NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTION RECORD
Title: Union Pacific Railroad (Omaha, Neb.)Dates: 1862-1982 bulk 1862-1920
Quantity: (750 linear feet)
Collection Number: RG3761.AM
Copyright: To inquire about usage, please contact the Nebraska State Historical Society.
Preferred Citation: Union Pacific Railroad (Omaha, Neb.) (RG3761.AM). Nebraska State Historical Society.
Incorporated on July 1, 1862 under the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862, the Union Pacific Railroad established its headquarters for railroad operations at Omaha, Nebraska. The Union Pacific constructed westward from Omaha to meet the Central Pacific line coming from California. The two lines joined at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869, becoming the first transcontinental railroad in North America.
The following years showed marked expansion of the Union Pacific, and in 1880 the Union Pacific Railroad merged with the Kansas Pacific and Denver Pacific railways to form the Union Pacific Railway. Overexpansion and financial difficulties caused the Union Pacific Railway to fall into bankruptcy in 1893. The Union Pacific Railway was held in receivership until 1897 when it was sold to a group of investors and reorganized and reestablished as the Union Pacific Railroad. During this time the Union Pacific had to sell off some of its holdings to the Missouri Pacific and Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroads, but it would soon recover and in 1901 the Union Pacific took control of the Southern Pacific Railroad. However, in 1913, the U.S. Supreme Court would force the Union Pacific to relinquish control of the Southern Pacific.
The Union Pacific Railroad continued to expand its operations over the next hundred years and purchased numerous other railroads. Some of the more prominent acquisitions included the Missouri Pacific, Southern Pacific, Western Pacific, Missouri-Kansas-Texas, and the Chicago and North Western. The Union Pacific Railroad currently operates in 23 states and maintains nearly 32,000 miles of track.
Scope and Content:
The Union Pacific Railroad collection consists of nearly 750 linear feet of records dating from 1862-1980s organized into subgroups and series. Records fall into one of three categories: l) Corporate Offices, 2) Branch Roads and Subsidiary Companies and 3) Miscellany. Detailed inventories are available for each subgroup and series within the collection. Many of the records relating to the early building of the railroad (1862-ca. 1900) have been microfilmed and can be requested through interlibrary loan.
It should be noted that the collection contains very little in the way of employee records. A list of employees of the Engineering Department has been compiled and can be found in the inventory for that subgroup (SG14). Researchers should keep in mind that this list is not complete; it is only a compilation of names found in the records of the collection. Additionally, employee records of the construction era can be found in subgroup 20, the Casement Brothers. Again, an incomplete list of employees has been compiled from Casement Brothers records and can be found in the inventory for this subgroup. No comprehensive record of land sales for the Union Pacific exists. Researchers may find scattered records in various branch line and subsidiary company ledgers.
Note: Published materials by and about the Union Pacific Railroad are held in the NSHS Library collections. Photographs relating to the Union Pacific are housed with the NSHS photo collections [see RG3761.PH].
Subgroup 1, Board of Directors and Executive Committee, is made up of five series.
Series 1 consists of four volumes of Board of Directors minutes from 1862-1898 and ten volumes concerning stocks and bonds transactions. All material in series 1 has been microfilmed and a volume inventory is available.
Series 2 is composed of eight volumes; six contain minutes of the Executive Committee from 1865-1898 and two relate to Executive Committee resolutions from 1863-1867 and 1898-1906. This material has been microfilmed and a volume inventory is available. Of particular interest is volume 6, relating to the bridging of the Missouri River. For Executive Committee minutes prior to 1865 see series 1, volume 1. Director Cornelius Scranton Bushnell's correspondence from 1862-1875 can be found in series 3. This material has been microfilmed and a folder inventory is available.
The correspondence of William T. Glidden (Director, 1867-1868, 1869-1871) and the Committee of Five to dispose of bonds makes up series 4. The majority of the correspondence concerns the subscription of bonds of the UPRR. This material has been microfilmed and a folder inventory is available. For additional bonds transactions, see SG5, Office of the Treasurer. Series 5 consists of seven reels of microfilmed Annual Reports of the Government Directors, 1864-1889 and Annual Reports of Directors, 1873-1892. Government Directors' Reports for 1870-1871 are missing.
Subgroup 2, Office of the President, consists of over 150 boxes and 50 volumes of correspondence. The subgroup is arranged in three series: l) Incoming Correspondence, 2) Outgoing Correspondence and 3) Incoming Correspondence Registers.
Series 1, Incoming Correspondence, includes the letters of Oliver Ames, 1869-1870, which have been microfilmed. Finding aids for this material include a box/folder inventory, an alphabetized folder inventory and a general folder inventory. Separate indexes have been prepared for the correspondence of Col. C.G. Hammond and for passes issued. Correspondence addressed to Ames as Chairman of the Board of the Ames-Davis Trustees can be found in the records of the Ames-Davis Contract Trustees (SG23). There is a gap in the incoming presidential correspondence from 1871-1883. Correspondence resumes in 1884 with 95 boxes of letters of C.F. Adams. Finding aids for the 1884 correspondence (seven boxes) include a box/folder inventory, an alphabetical subject and correspondence list, and cross-referenced indexes for the following correspondents: Jacob Blickensderfer, Silas H.H. Clark, John F. Dillon and Thomas C. Kimball. Adams' 1885 correspondence fills sixteen boxes to which a folder inventory is available. In addition, cross-referenced indexes are available for the correspondence of Archibald Llewellyn Williams, the St. Joseph and Western R.R. and the Salina, Lincoln and Western R.R. A "Freight and Passenger Earnings Report" for 1885 is included with the correspondence. Adams' remaining incoming correspondence for the years 1886-1892 is housed in 71 boxes; a box inventory is available. One volume of telegrams received during 1886 is included here. Finally, series 1 includes 47 correspondence boxes of President H.G. Burt, covering the years 1896-1904. An inventory of box numbers, dates and subject/correspondent is available. In the last box of this series is six months of correspondence of President E.H. Harriman from 1904.
Series 2 of the Office of the President subgroup consists of 54 letterpress volumes of outgoing correspondence for the years 1869-1892. A list of volumes, current presidents and dates included is available. Letterpress volumes are often indexed in front or back. This material has been microfilmed.
Series 3 consists of eight boxes and seven volumes of Incoming Correspondence Registers covering the years 1882-1890. A brief inventory of this material is available.
Subgroup 3, Office of the Assistant to the President, includes only one series, Outgoing Correspondence for the years 1885-1891. The thirty-one volumes have been microfilmed and both a volume and microfilm inventory are available.
Subgroup 4, Office of the Vice President, is arranged in four series: 1) Correspondence, 2) Outgoing Correspondence, 3) the Durant Papers and 4) Correspondence Registers.
Series 1 includes one box of incoming correspondence for Elisha Atkins, 1874. This material has been microfilmed and both a folder and microfilm inventory are available. Also included are nineteen boxes (unfilmed) of both incoming and outgoing correspondence from 1891-1920. There is a box/folder inventory for this material.
Series 2 consists of three volumes of Thomas Clark Durant's outgoing correspondence for the years 1864-1869. These volumes have been microfilm.
Series 3 represents material loaned to the Nebraska State Historical Society (NSHS) by the University of Iowa from their Levi Leonard Collection. The Durant Papers were organized and microfilmed by the NSHS and returned to the University of Iowa. The microfilm is available for purchase or through interlibrary loan from the NSHS. A supplemental scope and content note exists for this series. The bulk of the material includes correspondence, accounting records, construction profiles, newspaper clippings regarding UP history and miscellaneous papers. A detailed frame by frame inventory has been prepared for this portion of the Durant Papers. Additional material not relating to the UP was also filmed. This includes material relating to the Chicago &
Rock Island Railroad, the Mississippi & Missouri Railroad, the Peoria &
Bureau Valley Railroad and the Adirondack Railroad Company. Personal papers of Durant's were also filmed. Film inventories for this non-UP material are available.
Finally, series 4 includes five volumes of correspondence registers for 1886-1888.
Subgroup 5, Office of the Treasurer, is arranged in three series: l) Incoming correspondence, 2) Outgoing Correspondence and 3) Registers, Journals and Ledgers. From March 1871 to April 1888, the Office of the Treasurer was combined with that of the Secretary. For records of this period see SG8.
Series 1 includes six boxes of John M.S. Williams' incoming correspondence for the years 1869-1870. This material has been microfilmed and a complete folder inventory is available. Series 1 also includes thirteen boxes of Treasurer Harris' incoming correspondence for the years 1888-1895. A folder inventory is available.
Series 2 consists of twenty letterpress volumes of outgoing correspondence for Treasurers Williams, 1869-1871, and Harris, 1888-1893. A brief inventory is available.
Series 3, Registers, Journals and Ledgers, includes six volumes of correspondence registers for the years 1888-1895 to which there is a brief inventory. Also included are 114 financial journals and ledgers. These represent the fiscal volumes for all corporate offices of the Union Pacific and cover the years 1863-1901. An inventory is available.
Subgroup 6, Office of the Assistant Treasurer, contains two series, Incoming Correspondence and Outgoing Correspondence. Series 1 is made up of six boxes of incoming correspondence for the years 1885-1895. Twenty letterpress volumes covering the years 1867-1892 make up series 2, Outgoing Correspondence. There is a folder inventory for both series.
Subgroup 7, Office of the Comptroller, is organized in three series: l) Incoming Correspondence, 2) Outgoing Correspondence and 3) Correspondence Registers. Series 1 contains eighty boxes of Oliver W. Mink's incoming correspondence for the years 1885-1893.
Series 2 includes thirty-eight letterpress volumes of Mink's outgoing correspondence for the years 1885-1893. An index and inventory are available.
The twenty volumes of correspondence registers that make up series 3 have been microfilmed. They cover the years 1886-1900. An inventory and index are available.
Subgroup 8, Office of the Secretary, is arranged in three series: 1) Incoming Correspondence, 2) Outgoing Correspondence and 3) Correspondence Registers.
Series 1 includes forty boxes of correspondence for the years 1869-1879. This material has been microfilmed. The remainder of series 1, fifty-seven boxes of incoming correspondence for the years 1880-1898, has not been microfilmed.
Series 2 consists of seventy-four outgoing letterpress volumes from 1868-1898, and Series 3, Correspondence Registers, consists of four volumes covering the years 1888-1898. A brief inventory is available.
Subgroup 9, Office of the Auditor, is arranged in three series: l) Incoming Correspondence, 2) Outgoing Correspondence and 3) Vouchers.
Box 1 of series 1 contains incoming correspondence for Joshua Warren Gannett, 1870-1883. Box 2 contains other incoming correspondence for the years 1880-1898. There is a folder inventory for both boxes. Series 2 consists of four volumes of outgoing correspondence for the years 1867-1880. There is a brief inventory. The remaining series consists of four boxes of vouchers of branch roads and subsidiary companies. There is a box/folder inventory which provides company name, voucher numbers and dates.
The Mechanical Department, Subgroup 10, consists of drawings of steam locomotives, passenger cars and miscellaneous drawings. These drawings include component parts as well as rolling stock sections and elevations.
Series 1 is made up of four boxes of material relating to steam locomotives, thirteen reels of microfilmed steam locomotive drawings and seven reels of index. Series 2 consists of thirteen reels of microfilmed passenger car and component parts tracings and Series 3 contains three reels of miscellaneous drawings. All three series have indexes and inventories. The original drawings were returned to the Union Pacific; researchers wishing to buy entire reels of microfilm should contact the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Materials relating to the Central Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad make up Subgroup 11. This subgroup consists of three boxes containing correspondence, legal materials, stockholder and trustee information, etc. The bulk of this material dates from ca. 1863-1890.
The Law Department files of Subgroup 12 are divided into four series. Series 1, incoming correspondence, consists of three boxes dating from 1875-1884. The files are organized alphabetically and contain information regarding various lawsuits and other legal matters. The outgoing correspondence of Series 2 consists of one folder and five letterpress books. The materials in Series 2 date from 1876-1890. Series 3, Miscellany, is composed of one volume of drafts of legal briefs by John F. Dillon dating from 1886. The last series, Series 4, consists of forty-three boxes of legal case files handled by the department. The bulk of the files date from the 1880s to the 1920s and mostly relate to lawsuits regarding property damage, personal injury/death, death of livestock, right-of-way disputes, breach of contract, etc. This subgroup is mostly unprocessed but an inventory is available.
Subgroup 13, Land Department records, is divided into three series. Series 1, incoming correspondence, consists of four boxes dating from 1874-1893. Series 2, outgoing correspondence, consists of one box of correspondence from General Town Lot Agent, John M. Eddy, dating from 1871-1872. The financial materials in Series 3 consist of journals and ledgers containing information regarding town lots and other land sales and a box of cash abstracts and balance sheets. The bulk of the materials in Series 3 dates from 1869-1899.
The Engineering Department files of Subgroup 14 consist of eleven boxes and various oversized drawings divided into four series. Series 1, General Correspondence and Records, makes up the bulk of the subgroup. It consists of seven boxes containing general correspondence and records (1862-1869); Arthur Northcote Ferguson diaries (1865-1869); and misc. incoming correspondence including estimates, invoices and maintenance of way reports (1881-1896; 1923-1925). Series 2, Plans and Diagrams, consists of several folders of misc. oversized drawings relating to bridges, tunnels, tank houses and other structures. Most of the drawings are undated.
Series 3, Profiles of Construction, consists of three boxes of various profile drawings of trackage dating from 1865-1869. Series 4 contains one box of incoming correspondence of Fred S. Hodges. The correspondence dates from 1864-1869 and 1922.
Subgroup 15, Office of the Superintendent, consists of six boxes of correspondence and contracts divided into seven series. The subgroup is divided into the following series: Idaho Division (Blickensderfer, Resseguie and Ryder); Idaho Division of the Oregon Shortline and Utah Northern (Calvin); Receivers of the Oregon Shortline and Utah Northern (Calvin and Van Housen); Idaho Division of the Oregon Shortline and Utah Northern (Van Housen and Manson); Kansas Division; General Superintendent - Omaha; and Wyoming Division. The materials in this subgroup date from 1882-1906.
Subgroup 16, Office of the Superintendent of Transportation, Omaha, consists of two boxes of correspondence dating from 1903-1904. Subgroup 17, Office of the General Purchasing Agent, is comprised of five boxes and several volumes divided into three series: Series 1, Correspondence (1902-1909, 1913-1914); Series 2, Purchase Orders and Supplements (1916-1931); and Series 3, Bids and Contracts (1881-1898, 1921-1930). The files in Subgroup 18, Tax Department, consist of two boxes of general correspondence and tax payments organized by state and county. These materials date from 1920-1921.
Records of the Valuation Department, Subgroup 19, were transferred back to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum (Council Bluffs, Iowa) in 1993.
Records of the track laying contractor, Casement Brothers (John S. &
Daniel T.) make up Subgroup 20. This subgroup is comprised of fourteen boxes divided into seven series containing correspondence, general accounts, supply orders, financial records, employee and personnel records. The materials date from 1866-1871. An employee list (incomplete) for Casement Brothers has been compiled from various records held in this subgroup. Subgroup 21, Miscellany, contains nineteen boxes of miscellaneous records including general correspondence, materials on the UPRR and Industrial Armies, miscellany relating to various branch roads, etc. An inventory is available.
Subgroup 22, records of the Passenger Department, was transferred back to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum (Council Bluffs, Iowa) in 1993.
The materials in Subgroup 23 relate to Credit Mobilier of America and the Ames-Davis Contract Trustees. The subgroup contains correspondence and records concerning organization of the Pennsylvania Fiscal Agency which became Credit Mobilier of America, 1864; records and correspondence of the Ames-Davis Contract Trustees, 1867-1874; and correspondence and accounting records of the contractors for building the UPRR. The Telegraph Department files of Subgroup 24 are comprised of general correspondence, ledgers and journals and miscellaneous printed materials. The bulk of the materials dates from the 1870s-1890s.
Subgroups 25 and above generally relate to branch lines, subsidiary companies, etc. Many of these consist mainly of ledgers, journals and ICC annual reports. An inventory of these branch line and subsidiary company materials is available. A few noted exceptions are as follows:
Subgroup 145 consists of two boxes of materials relating to Thomas Mayne Daley Orr, Assistant Secretary of the Union Pacific Railroad. The materials include record books and correspondence dating from 1881-1900. Subgroup 147 is comprised of two boxes of personal correspondence and various other documents relating to Joseph Warren Gannett (Auditor for the Union Pacific) and his son, Earl W. Gannett, dating from ca. 1857-1891. Subgroup 188 consists of twenty boxes of "circulars" distributed to the various departments and divisions of the railroad. The circulars date from ca. 1871-1905. Subgroup 190, records of the Department of Tours, UPRR and Chicago & North Western Railway, is made up of twenty-four boxes divided into twelve series. Materials include correspondence, annual reports, tour literature, manuals, payroll records, etc., and date from 1917-1971.