, signed by the founders of the Chicago Belt Railroad Company; and other documents. Also includes autograph list of stock subscribers

Correspondence, Estimates and Other Memoranda Relative to Motive Power on the Chicago & South Side Rapid Transit Company's Elevated Road

Bound volume with typewritten, dated pages that relate to the planning and construction of the railroad built and operated by the Chicago and South Side Rapid Transit Company. The materials were assembled by D. L. Barnes.

Crerar, Adams & Co. Collection

Founded by John Crerar and J. McGregor Adams ca. 1868, Crerar, Adams & Co. was a leading supplier to the railroad industry. This small collection contains trade catalogs from the early and mid-twentieth century, as well as documents relating to the estates of one of the firm's partners, Edward S. Shepherd, and his wife Julia M. Shepherd.

Davis, Fred Merrill. Central Power Station Equipment for Telephone Exchanges

Typed carbon copy of a thesis submitted in 1901, for the degree of Electrical Engineering at the University of Maine at Orono. Illustrated with photographs, and blueprints, folded in.

Davis, Fred Merrill. Central Power Station Equipment for Telephone Exchanges

Typed carbon copy of a thesis submitted in 1901, for the degree of Electrical Engineering at the University of Maine at Orono. Illustrated with photographs, and blueprints, folded in.

Delaurier, E.T. Aérien et moteur à feu : description et dessins. Scrapbook

Consists of manuscript and printed materials related to Delaurier's work in aeronautics. Includes a letter from Delaurier to Zahm, Paris, 1893 Jun 9, with English translation; five diagrams of flying machines; patent request for "Aérien;" manuscript of "Mémoire sur un moteur à feu inexplosible...;" English translation, "Treatise on fire mover [i.e. fire combustion motor] not liable to burst, very light, powerfull [sic], generally appropriated [sic] to aerial navigation, without balloons;" seven folded pen & ink diagrams of flying machines. Assembled by Octave Chanute.

Dyke, Andrew Lee. Collection

Textbooks and cardboard working models for Andrew Lee Dyke's home study course of automobile engineering.

Elgin, St Charles & Southern Railway Company, Articles of Incorporation.

Contains printed articles of incorporation of the Elgin, St. Charles & Southern Railway Company, signed by charter members, dated February 2, 1886. Also includes manuscript notes

First Flight at Kitty Hawk

This volume contains a photograph and accompanying text. The photograph is labeled "A new, improved print of the only photograph taken of the Wright brother's first flight near Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Dec 17, 1903 -- one produced by the brothers themselves."

Flott, Leslie W. Augustus Moore Herring : Typescript

Typescript (photocopy) of essay by Flott, "Augustus Moore Herring, Aviation's Forgotten Pioneer: the Early Years, 1888-1900". Also includes photostat copies of newspaper articles on Herring from 1898 and 1936.

Fogarty, Thomas B. Motors

Scrapbooks containing manuscript notes, correspondence, advertisements, clippings, and diagrams. Material relates to motors. All material tipped or pasted in. Volume one: "Experiments - Researches, Plan - Data...Relating to Domestic Motors." Volume two: Clippings or articles on electro-magnetic, locomotive, gas, air, steam, and rotary engines. Volume three: Clippings on electromagnetic power, with advertisements and articles on sewing and flying machines, and manuscript notes on motors.

Fowle, Franke Fuller. The Covered Bridges Across the Contoocook River at Hancock, New Hampshire: Designed and Patented by Col. Stephen H. Long in 1830

Typescript essay on wooden bridges. Illustrated with photographs of covered bridges. Also contains "Early American Timber Bridges" (1937), an essay prepared for the Engineering History Division of the Western Society of Engineers. Includes printed announcement from the Western Society of Engineers Bulletin (December 1936).

Goodwin Car Company. Photographs

A bound collection of thirteen photographs of the Goodwin dump railroad car in various stages of operation.

Hagerstown and Smithburg Turnpike Company. Records

Contains certificate for two shares of stock, 1857 May 15; certificate for one share of stock, 1857 Jul. 27; and a court summons, Washington County, Maryland, 1873 Feb. 4.

Hooker, George Ellsworth.City Planning, Transportation and Housing. Collection

The collection contains bound materials related to urban planning and growth in the United States and abroad. Originally assembled by George E. Hooker between 1900 and 1925 in his capacity as Civic Secretary of the City Club of Chicago, materials in the collection explore aspects of urban growth and improvement pertinent to specific cities along with general information about city development.

Huffaker, Edward C. Experiments with Gliding Models Conducted by E.C. Huffaker for Mr. O. Chanute, C.E

Monthly record of experiments conducted between January-June 1899 by Huffaker in Chucky City, Tennessee. Collected by Octave Chanute.

Huffaker, Edward C. The Kite : Its Mechanism and Equilibrium

Manuscript describing flight experiments conducted by Edward C. Huffaker in Chucky City, Tennessee, November 14, 1896. Collected by Octave Chanute

Huffaker, Edward C., Soaring Flight

Edward C. Huffaker (1856-1937), aviation engineer and designer and surveyor. Consists of one drawing and measurements of a glider or flying machine. The machine is depicted from several angles. Various parts are labeled and described. The manuscript contains handwritten observations of the machine in flight and the general principles of flight. Collected by Octave Chanute.

Illinois Central Railroad Company. Records

Scrapbook of typescript, manuscript, and printed material relating to the Illinois Central Railroad Company, Galena and Chicago Union Railroad, John Frink Express Company, and American Express Company. Includes letters, instructions to agents, orders, bills, receipts, contracts, rates of fare, and additional reports of local railroads and other companies, including Western Union.

Images of Hot Air Balloons and Whitehead's Airplane

Four newspaper clippings pertaining to balloons and airplanes. Three clippings sources have been identified as The Week Magazine, Chicago American, and The Chicago Sun-Times.

Jervis, John B. The Croton Aqueduct

Newspaper clipping from the New York Evening Post (1870s, Nov. 12). Also includes autograph letter signed, from John Bloomfield Jervis, Rome, New York, to Octave Chanute (1878 May 4).

Koch, Gustav. Papers on Aerial Navigation

Handwritten facsimiles of three essays by Gustave Koch, with annotations, concerning the principles of mechanical flight. Illustrated with diagrams, drawings, and photographs. I) Koch, "Introduction of air navigation by the paddle wheel-flying-machine," n.d.; II) Koch, "The physical base of the phenomenon of flight and the solution of the problem of flight," 1894; III) Koch, "Principle of flight and flying machine," 1897; IV) Various experts, "Opinions on Herrn Gustav Koch's system of dynamical flight." Assembled [and copied?] by Octave Chanute

Kress, Wilhelm. The Aeroplane and its Stability During Flight

Manuscript essays and notes. Includes original German draft of "Der Drachenflieger und dessen Stabilität während dem Fluge" and its English translation, "The aeroplane and its stability during flight." Also includes "Questions to Kress" (possibly from Octave Chanute) and a letter from Kress, Vienna, to Chanute (1895 June 12)

Lamson, Charles Henry. C. H. Lamson's Experiments on Kite Flying

Scrapbook of clippings related to kites. Includes photographs of experiments in kite flying primarily in Portland Maine, and of various flying machines, with annotations by Lamson and Chanute on versos

Langley, S. P., The Internal Work of the Wind

Typescript carbon copy with manuscript annotations of Langley's study on wind velocity and aerodynamics. Illustrated with charts. Includes supplement with analytical data supplied by George E. Curtis. Published in Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, no. 884 (December 1893), vol. 27, no.2.

Langley, S.P. The Langley Aerodrome

Scrapbook of clippings, magazine articles by Langley, and typed material by Octave Chanute, concerned with the Langley Aerodrome and aeronautics. Includes typed carbon copies of essays by Chanute, including "Langley's contribution to Aerial Navigation," Langley's biography, and bibliography of Langley's published work. Collected by Octave Chanute.

Lanza, Gaetano, Train Resistance

Manuscript (carbon copy) on the wind resistance encountered by trains. Also includes transcriptions of the reports of other engineers. Illustrated with diagrams and graphs on blueprint paper

Lilienthal, Otto. Papers on Aeronautics

Scrapbook of printed copies of Lilienthal's essays, with clippings, holograph and typescript translations of papers related to aeronautics. Collected by Octave Chanute.

Lincoln, Edwin Hale. Sailing Vessels. Photographs

46 platinum print photographs of sailing ships. Accompanied by handwritten descriptions of each vessel's origin and functions on verso. Also includes typescript index.

Margolis, A. Fundamental Principles of Municipal Heating

Typescript translation of Margolis' essay on heating systems, "Grundlagen der Städteheizungen," XII Kongress fϋr Heizung und Lϋftung, (Weisbaden: 1927). Translated into English by Dr. E. Mead Wilcox. Illustrated with graphs and diagrams. Includes sections on municipal heating in Hamburg, municipal heating in Kiel, and gas heating.

Max Mason. Papers

Charles Max Mason (1877-1961) mathematician, President of the University of Chicago (1925-1928), and President of the Rockefeller Foundation (1929-1936). The collection primarily documents Mason’s work for the National Research Council during World War One, where he developed a submarine detection device that was in regular use on destroyers by the summer of 1918. The device was a precursor to the sonar devices of the 1940s.

Moedebeck, Herman, W.L. Papers on Aeronautics

Scrapbook of published papers on aeronautics by H. Moedebeck. Includes printed copy of "Die Elasticität der Feder und des Flugels" (Zeitschrift für Luftschiffahrt und Physik der Atmosphäre, 1895) and "Der Bau des Registrirballons 'Strassburg' (Zeitschrift für Luftschiffahrt und Physik der Atmosphäre, 1897). Also includes a manuscript of the English translation of the first article, "On the Elasticity of the Feather and the Wing;" a summary in English of the second article; and a typescript of Moedebeck's essay, "The International Meteorological Balloon Ascensions." Material was collected by Octave Chanute

Nash, D. A. Letter

Autograph letter signed. Nash, writing in his capacity as the secretary of the Office of the Board of Commissioners of Pilots in New York, provides information about the number of boats, pilots, and their earnings for 1883. Also contains annual reports for previous years.

New York State Canal Commissioners. Statement of Work

Statement of work let on the canals of the state of New York pursuant to Chapter 329, Laws of 1854, showing the number of proposals, name of contractors, number of letting, place and date of letting, description of work, ratio of bid, aggregate of bid, engineer’s estimate, date of award, date of contract, when to be completed, date of filing contract, and remarks; together with the total amount let and the amount less the engineer’s estimate. Also contains a similar document for the following year, 1855, and an appendix denoting canal construction contracts.

Obermayer, Albert, Concerning the Effect of the Wind Upon Slightly Arched Surfaces

Contains manuscript notes taken by C. F. Marvin, "Notes concerning the Obermayer Article"; a letter from C. F. Marvin to Octave Chanute; and typed copy with manuscript notations of A. Obermayer, "Concerning the Effect of Wind upon Slightly Arched Surfaces." Originally published in Zeitschrift für Luftschiffahrt und Physik der Atmosphäre, (1896)

Oral Opinion of Hon. Smith McPherson in the Case of the United States vs. Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railway Company

Typescript opinion of Smith McPherson, a Missouri judge, on the liability of railroad companies for accidents injuring their employees.

Packard Airplane Engines. Photographs and Typescripts

Consists of photographs and typescripts describing Packard airplane engine models 1, 2, and 3, and Liberty-12 airplane engine models A and B.

Philips, Horatio. Letter to Octave Chanute

Autograph letter, signed, from Horatio Phillips to Octave Chanute on their work in mechanical flight.

Pilcher, Percy. Materials for the Study of Aeronautical Experiments

Scrapbook of clippings, correspondence, and photographs, related to Pilcher's work in aeronautics. Includes clippings reporting Pilcher's fatal flying accident. Collected by Octave Chanute.

Postcards on Wright's Airplane Ascension at Le Mans

Three picture postcards from "Agnes," Chartres, France, to "Blanche," providing eyewitness description of Wilbur Wright's flight at Le Mans, France.


Scrapbook of correspondence, printed advertisements, circulars, and reports connected to the railroad industry and related trades. Includes photographs of railroad machinery and other mechanical equipment.

Railroads, Manuscripts and Autograph Letters

A bound volume containing letters, legal documents regarding rail commerce from 1810 to 1924. The volume was assembled in the 1880s. The items come from United States, England and France.

Railroads, Original Contracts and Petitions

Six documents pertaining to railroads and commerce in England and Ireland, including lists of shareholders and petitions to the governing bodies of England and Ireland on behalf of manufacturers and tradesmen.

Research Notes Concerning Augustus Moore Herring

Contains correspondence, manuscript notes, bibliography, printed essays, photostats, and typed notes on early aviation. Partly collected by J. Sherwin Murphy. Includes transcribed typewritten copies of correspondence between Herring and Octave Chanute, selected by Pearl I. Young.

Rocket Manual A4

This manuscript is a V2 rocket manual. It was translated by the Allied Forces in Germany from the German original which was created by the Oberkommando and found by the Allies in 1945 in Berlin.

Scrapbook of Clippings on the Boston Subway

A bound volume of clippings pasted in on the Boston subway mainly from the Boston Globe.

Scrapbook of the Chicago Subway System

This is a collection of newspaper clippings on the planning, construction, and issues surrounding the Chicago subway system.

Simpson, Tracy W. Electrification Project : The Illinois Central Railroad Company Suburban Service at Chicago, Ill.

Typescript copy of thesis. Illustrated with carbon copy of printed map, folded in, and extensive blueprints, tipped in.

Test Results for Railway Brake Shoes

Consists of a volume containing correspondence, memoranda, tables, and charts recording tests on railway brake shoes. Also contains published items relating to tests performed on various railway brake shoes. The tests were apparently conducted by the Brake Shoe Shop Test Committee on behalf of the Master Car-Builders' Association. The material was collected by Chicago engineer David L. Barnes, and it is to him that many of the letters are addressed. Most of the volume comprises tables and charts demonstrating the change of co-efficient of friction at differing levels of pressure. Some of the items in the volume are stamped with the identification: "The David L. Barnes Library of the Western Railway Club."

Westinghouse Air Brake Company, The Story of the Air Brake

Typescript transcript of a slide lecture on the development of mechanical air brakes. Extensively illustrated with photographs, pasted in.

Whistler, George William, Report to Count Kleinmichel on gauge of track to be used in the St. Petersburg and Moscow Railroad

Photostat copy of original manuscript report by George Whistler to Count Kleinmichel on the gauge of track to be used in the St. Petersburg and Moscow Railroad. Also includes typescript copy of the manuscript and a copy of a letter from Ralph Budd offering the copies to the Newberry Library (1944).

Wilcox. Delos Franklin. Papers

Delos Franklin Wilcox (1873-1928), Franchise and public utility expert. Correspondence, reports, analyses, articles, pamphlets, graphs, tables, and notes. Material relates to public utility issues.

Withrow, Thomas Foster. History of the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railway Company from its Inception, February 27, 1847 to Date

Manuscript in ruled journal on the history of the railway company in Chicago