L.P. Allen Collection of Railroad Labor Payrolls

Collection Number: 5483

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library

This collection was processed with the help of generous funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

L.P. Allen Collection of Railroad Labor Payrolls, 1839-1890
Collection Number:
L. P. Allen
0.8 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Records (documents).
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Payroll and financial records of historic Massachusetts and Rhode Island railroads.
Collection material in English


The Old Colony Railroad [OC] was a major railway system that served southeastern Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island in the 19th century. Initially started to connect Boston with Plymouth, from which it took its name, the OC quickly expanded through a series of mergers with and acquisitions of other established railroads. By 1893, the OC ran over 617 miles of track servicing the Boston metropolitan area, branching out to both industrial and population centers, including Providence, Rhode Island; Newport, Rhode Island; Lowell, Massachusetts; Cape Cod; the South Shore of Massachusetts; New Bedford; Fall River; Fitchburg; and Martha's Vineyard. It even acquired the oldest railroad in the United States, the Granite Railway, in 1870.
In 1893, the OC was purchased by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad and was operated as the "Old Colony Division." Many of these lines are still in use today by Amtrak and the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.


Inclusive date range: 1839-1890
Bulk dates: 1845-1888
This collection consists of the financial records such as payrolls, stock certificates, cancelled checks, payments received, and paid receipts, from historic railroads in the Massachusetts and Rhode Island areas around Boston and Providence. The records come from the Old Colony Railroad and its predecessor railroads. They were collected by L. P. Allen of Boston, Massachusetts and donated to the Kheel Center in 1975.
These records are an excellent resource for the study of early railroad development in North America. The various financial data found in this collection amply document the types of supplies, and their cost, which were used to construct these early railroads. Invoices include supplies like sperm whale oil, as well as coal and pig iron. The records also show how railroads initially made the majority of their profit off of passenger travel, such as in the 1845 financial reports, in which the revenue from passenger traffic is roughly three time greater than that for freight traffic. The financial statements from the second half of the 19th Century show the reverse, demonstrating the changing nature of the railroading business. The freight and passenger balances from 1888 reflect this change. Additionally, the greater scope of the business is shown by these records as well. The invoices from the early and mid-19th Century are records of business done on a local and regional scale. By 1888, the invoices and accounts paid include businesses from all over the continental United States, illustrating how quickly the railroads were able to span distances and communities that were unimaginable just fifty years previous.

Allen, L. P.
Boston and Providence Rail Road and Transportation Company.
Old Colony Railroad.
Boston, Clinton, Fitchburg and New Bedford Railroad
South Shore Railroad
Framingham and Lowell Railroad
Cape Cod Railroad
Providence, Warren and Bristol Railroad
Boston and Lowell Railroad
Boston and Albany Railroad.
Granite Railway.

Railroads -- Massachusetts -- History.
Railroads -- Rhode Island -- History.
Wages -- Railroads.

Form and Genre Terms:
Records (documents)


Access Restrictions:
Access to the collections in the Kheel Center is restricted. Please contact a reference archivist for access to these materials.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
L.P. Allen Collection of Railroad Labor Payrolls #5483. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
other railroad collections


Box 1 Folder 1 1841-1842
Box 1 Folder 2 1870-1879
Fitchburg and Worcester Railroad; Boston, Clinton and Fitchburg Railroad.
Box 1 Folder 3 1839
Box 1 Folder 4 1842
Box 1 Folder 5 1843
Box 1 Folder 6 1844
Box 1 Folder 7 1845
Box 1 Folder 8 1845
Box 1 Folder 9 1845
Roxbury, Massachusetts
Box 1 Folder 10 1845
Box 1 Folder 11 1854
Box 1 Folder 12 1854
Box 1 Folder 13 1855
For the month of November1855
Box 1 Folder 14 1857
Box 1 Folder 15 1857
Box 1 Folder 16 1857
Box 1 Folder 17 1858
Box 1 Folder 18 1858
Box 1 Folder 19 1858
Box 1 Folder 20 1872
Box 1 Folder 21 1873
Box 1 Folder 22 1874
Box 1 Folder 23 1875
Box 1 Folder 24 1875
Box 1 Folder 25 1875
Box 1 Folder 26 1876
Box 1 Folder 27 1876
Box 1 Folder 28 1876
Box 1 Folder 29 1877
Box 1 Folder 30 1877
Box 1 Folder 31 1878
Box 1 Folder 32 1878
Box 1 Folder 33 1878
Box 1 Folder 34 1879
Box 1 Folder 35 1879
Box 1 Folder 36 1883-1888
Loan for $50,000 issued February, 1883. Repaid with $1,000 interest August 1888.
Box 1 Folder 37 1886
Box 1 Folder 38 1886
Box 1 Folder 39 1886
Box 1 Folder 40 1887
Box 1 Folder 41 1888
Box 1 Folder 42 1888
$100,000.00 Loan
Box 1 Folder 43
Box 1 Folder 44
Box 2 Folder 1 1845
Includes payrolls for Stoughton Branch and Dedham Branch.
Box 2 Folder 2 1849
Box 2 Folder 3 1858
Box 2 Folder 4 1858
Box 2 Folder 5 1875
Box 2 Folder 6 1876
Box 2 Folder 7 1879
Box 2 Folder 8 1890
Box 2 Folder 9 1845
Box 2 Folder 10 1875