Guide to the Monongahela Railway Company Photographs, 1903-1993 AIS.2009.07

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections
Monongahela Railway Company Photographs
Monongahela Railway Company.
Collection Number
9470.0 items (Photographic negatives, prints, and photographer's log books)
The Monongahela Railway Company Photographs is comprised of photographic negatives ranging in size from 3x5 to 8x10, associated photographer’s log books and indices, as well as a limited number of gelatin silver prints. Images date between 1903 and 1993. Little information about the photographers exists; however, Charles Keibler and G. H. Burnette have been identified as being photographers employed by the railroad.

Preferred Citation

Monongahela Railway Company Photographs, 1903-1993, AIS.2009.07, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

Return to Table of Contents »


The Monongahela Railroad (MRR) was a joint enterprise of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad (P&LE) and the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) and used for coal transportation throughout southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. In 1927, the Baltimore and Ohio Railway (B&O) purchased a share of the Monongahela Railroad. This made them a partner in the Monongahela Railroad until its sale and absorption into the Conrail Corporation (CR) in 1993. In 1915, while still owned by the PL&E, PRR, the Monongahela Railroad consolidated with the Buckhannon & Northern Railroad forming the Monongahela Railway Company (MRY).

Return to Table of Contents »


David E. Gratz served as superintendent of the Monongahela Railway Company from March 1, 1974 to October 1988. Prior to the railway’s merger with Conrail in May of 1993, he served as the Director of Real Estate and Labor Relations. He was instrumental during the restructuring process that separated the MRY from the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad (the remaining partners being the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad). In September of 1990, Gratz purchased the photographic library that documented the construction and operation of the railway and the accompanying indexes from the railroad. Gratz maintained and indexed the collection, which consisted of over 11,000 gelatin dry plate negatives, cellulose nitrate sheet film negatives, cellulose acetate sheet film negatives, and gelatin silver prints until its donation to the Archives Service Center at the University of Pittsburgh in 2009.

Return to Table of Contents »

Scope and Content Notes

The Monongahela Railway Company Photographs is comprised of photographic negatives, associated photographer’s log books and indices, and a limited number of gelatin silver prints. The photographs, spanning the dates 1903-1993, were produced on spec for the Monongahela Railroad and the succeeding Monongahela Railway Company (MRY). The collection documents company property, buildings, railroad bridge construction, railroad equipment, railroad employees, railroad accidents and incidents, flooding and flood damage, as well as the surrounding municipalities of southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia where the railroad operated. Some specific examples include the 1909 construction of the never-used Rush Run branch of the railroad, the 1912 construction of the New Geneva Bridge across the Monongahela River, and a thorough documentation of MRY’s railway signal towers in 1917.

Return to Table of Contents »


The items are currently arranged by the index number originally assigned to the image by the photographer. In most cases, this also represents chronological order. In earlier portions of the collection the numbers sometimes overlap. In this instance items are also arranged chronologically by year. The items were not separated and arranged by series; rather a conscious decision was made to provide potential series as subject headings and keywords.

Return to Table of Contents »

Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, May 2012

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us:

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.


The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or reproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.

Acquisition Information

Gift of David E. Gratz on December 3, 2009.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Katherine Barbera, Ian Baran, Erin Byrne, Ian McGlory, Tim Notari, Nickie Puit, Sadie Roosa, Steve Tehovnick, and Kate Wilson between Summer 2010-Spring 2012.

The negatives were originally stored in acidic sleeves that had become extremely brittle. In addition, most of the film negatives were not stored in individual sleeves; rather, they were stored in the same sleeve by under index number. All information recorded on the original sleeves has been transferred onto the new enclosures. Negatives that were originally stored together under one index number are now denoted with sequential decimal numbers. Once resleeved, items were boxed into clamshell negative storage boxes. Negatives have been stored separately according to format.

Return to Table of Contents »

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Buckhannon and Northern Railroad Company.
  • Chicago and North Western Railway Company.
  • Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railway Company.
  • Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Dayton Railroad Company.
  • Connellsville and Monongahela Railway Company. Dunlap Creek Junction.
  • Connellsville and Monongahela Railway Company.
  • Crucible Coal Company.
  • Monongahela Railroad.
  • Monongahela Railway Company. Big Meadow Run Yard.
  • Monongahela Railway Company. Brownsville Junction.
  • Monongahela Railway Company. Brownsville Station.
  • Monongahela Railway Company. Jacobs Ferry Station.
  • Monongahela Railway Company. Paw Paw Branch.
  • Monongahela Railway Company. Rush Run Branch.
  • Monongahela Railway Company. South Brownsville Yard and Shops.
  • Monongahela Railway Company.
  • New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company.
  • Pennsylvania Railroad. West Brownsville Yard.
  • Pennsylvania Railroad.
  • Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad Company.
  • Québec, Montréal, and Southern Railway.
  • Scotts Run Railway.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Adah (Pa.)
  • Allison (Pa.)
  • Antram Run (Pa.)
  • Arensburg (Pa.)
  • Beallsville (Pa.)
  • Brave (Pa.)
  • Brave Station (Pa.)
  • Brownsville (Pa.)
  • Connellsville (Pa.)
  • Dunkard (Pa. : Township)
  • East Millsboro (Pa.)
  • East Riverside (Pa.)
  • Fairmont (W. Va.)
  • Fairview (Marion County, W. Va.)
  • Fayette County (Pa.)
  • Fredericktown (Pa.)
  • Gallatin (Fayette County, Pa.)
  • Gates (Pa.)
  • Georges Creek (Fayette County, Pa.)
  • Grays Landing (Pa.)
  • Greene County (Pa.)
  • Huron (Pa.)
  • Isabella (Fayette County, Pa.)
  • La Belle (Pa.)
  • Leckrone (Pa.)
  • Luzerne (Fayette County, Pa. : Township)
  • Maidsville (W. Va.)
  • Marion County (W. Va.)
  • Martin (Fayette County, Pa.)
  • Masontown (Pa.)
  • Maxwell (Pa.)
  • Monongahela River Valley (W. Va. and Pa.)
  • Morgantown (W. Va.)
  • Mount Sterling (Pa.)
  • Nemacolin (Pa.)
  • New Geneva (Pa.)
  • New Geneva Railroad Bridge (New Geneva, Pa.)
  • New Water Street (Brownsville, Fayette County, Pa.)
  • Osage (W. Va.)
  • Palmer (Fayette County, Pa.)
  • Paw Paw (Marion County, W. Va.)
  • Republic (Pa.)
  • Rices Landing (Pa.)
  • Rivesville (W. Va.)
  • Ronco (Pa.)
  • Rush Run (Fayette County, Pa.)
  • Scotts Run (Monongalia County, W. Va.)
  • Sugar Run (Greene County, Pa.)
  • Washington County (Pa.)
  • Waynesburg (Pa.)
  • West Brownsville (Pa.)
  • Westmoreland County (Pa.)


  • Business and Industry
  • Coal mines and mining -- Photographs
  • Dwellings -- Photographs
  • Farm buildings -- Photographs
  • Industrial buildings -- Photographs
  • Industrial housing -- Photographs
  • Monongalia County (W. Va.)
  • Railroad accidents -- Photographs
  • Railroad bridges -- Photographs
  • Railroad stations -- Photographs
  • Railroad trains -- Photographs
  • Transportation

Return to Table of Contents »

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The collection contains negatives of varying sizes from 3x5 inches to 8x10. Negative formats include cellulose nitrate and cellulose acetate sheet film and gelatin dry plate negatives. The majority of the negatives are 5x7 inches. The use of sheet film negatives begins around 1912 and overlaps with the use of gelatin dry plates. The use of 8x10 gelatin dry plates begins in 1919 and also was used concurrently with sheet film. Gelatin dry plate use ceases in 1930 when photographers switched to the exclusive use of sheet film negatives. A small number of 5x7 gelatin silver prints also can be found in the collection.

Nearly all negatives are identified with an image number, date and location. Often, information regarding the content of the image is also provided. Some individual negatives have not been dated, and even fewer lack an individual index number. The original sleeves contained identifying information handwritten in pen or pencil, typed onto the sleeve, or indicated with a typed adhesive label. Some gelatin dry plates have the date etched into the emulsion side of image, or written on the glass side of the image. Information can also be found in the photographer’s log books and index sheets, though occasionally conflicting information is provided. Mr. Gratz also occasionally added contextual information to individual images. Little information about the photographers exists; however, Charles Keibler and G. H. Burnette have been identified as being photographers employed by the railroad.

Note that original image sleeves provide contextual information to further aid in identifying content. Images that have been resleeved also bear this information. The log books and indices also duplicate information found on the sleeves, sometimes providing further insight into the context of the image.

Return to Table of Contents »

Previous Citation

Monongahela Railway Company Photographs, 1903-1993, AIS.2009.07, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Return to Table of Contents »


Gratz, David E. and Terry Arbogast. The Monongahela Railway: It's History and Operation 1903-1993. M2FQ Publications, 2003.

Return to Table of Contents »