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Railroad Stock & Bond Certificate Collection

Identifier: M348

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of more than one hundred seventy stock and bond certificates issued from the mid 1800's to the early 1900's by various railroad companies throughout the North Eastern and Mid-Western United States. A few bond certificates issued by the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are also present. Many of the documents are decoratively and intricately illustrated. Some display images of nature, trains, lumber work, and railroad structures, and nearly all contain vital information about the companies they represent. Most of the stock certificates reveal such information as capital shares of the company, price per share, and date and location of incorporation. The bond certificates similarly agree to a date of repayment and guarantee a specific rate of interest. Of particular interest is a bond certificate of the Michigan Central Railroad Company signed by transportation entrepreneur Cornelius Vanderbilt.


  • Creation: circa mid 1800s-circa early 1900s

Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical / Historical

n the early nineteenth century the United States turned to the railroad to fulfill its need for transportation. In 1828 two railroad companies began construction of the first U.S. railroads, and once completed, a line from Charleston, South Carolina to just short of Augusta, Georgia, spanned one hundred thirty-six miles, and a line from Baltimore to interior Maryland spanned thirteen miles.

During the railroad's developmental era, 1830-1843, needed changes in railroad technology occurred including the development of steel rails, and the use of cross ties, which maintained a rigid gauge under the multi-ton trains. By 1843 some three thousand miles of track were constructed in the United States. From this time onward railroad companies became more interested in building railroad networks, and planning a transcontinental railroad. By 1865 thirty-five thousand miles of railroad had been constructed in the nation, and by 1880 the total had grown to ninety-three thousand miles. During the late nineteenth century railroad's many technological improvements; such as making the English gauge standard for all roads, developing standard time zones, and building larger engines with larger payloads, resulted in a decline in freight rates and assisted a booming industrial economy. The nation's freight movements of ten billion ton-miles in 1865 had increased to three hundred sixty-six billion ton-miles by 1917. By satisfying the United States' need for transportation the railroad had played a major role in the nation's industrialization, and her current economic strength.


.50 Cubic Feet (MC1/D8)

Language of Materials



Donated by Mr. Kenneth W. Rendell.

Related Materials

M169 Railroad Collection, 1913-1937

Railroad Stock & Bond Certificate Collection
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001