Archives Wish List

Like our rail car collection, the contents of our archives also reflect our focused interest in the railroads of Southern California . The Museum’s Collection Policy defines five focus companies, the major railroads and transit companies that served Southern California: the Pacific Electric, Los Angeles Railway, Santa Fe , Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads, as well as predecessor and related companies.

The Museum actively seeks photographs, records, drawings, books, timetables, advertisements and ephemeral materials from our focus companies. Of particular interest are items pertaining to operations in Southern California. Contact the Curations Division Manager for additional details.

We also have an ongoing interest in primary materials, such as the following periodicals, from the railroad industry. We also have duplicates available for trade.

Periodicals Wish List

Company Publications
Pacific Electric Magazine
Southern Pacific Bulletin
LA Railway “Two Bells” Magazine
Union Pacific Magazine
Santa Fe Magazine
Transit Topics (San Diego Electric Railway)
“Az-U-Ride” and “PERyScope” pamphlets

Transit Industry
Street Railway Journal 1884-1908
Electric Traction Weekly 1906-1912
Electric Railway Journal 1908-31
AERA Journal 1912-32
Transit Journal 1932-42
Brill Magazine
Mass Transportation 1935-59

Mainline Railways
Railway Master Mechanic
Railway Locomotives & Cars
Railway Electrical Engineer
Railway Gazette, Railway Age Gazette
Railway Mechanical Engineer
Railway Age
Railway Age Magazine (pre 1950)
Railway Track & Structures

Materials we do not collect:
Bus, Airline and Steamship materials* (excepting subsidiary operations of PE and LARy)
Model railroad equipment* (excepting certain scale models relevant to our collecting focus)
Post-1972 timetables
Non-railroad antiques
Post-1950 newspaper clippings
Non-Railroad books & magazines

Due to space constraints, we do not need loose railfan and model railroad magazines. We do maintain a complete set, but in general do not seek additional copies.

Donating Your Collection

The Museum’s collections are almost entirely the result of individual gifts during its more than 55 years of existence. Our archives are located at our main site in Perris, California, along with our large collection of historic railcars and locomotives. As the number of collections placed in the Museum’s care has grown, we’ve constructed a new archives building to better preserve these collections and to make them more accessible.

The Museum’s Collection Policy defines five focus companies, the major railroads and transit companies that served Southern California: the Pacific Electric, Los Angeles Railway, Santa Fe , Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads, as well as predecessor and related companies. We specialize in materials relating to the Southern California operations of these companies, with our largest holdings being materials from the Red Cars of the Pacific Electric and the Yellow Cars of the Los Angeles Railway.

If you have materials that you think might be a good fit with our collection, please contact us. You spent a lifetime assembling your collection, and it deserves a home where it will be appreciated and shared with the world. Too often heirs have no idea how to deal with these types of collections, and all too often they end up scattered without recognition of their value as a whole, or even disposed of without any understanding of their importance.

Our archives are also a major source of information for the restoration of our historic collection of railcars and locomotives, and so your materials may even contain that vital piece of information we need to complete one of our restoration or exhibit projects.

Your donation may also provide a valuable tax deduction, and we encourage you to speak to your tax advisor about the benefits of a donation to the Museum archives. If you have any questions about how the archives can serve as a future home for your collection please contact the Education and Exhibits Chair.

If you are contemplating future gifts of collections, estate planning, or naming the Museum in your will as the ultimate beneficiary of your living legacy, you are encouraged to contact the Archives Manager to determine the Museum’s extent of interest in the items that you have.