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Guide to the Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation Correspondence

MSN/EA 1506

 

Collection Summary

Title: Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation Correspondence
Dates: 1832-1912(bulk 1832-1859)
Collection No.: MSN/EA 1506
Creator: Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation
Extent: 76 folders; 3 containers; 1.5 linear feet
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: Much of this collection consists of incoming business correspondence to officers and directors of the Boston & Providence Railroad and its branches, written in the 1830s, 40s, and 50s.

Selected Search Terms

Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation
Railroad companies -- Massachusetts
Railroad companies -- Rhode Island

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation Correspondence, [Folder no.], Rare Books and Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: Arranged and described 2015, by Marek Mazurek. Finding aid 2015, by Marek Mazurek and George Rugg.

Biographical Note

The Boston & Providence Railroad (B&PRR) was incorporated on 21 June 1831, less than one year after the opening of the Baltimore & Ohio (the first American railroad chartered specifically for public use), The line's first board of directors included Thomas B. Wales, P. T. Jackson, Joseph W. Revere, William W. Woolsey, and John F. Loring. The B&PRR was chartered to carry passengers and freight between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island. Construction began in late 1832; the first section, from Boston to Canton, Massachusetts (with a branch line to Dedham) opened in 1834. The track to Providence opened on 28 July 1835 with the completion of the Canton viaduct, the longest railroad viaduct in the world at the time. The original Boston terminal was at Park Square; the Providence terminal was at Fox Point. An 11.5 mile branch to Taunton, the seat of Bristol County, Massachusetts, opened in 1836. This was extended to New Bedford in 1840, as the New Bedford & Taunton. In 1847 the Boston & Providence built a connection west from its main line in Attleboro to Central Falls, and the newly opened Providence & Worcester Railroad.

In 1888 the B&P was leased by the Old Colony Railroad. Five years later this lease was assumed by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, which used the B&P as part of its main line from Boston to New York City.

Scope and Content Note

The most substantial part of the collection consists of 127 pieces of incoming business correspondence to officers, directors, legal advisers, and others affiliated with the Boston & Providence Railroad, 1832 to 1846. Topics touched upon include financing, land acquisition, line construction, and other legal and financial matters. Many of the letters are authored by directors or other ranking figures in the company, including several early presidents (Wales, Grinell, Woolsey) and the engineer William Gibbs McNeill. An additional 65 pieces of correspondence dating from 1847 to 1859 pertain primarily to the Taunton Branch and the New Bedford & Taunton Railroad. Many of the items dating from the 1870s and later are postal cards directed to the treasurers of the Old Colony Railroad.

Arrangement Note

Material is arranged chronologically.

Container List

  • Correspondence: Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1832. Folder 1 (MSN/EA 1506-1).
    3 letters.
    Correspondence from William W. Woolsey (1766-1839), later president of the B&PRR, to Thomas B. Wales (1808-1863), first president of the B&PRR (1831-1835), and to Benjamin R. Nichols (1786-1848), secretary of the B&PRR.
    • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1833 February-March. Folder 2 (MSN/EA 1506-2).
      4 letters.
      Correspondence from Woolsey to Wales and Nichols.
      • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1833 May-September. Folder 3 (MSN/EA 1506-3).
        3 letters.
        Incoming correspondence to Wales and Nichols.
        • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1834 April-July. Folder 4 (MSN/EA 1506-4).
          4 letters.
          Incoming correspondence to Wales, Nichols, William Gibbs McNeill (1801-1853), the B&PRR's chief engineer, and Peter Pratt (1791-1842), secretary of the B&PRR.
          • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1834 August. Folder 5 (MSN/EA 1506-5).
            5 letters.
            Incoming correspondence to Woolsey, Pratt, Nichols, and Charles H. Russell.
            • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1834 September. Folder 6 (MSN/EA 1506-6).
              6 letters.
              Incoming correspondence and Pratt.
              • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1834 October-December. Folder 7 (MSN/EA 1506-7).
                4 letters.
                Incoming correspondence to Nichols.
                • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1835 January-Febraury. Folder 8 (MSN/EA 1506-8).
                  6 letters.
                  Incoming correspondence to Nichols and John F. Loring, treasurer of the B&PRR.
                  • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1835 March-April. Folder 9 (MSN/EA 1506-9).
                    6 letters.
                    Incoming correspondence to Nichols and John Pickering (1777-1846), Boston city solicitor from 1827 to 1846..
                    • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1835 May-September. Folder 10 (MSN/EA 1506-10).
                      5 letters.
                      Incoming correspondence to Woolsey, Nichols and Pickering.
                      • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1836. Folder 11 (MSN/EA 1506-11).
                        4 letters.
                        Incoming correspondence to William Otis (1813-1839), an inventor of the steam shovel, and Pratt.
                        • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1837. Folder 12 (MSN/EA 1506-12).
                          4 letters.
                          Incoming correspondence to Pratt and Woolsey. Includes a letter from Elihu Chauncey (1779-1847), the first president of the Reading Railroad.
                          • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1838. Folder 13 (MSN/EA 1506-13).
                            1 letter.
                            Incoming correspondence to Pratt.
                            • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1839 August-September. Folder 14 (MSN/EA 1506-14).
                              4 letters.
                              Incoming correspondence to Pratt.
                              • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1839 October. Folder 15 (MSN/EA 1506-15).
                                3 letters.
                                Incoming correspondence to Pratt.
                                • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1839 November-December. Folder 16 (MSN/EA 1506-16).
                                  5 letters.
                                  Incoming correspondence to Pratt. Includes a printed list of persons with the privilege of free passage.
                                  • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1840. Folder 17 (MSN/EA 1506-17).
                                    5 letters.
                                    Incoming correspondence to Pratt.
                                    • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1841 January-July. Folder 18 (MSN/EA 1506-18).
                                      6 letters.
                                      Incoming correspondence to Henry Dalton, treasurer of the B&PRR, and Pratt
                                      • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1841 August. Folder 19 (MSN/EA 1506-19).
                                        7 letters.
                                        Incoming correspondence to Dalton.
                                        • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1841 September-December. Folder 20 (MSN/EA 1506-20).
                                          7 letters.
                                          Incoming correspondence to Dalton.
                                          • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1842 January-Febuary. Folder 21 (MSN/EA 1506-21).
                                            7 letters.
                                            Incoming correspondence to Dalton.
                                            • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1842 March. Folder 22 (MSN/EA 1506-22).
                                              6 letters.
                                              Incoming correspondence to Dalton.
                                              • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1842 March. Folder 23 (MSN/EA 1506-23).
                                                6 letters.
                                                Incoming correspondence to Dalton.
                                                • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1842 April-November. Folder 24 (MSN/EA 1506-24).
                                                  4 letters.
                                                  Incoming correspondence to Dalton and John Barstow (1791-1864), a member of the board of directors of the B&PRR and the second president of the Providence & Worcester Railroad.
                                                  • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1843. Folder 25 (MSN/EA 1506-25).
                                                    3 letters.
                                                    Incoming correspondence to Dalton and Barstow.
                                                    • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1844. Folder 26 (MSN/EA 1506-26).
                                                      3 letters.
                                                      Incoming correspondence to Barstow.
                                                      • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1845. Folder 27 (MSN/EA 1506-27).
                                                        1 letter.
                                                        Incoming correspondence to Jonathan Adams.
                                                        • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1846. Folder 28 (MSN/EA 1506-28).
                                                          5 letters.
                                                          Incoming correspondence to Barstow, Dalton or Pratt.
                                                          • Correspondence. Cape Cod Branch Railroad, 1847. Folder 29 (MSN/EA 1506-29).
                                                            1 letter.
                                                            Letter between officers of the Cape Cod Branch Railroad (1847-53).
                                                            • Correspondence. Miscellaneous, 1848. Folder 30 (MSN/EA 1506-30).
                                                              2 letters.
                                                              Correspondence re the Cape Cod Branch and Taunton Branch Railroads.
                                                              • Correspondence. Miscellaneous, 1850 June-October. Folder 31 (MSN/EA 1506-31).
                                                                3 letters.
                                                                Correspondence re the B&PRR and the Taunton Branch Railroad.
                                                                • Correspondence. Taunton Branch Railroad, 1850. Folder 32 (MSN/EA 1506-32).
                                                                  6 letters.
                                                                  Incoming correspondence to Albert E. Swasey and William Crocker of the Taunton Branch Railroad.
                                                                  • Correspondence. Taunton Branch Railroad, 1851 January-April. Folder 33 (MSN/EA 1506-33).
                                                                    5 letters.
                                                                    Incoming correspondence to Swasey.
                                                                    • Correspondence. Taunton Branch Railroad, 1851 May-June. Folder 34 (MSN/EA 1506-34).
                                                                      5 letters.
                                                                      Incoming correspondence to Crocker and Swasey.
                                                                      • Correspondence. Taunton Branch Railroad, 1851 July-December. Folder 35 (MSN/EA 1506-35).
                                                                        4 letters.
                                                                        Incoming correspondence to Crocker and Swasey.
                                                                        • Correspondence. Taunton Branch Railroad, 1852 January-March. Folder 36 (MSN/EA 1506-36).
                                                                          5 letters.
                                                                          Incoming correspondence to Swasey.
                                                                          • Correspondence. Miscellaneous, 1852 May-August. Folder 37 (MSN/EA 1506-37).
                                                                            5 letters.
                                                                            Incoming correspondence to Dalton or Swasey.
                                                                            • Correspondence. Taunton Branch Railroad, 1854. Folder 38 (MSN/EA 1506-38).
                                                                              5 letters.
                                                                              Incoming correspondence to Swasey.
                                                                              • Correspondence. Miscellaneous, 1855 January-August. Folder 39 (MSN/EA 1506-39).
                                                                                5 letters.
                                                                                Incoming correspondence to Swasey and Joseph Grinnell (1788-1885), president of the B&PRR from 1840 to 1846 and currently president of the New Bedford Railroad.
                                                                                • Correspondence. Taunton Branch Railroad, 1855 October. Folder 40 (MSN/EA 1506-40).
                                                                                  3 letters.
                                                                                  Incoming correspondence to Swasey.
                                                                                  • Correspondence. Taunton Branch Railroad, 1855 November-December. Folder 41 (MSN/EA 1506-41).
                                                                                    5 letters.
                                                                                    Incoming correspondence to Swasey.
                                                                                    • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1857. Folder 42 (MSN/EA 1506-42).
                                                                                      2 letters.
                                                                                      Incoming correspondence to Dalton.
                                                                                      • Correspondence. Miscellaneous, 1858. Folder 43 (MSN/EA 1506-43).
                                                                                        6 letters.
                                                                                        Incoming correspondence to Dalton and Swasey.
                                                                                        • Correspondence. Miscellaneous, 1859. Folder 44 (MSN/EA 1506-44).
                                                                                          2 letters; 1 postal card.
                                                                                          • Correspondence. Miscellaneous, 1863. Folder 45 (MSN/EA 1506-45).
                                                                                            1 letter.
                                                                                            • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1874. Folder 46 (MSN/EA 1506-46).
                                                                                              1 letter with envelope.
                                                                                              Incoming letter to John Henry Clifford (1809-1876), president of the B&PRR from 1869 to 1873 and former governor of Massachusetts.
                                                                                              • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1875. Folder 47 (MSN/EA 1506-47).
                                                                                                3 letters with envelopes.
                                                                                                Incoming correspondence to Clifford.
                                                                                                • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1877. Folder 48 (MSN/EA 1506-48).
                                                                                                  1 letter with envelope.
                                                                                                  Incoming correspondence to Henry Austin Whitney (1826-1889), president of the B&PRR from 1876 to 1879.
                                                                                                  • Miscellaneous correspondence, 1876-1877. Folder 49 (MSN/EA 1506-49).
                                                                                                    2 postal cards.
                                                                                                    • Miscellaneous correspondence, 1878-1879. Folder 50 (MSN/EA 1506-50).
                                                                                                      2 postal cards; 1 envelope.
                                                                                                      Incoming correspondence to Grinell and John Washburn, treasurer of the Old Colony Railroad
                                                                                                      • Correspondence. Old Colony Railroad, 1880. Folder 51 (MSN/EA 1506-51).
                                                                                                        4 postal cards.
                                                                                                        Incoming correspondence to Washburn.
                                                                                                        • Correspondence. Old Colony Railroad, 1881. Folder 52 (MSN/EA 1506-52).
                                                                                                          8 postal cards.
                                                                                                          Incoming correspondence to Washburn.
                                                                                                          • Correspondence. Old Colony Railroad, 1882. Folder 53 (MSN/EA 1506-53).
                                                                                                            9 postal cards; 1 envelope.
                                                                                                            Incoming correspondence to Washburn.
                                                                                                            • Correspondence. Boston & Providence Railroad Corporation, 1883. Folder 54 (MSN/EA 1506-54).
                                                                                                              2 postal cards.
                                                                                                              Incoming correspondence to Washburn.
                                                                                                              • Correspondence. Old Colony Railroad, 1884. Folder 55 (MSN/EA 1506-55).
                                                                                                                8 postal cards.
                                                                                                                Incoming correspondence to Washburn.
                                                                                                                • Correspondence. Old Colony Railroad, 1885-1889. Folder 56 (MSN/EA 1506-56).
                                                                                                                  5 postcards.
                                                                                                                  Incoming correspondence to Washburn.
                                                                                                                  • Correspondence. Old Colony Railroad, 1890 January-June. Folder 57 (MSN/EA 1506-57).
                                                                                                                    11 postal cards.
                                                                                                                    Incoming correspondence to Washburn.
                                                                                                                    • Correspondence. Old Colony Railroad, 1890 July. Folder 58 (MSN/EA 1506-58).
                                                                                                                      7 postal cards.
                                                                                                                      Incoming correspondence to Washburn.
                                                                                                                      • Correspondence. Old Colony Railroad, 1890 July-December. Folder 59 (MSN/EA 1506-59).
                                                                                                                        7 postcards.
                                                                                                                        Incoming correspondence to Washburn.
                                                                                                                        • Correspondence. Old Colony Railroad, 1891. Folder 60 (MSN/EA 1506-60).
                                                                                                                          3 postal cards.
                                                                                                                          Incoming correspondence.
                                                                                                                          • Miscellaneous correspondence, 1892 January-March. Folder 61 (MSN/EA 1506-61).
                                                                                                                            7 postal cards and 1 letter.
                                                                                                                            Correspondence re the Boston & Providence and Old Colony Railroads.
                                                                                                                            • Miscellaneous correspondence, 1892 August-December. Folder 62 (MSN/EA 1506-62).
                                                                                                                              6 postal cards.
                                                                                                                              Correspondence re the Boston & Providence and Old Colony Railroads.
                                                                                                                              • Correspondence and miscellaneous ephemera, 1893. Folder 63 (MSN/EA 1506-63).
                                                                                                                                7 items.
                                                                                                                                • Correspondence. Old Colony Railroad, 1894 January-September. Folder 64 (MSN/EA 1506-64).
                                                                                                                                  10 postal cards.
                                                                                                                                  Incoming correspondence to Washburn.
                                                                                                                                  • Correspondence and miscellaneous ephemera, 1894 October-December. Folder 65 (MSN/EA 1506-65).
                                                                                                                                    4 postal cards and 1 envelope.
                                                                                                                                    Correspondence re the Boston & Providence and Old Colony Railroads.
                                                                                                                                    • Correspondence. Old Colony Railroad, 1895. Folder 66 (MSN/EA 1506-66).
                                                                                                                                      2 postal cards.
                                                                                                                                      Incoming correspondence.
                                                                                                                                      • Correspondence and miscellaneous ephemera, 1897. Folder 67 (MSN/EA 1506-67).
                                                                                                                                        1 postal card and 2 envelopes.
                                                                                                                                        • Correspondence and miscellaneous ephemera, 1898. Folder 68 (MSN/EA 1506-68).
                                                                                                                                          3 items
                                                                                                                                          • Miscellaneous correspondence, 1899. Folder 69 (MSN/EA 1506-69).
                                                                                                                                            2 postal cards.
                                                                                                                                            • Miscellaneous correspondence, 1900. Folder 70 (MSN/EA 1506-70).
                                                                                                                                              9 postal cards.
                                                                                                                                              • Miscellaneous correspondence, 1901. Folder 71 (MSN/EA 1506-71).
                                                                                                                                                9 postal cards.
                                                                                                                                                • Correspondence and miscellaneous ephemera, 1902. Folder 72 (MSN/EA 1506-72).
                                                                                                                                                  6 postal cards; 2 envelopes.
                                                                                                                                                  Incomng correspondence to Old Colony Railroad.
                                                                                                                                                  • Correspondence and miscellaneous ephemera, 1903. Folder 73 (MSN/EA 1506-73).
                                                                                                                                                    7 postal cards; 3 envelopes.
                                                                                                                                                    Incomng correspondence to Old Colony Railroad.
                                                                                                                                                    • Correspondence and miscellaneous ephemera, 1905. Folder 74 (MSN/EA 1506-74).
                                                                                                                                                      4 items
                                                                                                                                                      • Miscellaneous correspondence, 1912. Folder 75 (MSN/EA 1506-75).
                                                                                                                                                        1 letter, with envelope.
                                                                                                                                                        • Miscellaneous ephemera, n.d. Folder 76 (MSN/EA 1506-76).
                                                                                                                                                          1 envelope.