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Index to 101 Years of Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Official Minute Books and Records on 35 mm Microfilm 1849 to 1950 and C.E. Perkins Papers 1863-1907 Microfilm

Charlie Vlk
 

Fellow Railroad Researchers-

Please excuse the off-topic post but I need help on research:

I am hoping that somebody on one of the lists I participate in is a more
accomplished web researcher or perhaps an actual reference librarian that
has some tricks up their sleeve as I have hit a dead end looking for some
CB&Q-related microfilms.
The records were microfilmed in 1949 by the CB&Q, Newberry Library, State
Historical Society of Colorado, and the Denver Public Library and each of
the participants received a copy of the rolls of microfilm. They covered
CB&Q Board Meeting Minutes and other records that are currently in the
Newberry and in fragile condition. I have contacted the three institutions
involved and made some inquiries at the BNSF but nobody has any knowledge of
the whereabouts of any of the sets.

A couple of years ago I ran across an online detailed catalog description of
each of the 45 or so CB&Q microfilm rolls and an additional 15 or so on C.E.
Perkins papers 1863-1907 with call numbers in some online catalog of a
library or college library. AFAIK it was a simple Google search. I
somehow lost the link and cannot find it again after trying every
conceivable search term and variation thereof that I can think of. I am
hoping that the institution that took the time to transcribe the Index and
assign call numbers to the CB&Q and Perkins microfilms has the rolls in
their collection. I would like to obtain a copy of the films or pay to have
them digitized so that research could be done remotely without further
degrading valuable historical documents and having to travel to Chicago.

Any ideas on finding this website beyond the normal Google, Bing, etc.
search engines???

Thank you,
Charlie Vlk


Here is the print citation for the microfilm indexes. I have a hardcopy of
the mimeographed original index.

From the American Archivist review of the Indexes which appeared in the
Division of State Archives, State Historical Society of Colorado. Bulletin
No. (N. p. May, 1951. Pp. 14. Hectograph "The first index is a boon to
researchers seeking data on the CB&Q, the Colorado and Southern, and their
predecessor companies. It reveals the type of material available, the dates
covered and the microfilm roll numbers. The C. E. Perkins Papers
(restricted) and the secondary works receive the same clear treatment.
According to State Archivist Dolores C. Renze the microfilm work was done
over an eighteen months' period as a project for the benefit 64 THE AMERICAN
ARCHIVIST the State Historical Society of Colorado, the Western History the
Denver Public Library, the Newberry Library, and the railroad itselves. It
reflects the encouraging trend: to preserve and centralize records via
microfilming."

Bruce A. Metcalf
 

On 3/28/20 6:42 PM, Charlie Vlk wrote:

Please excuse the off-topic post but I need help on research:
I think that's mostly what we do here.


A couple of years ago I ran across an online detailed catalog
description of each of the 45 or so CB&Q microfilm rolls and an
additional 15 or so on C.E. Perkins papers 1863-1907 with call
numbers in some online catalog of a library or college library.
AFAIK it was a simple Google search. I somehow lost the link and
cannot find it again after trying every conceivable search term and
variation thereof that I can think of. ...
Any ideas on finding this website beyond the normal Google, Bing,
etc. search engines???
Try <http://www.worldcat.org/>. It's a union catalog of hundreds of large libraries, with an emphasis on university and research libraries. I've found it an invaluable for seeing who has what.

Cheers,
/ Bruce /

Charlie Vlk
 

Bruce-
Thanks. I tried Worldcat again following your suggestion and, while I came up with a many intriguing CB&Q references, even narrowing down the search to Microfilm the 101 Years or Board Meeting Notes did not come up. Nor did anything on Charles Elliot Perkins.
Charlie Vlk

-----Original Message-----
From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Bruce A. Metcalf
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2020 12:40 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Index to 101 Years of Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Official Minute Books and Records on 35 mm Microfilm 1849 to 1950 and C.E. Perkins Papers 1863-1907 Microfilm

On 3/28/20 6:42 PM, Charlie Vlk wrote:

Please excuse the off-topic post but I need help on research:
I think that's mostly what we do here.


A couple of years ago I ran across an online detailed catalog
description of each of the 45 or so CB&Q microfilm rolls and an
additional 15 or so on C.E. Perkins papers 1863-1907 with call numbers
in some online catalog of a library or college library.
AFAIK it was a simple Google search. I somehow lost the link and
cannot find it again after trying every conceivable search term and
variation thereof that I can think of. ...

Any ideas on finding this website beyond the normal Google, Bing, etc.
search engines???
Try <http://www.worldcat.org/>. It's a union catalog of hundreds of large libraries, with an emphasis on university and research libraries.
I've found it an invaluable for seeing who has what.

Cheers,
/ Bruce /

Tony Thompson
 

This topic reminds me of something that came to light when I was researching the PFE book and interviewing retirees. Several told me the same story: that at the beginning of World War II, the government urged western companies to microfilm critical records and store them remotely. The motivation being the possibility of Japanese incendiary attacks on the West Coast. Both SP and PFE did microfilm a lot of documents, specifically including car and locomotive drawings.
No one has ever been able to tell me what happened to that microfilm, for SP and PFE or for anyone. If it exists somewhere, it might fill some of the gaps we have in the historical record for those companies -- and maybe for others.

Tony Thompson
tony@...

Bob Webber
 

Well...one issue was the process itself, the materials just weren't meant to last forever - or rather, they were meant to, but they could not.  This is one reason I have been trying to find a service to transfer the film (movies & micro).

Another reason, somewhat associated, is that many people were under the (usually) mistaken notion that the media used was flammable, so tossed it, esp. once the emergency was over.  We had a standing order at several companies I worked at to toss any and all film over 5 years of age - X-rays, movies, what ever (of course, the X-rays weren't tossed, there was silver on them).

Yet another reason is change of management and/or mergers. Many railroads went through a change of management and direction in the 60s.  You had some that stayed true to the corporate heritage (for good or ill), others that wanted "all that old crap OUT!!"  With mergers, you'd have the actual winners of the merger (NOT always, or even USUALLY, the purchaser) come into the "enemy" camp and toss anything historical from the company that in one way or another, purchased the other.  So...you'd have some people from, oh I don't know, say SP come into Denver and station dumpsters down below the windows, and all manner of materials were simply tossed.  Same thing happened to the Wabash. Sae thing happened in airline mergers, software mergers, insurance mergers.  Vindictiveness and revenge all too often trumps (heh) the past.

And...from a railroad's point of view, retaining history of rail cars is not seen as a smart move.  Why?  We'll never use those again.  The only one who wants them are nerdy researchers and LAWYERS.  Don't believe me?  Look at the asbestos lawsuits.  We have lawyers calling at least once a month to get data on 80 year old rail cars, because there might be a dime in it for them.   Why take the chance?  What's that insulation material in that tank car?  No...you really don't want a record of that around. And who wants to separate wheat from chaff at that point?  Throw it ALL out.  Company records could be even worse.  Past legal issues get re-fought all the time.
 
Then there was simply cleaning.  A new manager would come into some department, say "get rid of that s**t!!"  He was given the job to glean up and garner space.  And they did it.  

Microfilm can be brittle, poorly packaged, poorly stored, stored incorrectly, etc.  And...one off its beneficial attributes became its biggest detriment.  Stuff smaller than a fist, is easy to lose, steal, throw out, over look, hide, "store (see hide)", etc.   Even in archives.  Even in well run archives. 

At 06:25 PM 3/30/2020, Tony Thompson wrote:
    This topic reminds me of something that came to light when I was researching the PFE book and interviewing retirees. Several told me the same story: that at the beginning of World War II, the government urged western companies to microfilm critical records and store them remotely.  The motivation being the possibility of Japanese incendiary attacks on the West Coast. Both SP and PFE did microfilm a lot of documents, specifically including car and locomotive drawings.
     No one has ever been able to tell me what happened to that microfilm, for SP and PFE or for anyone. If it exists somewhere, it might fill some of the gaps we have in the historical record for those companies -- and maybe for others.

Tony Thompson
tony@...




Bob Webber

John Larkin
 

It wasn't just a merger that triggered it.  Back in the late 70's the UP decided to clean out their old annex building NE of the HQs building.  They simply put gondolas on the service track and dumped everything out.  It's too long ago to remember much but I believe it was 4-5 stories tall.  Among the items thrown were boxes of 1930s era timetables.  A friend of mine happened to see it and loaded up a bunch for his collection and then passed one on to me - brand new condiition. 

In LA I bought a surplus filing cabinet and wound up with the original ink and linen drawings of some of the Las Vegas yard as well as other spots on the California Division (crew hotel, roundhouse drawings from LA, etc.).  I have them put away somewhere with the exception of two of the original drawings of the Pomona CA depot which I had framed and put on display.  I also wound up with old panel from the dispatcher's CTC board that was in LA.  No lights, but the original track patterns are preserved now.

It's amazing how much "stuff" is still around despite the best efforts of people to get rid of something that might have the taint of railroad history about it.  I'm glad I have what I was able to save.  Eventually I'm going to sell some of it because people willing to buy it are likely to preserve it and as I get older I have less time and use for some of the items.

John Larkin



On Monday, March 30, 2020, 7:52:51 PM CDT, Bob Webber <rgz17@...> wrote:


Well...one issue was the process itself, the materials just weren't meant to last forever - or rather, they were meant to, but they could not.  This is one reason I have been trying to find a service to transfer the film (movies & micro).

Another reason, somewhat associated, is that many people were under the (usually) mistaken notion that the media used was flammable, so tossed it, esp. once the emergency was over.  We had a standing order at several companies I worked at to toss any and all film over 5 years of age - X-rays, movies, what ever (of course, the X-rays weren't tossed, there was silver on them).

Yet another reason is change of management and/or mergers. Many railroads went through a change of management and direction in the 60s.  You had some that stayed true to the corporate heritage (for good or ill), others that wanted "all that old crap OUT!!"  With mergers, you'd have the actual winners of the merger (NOT always, or even USUALLY, the purchaser) come into the "enemy" camp and toss anything historical from the company that in one way or another, purchased the other.  So...you'd have some people from, oh I don't know, say SP come into Denver and station dumpsters down below the windows, and all manner of materials were simply tossed.  Same thing happened to the Wabash. Sae thing happened in airline mergers, software mergers, insurance mergers.  Vindictiveness and revenge all too often trumps (heh) the past.

And...from a railroad's point of view, retaining history of rail cars is not seen as a smart move.  Why?  We'll never use those again.  The only one who wants them are nerdy researchers and LAWYERS.  Don't believe me?  Look at the asbestos lawsuits.  We have lawyers calling at least once a month to get data on 80 year old rail cars, because there might be a dime in it for them.   Why take the chance?  What's that insulation material in that tank car?  No...you really don't want a record of that around. And who wants to separate wheat from chaff at that point?  Throw it ALL out.  Company records could be even worse.  Past legal issues get re-fought all the time.
 
Then there was simply cleaning.  A new manager would come into some department, say "get rid of that s**t!!"  He was given the job to glean up and garner space.  And they did it.  

Microfilm can be brittle, poorly packaged, poorly stored, stored incorrectly, etc.  And...one off its beneficial attributes became its biggest detriment.  Stuff smaller than a fist, is easy to lose, steal, throw out, over look, hide, "store (see hide)", etc.   Even in archives.  Even in well run archives. 

At 06:25 PM 3/30/2020, Tony Thompson wrote:
    This topic reminds me of something that came to light when I was researching the PFE book and interviewing retirees. Several told me the same story: that at the beginning of World War II, the government urged western companies to microfilm critical records and store them remotely.  The motivation being the possibility of Japanese incendiary attacks on the West Coast. Both SP and PFE did microfilm a lot of documents, specifically including car and locomotive drawings.
     No one has ever been able to tell me what happened to that microfilm, for SP and PFE or for anyone. If it exists somewhere, it might fill some of the gaps we have in the historical record for those companies -- and maybe for others.

Tony Thompson
tony@...




Bob Webber