Delaware's Hagley Museum acquires Herbert H. Harwood Jr. photo collection

RELATED TOPICS: PHOTOGRAPHY
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Baltimore & Ohio Geeps help a pair of Mikados near Akron, Ohio, in the 1950s.
Herbert H. Harwood Jr., collection of Maryland Rail Heritage Library, Baltimore Streetcar Museum
WILMINGTON, Del. — The Hagley Museum & Library in Wilmington, Del., has has acquired the Herbert H. Harwood Jr. Railroad and Transportation Collection of photographic negatives. Comprising nearly 150,000 images covering all of the 20th 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.

A resident of Baltimore, Md., Harwood began taking photographs as a teenager in Washington, D.C., 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, the holding company that included the C&O and Baltimore & Ohio railroads and Western Maryland Railway.

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, Blue Ridge Trolley: the Hagerstown & Frederick Railway, in 1970. His works include numerous authoritative books covering the Baltimore & Ohio, interurban operations, Baltimore streetcars and light rail, and the Van Sweringen rail tycoons. His most recent work, The Railroad That Never Was, published in 2010, is a history of the South Pennsylvania Railroad, a never-completed late 19th-century rail line that later became the foundation for Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The Hagley Museum and Library collects, preserves, and interprets the unfolding history of American enterprise and industry, including the railroad industry. Hagley's collections document the interaction between business and the cultural, social, and political dimensions of our society from the late 18th century to the present. The library, opened in 1961, has assisted authors, historians, filmmakers, genealogists, hobbyists, and an assortment of content producers for over half a century, and is recognized as one of the preeminent institutions for the study of business history worldwide. More information is available at www.hagley.org .

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