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Chapter 19

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Road of the Century

Alvin F. Harlow

Creative Age Press, Inc.,
New York, 1947

The text is in the public domain.

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 p427  Acknowledgments

The New York Central Railroad management threw open all its records to me, giving me every facility to delve in its archives all over its system. Among those who perhaps did most to aid me in the compiling of material in other ways should be mentioned Carleton W. Meyer, then assistant to the president and himself the son of a noted historian; Clarence R. Dugan, public relations counsel as well as my own chief counsel; F. H. Woolfall, research assistant in the president's office, and William T. Gaynor of the advertising department, any of whom, at the merest hint of need, would leave no stone unturned to fill the want.

I spent the better part of a winter in the offices of that genial Irish gentleman, John M. O'Mahoney, secretary of the company, poring through directors', stockholders' and executive committee minutes of the 366 companies, living and dead, which were and are units of the New York Central system and whose papers still exist. I received from Mr. O'Mahoney and his assistants, Burton H. Sheffer, Walton D. Adriance, Francis A. Grogan and others, the kindliest of cooperation.

It would be invidious to speak of the degrees in which each gave assistance, for all were willing and gracious. I remember gratefully: the keen interest of Adam Haug, assistant comptroller, and his office force, including R. J. Ross, Howard Rose and James P. Mason, whose personal collection of old annual reports and other data was high loyal useful; C. W. Y. Currie, publicity director, with a portfolio of rich material to lend, and others of that and related departments, such as Henry Daugherty, Miss Ann Kuss and Hugh Devlin; the genial promptness with which David V. Hyde supplied me with any photograph I asked for; the painstaking explanations of L. C. James and C. H. Slattery of the tax department; the readiness of Bernard Slavin, Robert C. Schmid, Carl F. Graves and others to comply with any call for aid.

 p428  In New York Central offices elsewhere, the story was the same. K. A. Borntrager and F. E. Hall were most helpful in Albany. Gratitude is due to C. L. Jellinghaus, vice-president at Detroit, and his staff, including H. B. Goodwin, A. J. Smith, A. T. Hopkins, Robert Barrie, John J. Danhof, and especially, to O. R. Bromley, general freight agent, who gave us almost a whole day, driving us all over the vicinity to manufacturing districts and railroad locations, including Grosse Isle, where a clear picture of the crossing of the Canada Southern was obtained. At Cleveland, I talked with C. F. Wiegele, general manager, and had the patient personal attention of J. M. Kirkpatrick, Clyde A. Dobbins, Victor S. Kelling, R. K. Payne and M. G. Rehklau. William G. Bristow, land and tax agent at Columbus, kept me busy even on Memorial Day.

At Cincinnati, J. J. Brinkworth, vice-president and general manager, and his whole entourage were all eager to help, including J. A. Keegan, W. A. Gibbons, C. A. Radford, E. E. Exon, H. E. Coverston and Miss Donna J. Harkness, who organized a delightful reminiscence session of the office veterans one Saturday forenoon, including two who had retired, F. H. Wipper and W. T. Stevenson. G. L. Girard and J. W. Gillespie of Indianapolis furnished much information.

In closely related fields, I owe thanks to A. B. Newell, himself son of a former great Lake Shore president, president of the Toledo Terminal Company, to Col. Robert S. Henry of the Association of American Railroads, to my friend of many years' standing, Author Frank P. Donovan, Jr., to Edward J. Dudley and Leonard Fairlee of the American Locomotive Company at Schenectady, William P. Kelly of Cleveland, and to Thomas V. Flannery, railroad antiquarian of Albany, who, in an interesting afternoon, showed me what I had never expected to see, a part of the old grade of the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad.

Equally essential on our research trip were the others, mostly passenger agents, who, at a time of almost hopeless overcrowding of trains and hotels, made reservations of both kinds for us and more than once saved us from being thrown into the street. These were Bill Gaynor in New York; T. R. Ruth in Albany; W. E. Frackelton in Detroit; Louis A. Schroeder in Cleveland; J. T. Hays in Columbus; Arthur C. Thompson in Cincinnati and Owen S. Richardson in Indianapolis.

But not all information was obtained from railroad offices. I am, as so often I have been, deeply in the debt of Miss Dorothy  p429 C. Barck, librarian, and her staff of the New York Historical Society, to those old New York Public Library friends and collaborators through many years and many books, Sylvester Vigilante, Miss Dorothy P. Miller, Henry C. Strippel, J. F. Hettich and Louis Fox, and to Miss Edith C. Stone, librarian of the Railway Age. Elsewhere, there were Miss Edna L. Jacobson of the New York State Library at Albany, Mrs. E. Stones, librarian of the remarkable Burton Historical Collection in the Detroit Public Library, Mrs. Margaret D. Gidney, librarian of the Western Reserve Historical Society at Cleveland, Miss Helen M. Mills of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society at Columbus, Miss Gertrude Avey of the Cincinnati Public Library, Paul M. Angle and his co-workers in the Chicago Historical Society, and the staffs of the Cleveland and Indianapolis Public Libraries, and of the fine collection of the Indiana State Library at Indianapolis and the John Crerar Library at courage.

Finally, I must not fail to acknowledge the valuable collaboration of my wife, who accompanied me on the midwestern trip and toiled faithfully at research and note-taking, sometimes all through a Sunday, as well as cajoling librarians into lending her photographs and other materials where I might have failed.

Alvin F. Harlow

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