Begin Main Content Area

Other Institutions Holding Baldwin Locomotive Works Records

Note: This information was compiled by Kurt Bell, railroad archivist, in 1997 and updated in 2010. Contact persons may have changed.

Researchers seeking records of the now defunct Baldwin Locomotive Works (1833-1956) have several institutions from which to choose. It must be noted that the majority of the BLW records and drawings were disposed of when locomotive production ceased in the mid-1950s at its Eddystone, PA plant, and its archives were subsequently destroyed. What little that exists today is the result of quick and random action on the part of former employees and enthusiasts, who in many cases singlehandedly rescued BLW items from the company's wastebaskets. Private collections also retain much BLW memorbilia, albeit widely scattered.

The following list does not claim to be complete, and should only serve as a guide to direct the individual in his search of those institutions which preserve extant BLW materials.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (website)

P.O. Box 15, Strasburg, PA 17579, (717) 687-8628, email Railroad Museum of PA

  • A formidable collector of BLW materials, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is home to the Baldwin Locomotive Works Negative Collection, which encompasses 13,000 negatives of steam, diesel, electric, battery, and fireless locomotives, as well as special events, buildings, non-railroad machinery and personalities associated with the company (catalog available).
  • Among the other holdings are approximately 7,000 4"X 7" data specification cards from the BLW Engineering Department files, negative log books, contact print files and a number of specialized photograph albums, all of which comprise the H.L. Broadbelt Collection.
  • A BLW board meeting book (1910), a set of Records of Recent Construction nos. 1-100, BLW engine roster logs, 4 vols, for construction nos. 1-76151 are housed here; also, a complete bound collection of Baldwin Locomotives, vols. 1-19 (1922-1951) and an index; various clippings, articles, photos, notes and other BLW empherma; BLW trade catalogs (incomplete, 1870s-1930s); BLW promotional leaflets (ca. 1930s-1950s).
  • In addition, the Matthew Gray Collection includes BLW mechanical and technical manuals for steam and diesel locomotives; a set of BLW General Practice books (copies); extensive internal correspondence (various departments, ca. 1930s-1960s); and printed items (advertising and internal business forms).
  • A microfilm copy of the original Builders Books (with construction numbers) from the Smithsonian is also on file.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania (website)


Manuscript Dept., 1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

  • The largest body of BLW papers in existence are housed at this location. The Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corp. Records, 1834-68, 175 vols. Business records; Samuel Matthews Vauclain Papers (1909-1931), 2,450 items, including correspondence, minutes, employees records, photos, etc. John Clayton Papers (1832-1940), 700 items. Includes letters from his wife, Anna Clayton, who was daughter of Matthias W. Baldwin, founder of the Baldwin Locomotive Works. The fourth collection is that of Wallace Rogers Lee, BLW sales agent in South America. Includes letterpress books, 1907-1910 (4 vols.) and notebooks, 1925-1932 (3 vols.).

DeGolyer Library (website)

Southern Methodist University, P.O. Box 396, Dallas, TX 75275 Contact: Cynthia Franco, Librarian

  • An impressive collection, the DeGolyer Library at S.M.U. houses a sizable BLW archives. Records include: Samuel M. Vauclain Collection (1882-1929), 27 vols. of notebooks (ca. 1888-1919), and internal company documents (ca. 1900-1929); BLW engineering data, 8,000 drawings and tracings (erecting, detail and foreign, 1870s-1950s, catalogs available), law books, extra order books, specification books (vols. 1-82), Records of Recent Construction (nos. 1-100), BLW engine registers (3 vols), nos. 1-60000 (1833-1926), and weight books, as well as sales order books (incomplete, late 1930s-1940s). Misc. archival material.

Pennsylvania State Archives

1681 North Sixth Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102-1106, email Kurt Bell, railroad archivist

  • The Pennsylvania State Archives, in its Manuscript Group 427, holds 345 cubic feet of Baldwin Locomotive Works and Baldwin-Hamilton Company records, including some 54,000 tracings, primarily of detail parts. There may be 60 to 80 erecting card drawings, but an accurate count is not possible at this time. Also counted among the holdings: BLW order books (1901-7); Records of Recent Construction (nos. 1-100), specifications, card record book (nos. 29-30, 32-40); original BLW classification books (n.d.).
  • NOTE: Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg, and the Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, are both part of the same parent agency (the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission).

Hagley Museum & Library (website)

Manuscripts and Archives Dept., 29B Buck Road East, Greenville, DE 19B07 Contact: Chris Baer, Associate Curator of Manuscripts

  • Holdings include: William Liseter Austin Papers (1855-1932), who worked for BLW begining in 1B70 as a draftsman, promoted until he became president of the company (1910-1911). Includes sketchbooks, correspondence, clippings, short hand notes, and other records kept by this BLW executive; some BLW drawings (1870-1911); BLW photographs (152 items); Lukens Steel Co.: Orders from BLW (1877-1891); BLW correspondence in Reading Co. papers (1840s-1920s).

Smithsonian Institution, Museum of American History Archives (website)

12th & Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20560 Contact: Craig Orr, Archivist

  • Original Builders Book (with construction numbers). A microfilm copy is on deposit at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg.
  • Eight volumes of BLW order books (1854-1900);Construction Lists/Registers of Engines (9 vols., 1932-1956); four scrapbooks containing various clippings, and printed business forms (1870-1930); approximately 240 misc. BLW photographs (arranged by road name).

Stanford University (website)

Green Library, Special Collections, Stanford, CA 94305 Contact: Sarah Timby, Special Collections Specialist

  • Donated by E. Morton Gorsser of Menlo Park, CA in 1960, this small collection of BLW data (1854-1918) include: approximately 75 drawings, specifications books (1864-1869), BLW paint standards and color samples (lB75-1890), pattern index and shop/drafting room rules (19 items, 1870s-1910).

California State Railroad Museum (website)

111 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA 95B14 Contact: Cara Randall, Librarian

  • This exceptional facility has gathered some BLW materials in recent years, mostly from private collections. Items include: misc. BLW trade catalogs (various years); Records of Recent Construction (nos. 1-100; 1897-1920); and specification books on microfilm (from DeGolyer and Stanford).

Southeastern Louisiana University (website)

The Center for Regional Studies, P.O. Box 730, University Station, Hammond, LA 70402

  • The Charles W. Witbeck Collection contains some BLW records and company books, including Baldwin Locomotive Details (3 books); various other looseleaf notebooks for BLW and other builders; original BLW class and road record for compound locomotives (photocopy at DeGolyer); original BLW class and road record, single expansion locomotive, classes D, E, and F (photocopy at DeGolyer); microfilm of engine specifications (vols. 5-18, 1869-1892; original volumes and complete microfilm at DeGolyer).
  • A more complete list is available from The Center for Regional Studies.

Federal Archives Center (website)

Philadelphia, PA 19107

  • BLW bankruptcy records (1935-1938).

Office of Registrar of Wills (website)

City Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19107

  • Wills of BLW partners.

Newberry Library (website)

600 W. Walton St., Chicago, IL 60610

  • Misc. BLW ephemera.

Library of Congress (website)

Photos, Washington, D.C. 20540

  • Keystone View Co. photos of BLW (ca. 1905)

Contact people at the institutions receiving the gifts of Baldwin-Hamilton

Company records in September and October, 1991 (partially updated July 2010)

Austin-Western Dump Card records

Dr. Nicholas Honerkamp, Director
Jeffrey L. Brown Institute of Archeology
The University of Tennessee
615 McCallie Avenue
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(615) 755-4325

Hooven, Owens, Rentschler Company, General Machinery Corporation, Lima Hamilton Corporation and the Hamilton Division, Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation records

Ohio Historical Society
19B2 Velma Avenue
Columbus, OH 43211
(614) 297-2510

George Whitcomb Company, Whitcomb Locomotive Company and Sterling Machine Company records

Cara Randall, Librarian
California State Railroad Museum
III I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(914) 323-8075

Baldwin Locomotive Works, Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton Corporation, Baldwin Southwark Works records

Railroad Archivist
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Pennsylvania State Archives
1681 N. Sixth Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102-1106
(717) 787-5304