Sunday, October 2, 2016

Railway Biographies of 1901 with a Canadian Connection

My brother recently purchased this rich artifact for me. Here are few short professional biographies with a Canadian connection. Some prominent figures have been chosen, and others were selected at random.

To help readers place these people in their era, some images of their roads, at about the same point in history, are included.

There are many historical figures associated with railways whom you will not find in this directory. One filter to pass through was actually working 'in railway service'. Explorers, surveyors, contractors ... and some officers ... are not listed. Some of the last may not have responded to Railway Age's request for biographical information ... if that was how the database was built.

If you consider the explosive development of railways and their technology in North America between 1860 and 1900 ... this reference might compare to a LinkedIn site for IT professionals: programmers, game developers, system administrators, security experts, telecom company executives, and so on. 

... It would include IT professionals from the proliferation of the personal computer, through to the development of the networked server farms of 'The Cloud'. But, unlike LinkedIn, this book doesn't pester you on a daily basis to finger new contacts for it.

This artifact shows that there are some differences between the railways of 1900 and professional advancement today. Back then, one could be employed with a low level of skill or experience and advance through a combination of apprenticeship, displayed competence and self-study to reach the higher ranks within a company.

These selections are in no particular order ...

Hanna's portrait was taken about 20 years after the biography, above, was written.
from: Trains of Recollection; Hanna/Arthur Hawkes; 1924; Macmillan.

Kingston Mills on the Grand Trunk Railway, circa 1900.
Kingston Mills on the Grand Trunk Railway circa 1900. Postcard mailed Kingston to England in 1910.

from: The Imperial Highway; 1900; CPR.

Below is the Oriental Limited on the Great Northern circa 1904.
from: Lines West; Charles R Wood;; 1967; Superior Publishing.

Depot Harbor circa 1904 on the Canada Atlantic.
from: A Way to the West; Allan Bell; 1991; Privately Published

If this type of reference is of interest to you, a few editions of this publication are available at . This 1901 version may have been the last edition published.