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To celebrate its centennial in 1955, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad hired Newberry President and Librarian Stanley Pargellis and newspaperman and historian Lloyd Lewis to edit a book documenting the social and economic impact of the railroad. The resulting Granger Country: A Pictorial Social History of the Burlington Railroad (1949) was heavily illustrated with historical materials and contemporary photographs taken by two nationally recognized photographers, Esther Bubley and Russell Lee. Their photographs tell the Burlington story through images of trains, stations, rails, travelers, and workers.
Three thousand negative images shot by Bubley and Lee were discovered in the Newberry Library's unprocessed 20th century CB&Q archives about ten years ago. Except for the few photographs in Granger Country, the images have never been published.
This digital collection contains a selection of these unique photographs, focusing on Illinois scenes, the railroad, and its workers. The images were created from the original black and white negatives. Photograph titles were supplied from Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company Granger project scrapbook captions. The names of individuals and exact locations are often lacking and we encourage anyone with additional information to contact the library.
Daily Life Along the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad is part of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company Archives held at the Newberry Library. The CB&Q Archives (ca. 5,000 cubic feet) mainly document the 19th-century operations of the Burlington and its component roads. Beyond their significance for the study of nineteenth century railroad history and labor history, the archives are a relatively unexplored and valuable resource for those interested in topics related to the social and economic development of the region served by the CB&Q.
If you have any questions regarding this collection, please contact a Reference Librarian or call the Library's Reference Desk at (312) 255-3506.
This project was funded by a grant awarded by the Illinois State Library (ISL), a Department of the Office of the Secretary of State, using funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), under the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).