Hagley Library Adds Harwood Railroad Collection of Photographs

Hagley Library has acquired the Herbert Harwood Jr. Railroad and Transportation Collection of photographic negatives. Comprising nearly 150,000 images covering all of the twentieth century, the collection includes Harwood’s own work as a railroad photographer as well as the work of others. Among the collection are photographs from many notable photographers active in the 1930s and ‘40s and well as the work of his father-in-law, George M. Beischer, who served as the chief mechanical officer for several railroads, including Amtrak.
Harwood began taking photographs as a teenager in Washington DC in the 1940s. After earning a degree in history at Princeton, he took a job for the Chesapeake & Ohio. “I knew the railroad industry was dying, but I didn’t care,” he told The Baltimore Sun in 1996. “I just wanted a job in the railroad.” At the time of his retirement, he worked as chief administrative officer in the commercial department for the Chessie System, a holding company that included the C&O and Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
In addition to his work as a photographer and collector, Harwood is a prolific author and railroad historian with seventeen books and many magazine articles to his credit. He published his first book in 1969. His most recent work titled The Railroad That Never Was is about the history of the never-completed late nineteeth century rail line that later became the foundation for Pennsylvania Turnpike. 
Hagley is grateful to Mr. Harwood for donating his important collection here. We look forward to making it available to railroad researchers for many years to come. 
Photo Credit: The Aerotrain in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1956 (Photo by Herbert H. Harwood Jr.)