• IdentificationIC
  • TitleInventory of the Illinois Central Railroad Company Archives, 1831-1984, , bulk bulk 1851-1970 IC
  • PublisherThe Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts
  • RepositoryThe Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts
  • Physical Description1020.0 linear feet
  • Date
    • Bulk, 1851-1970
    • 1831-1984
  • Location4a 28-32
  • AbstractThe Archives of the Illinois Central Railroad Company document the activities of the Company and its subsidiary lines and companies from before its charter on Feb. 10, 1851, through and a bit beyond 1972, when the line merged with the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad to become Illinois Central Gulf Railroad. The collection includes correspondence of administrators and staff, minutes, reports and legal documents, financial records, stock information, historical material, maps, blueprints, and photographs.
  • OriginationIllinois Central Railroad Company.

The bulk of the collection (ca. 1851-1906) was placed at the Newberry Library on deposit by the Illinois Central Railroad Company in July, 1943. Additions were made to the collection around 1990 and 1997 (specifically Papers Accompanying Board Minutes, papers relating to the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio RR and its subsidiary companies, and other miscellaneous material). The whole of the collection was formally gifted to the Newberry Library on March 20, 1995.

The Illinois Central Railroad Company Archives are open for research; they are available a box at a time in the Special Collections Reading Room (Priority III).

The Illinois Central Railroad Company Archives are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Illinois Central Railroad Company Archives, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Alison Hinderliter, Megan Vandehey, and Brian Reis, 2002.

With origins dating from an 1830s Illinois-sponsored program of internal improvements, the Illinois Central Railroad (IC), based in Chicago, was chartered in 1851 to take advantage of the Federal Land Grant Act of 1850 and build a north-south line in Illinois from Chicago to Cairo. In advertising and selling lands along its route, the IC was a catalyst for growth in the central and southern regions of Illinois, attracting thousands of settlers and laying the foundations for agricultural, industrial, and urban development. The company had a significant impact on the growth of Chicago and the development of its lakeshore. Expanding west to Iowa and into the southern states, the IC became the primary passenger and freight link between the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico.

The collection documents the company's history with correspondence, minutes, reports, log books, financial information, stock documents, maps, blueprints, sketches, ephemeral material, and photographs. Development of the railroad in downstate Illinois and in Mississippi (and some other Southern states, specifically Louisiana) is especially well-documented, although there is also significant material relating to Chicago and Iowa.

  • Names
    • Illinois Central Railroad Company -- History -- Sources.
    • Illinois Central Railroad Company -- Pictorial works.
    • World's Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.).
  • Subject
    • Advertising -- Transportation -- United States -- History
    • Manuscripts, American -- Illinois -- Chicago
    • Railroads
    • Railroads -- United States -- Accidents
    • Railroads -- United States -- Branch lines -- History
    • Railroads -- United States -- Consolidation -- History
    • Railroads -- United States -- Design and construction
    • Railroads -- United States -- Electrification
    • Railroads -- United States -- Equipment and supplies -- History
    • Railroads -- United States -- Fares
    • Railroads -- United States -- History
    • Railroads -- United States -- Maintenance and repair
    • Railroads -- United States -- Management -- History
    • Railroads -- United States -- Maps
    • Railroads -- United States -- Mergers
    • Railroads -- United States -- Rates
    • Railroads -- United States -- Right of way
    • Railroads -- United States -- Tickets
    • Railroads -- United States -- Timetables
  • Geographic Coverage
    • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Manuscripts
    • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Transportation