Summary Information
Title: Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern Railroad Company Records
Collection Number: DAR.1937.01
Creator: Byrne, John
Creator: Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern Railroad Company.

Collection Dates: 1901-1902
Extent: 0.25 linear feet (1 box)

Language: English

This collection consists of a single copybook containing approximately 650 outgoing letters from Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern Railroad Company President, John Byrne, in 1901 and 1902. The letters relate to the day to day business of hauling freight between New York and Pennsylvania, including internal communication with officers, as well as letters to clients such as the Shawmut Mining Company and representatives of other railroads including the Erie Railroad Company. Byrne also wrote to Congressman James Knox Polk Hall regarding bank lands. Digital reproductions of the collection are available online.

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Date Published:

August 2007

Finding aid prepared by Angela Manella.

The Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern Railroad Company, often referred to as the P. S. & N. or the Shawmut Line, ran freight and passenger service between Pennsylvania and New York from 1899 to 1947. The primary business of this line was to transport coal from the Shawmut Mining Company mines in Pennsylvania to Buffalo, Rochester, and New York City. Between 1899 and 1903, the P. S. & N. underwent a costly conversion from narrow to standard gauge track; this project and the decline of the coal industry in the twentieth century led to financial problems for the company. In 1945, the company was sold to Harry W. Findley of Carnegie, Pennsylvania.

Collection Scope and Content Notes

This collection consists of a single copybook containing approximately 650 outgoing letters from P. S. & N. President John Byrne. Between September 1901 and February 1902, Byrne wrote to officers of mining and rail companies, and to officials within his own corporation. Byrne corresponded with the vice president of the Shawmut Mining Company, F. E. Cartwright, and Frederick D. Underwood, president of the Erie Railroad Company. The volume also included letters to Henry S. Hastings, Byrne's auditor and assistant treasurer. Also present are a series of letters to Congressman James Knox Polk Hall, in which Byrne negotiates the price of bank lands in Elk County, Pennsylvania. The letters are bound in chronological order, and the volume contains an alphabetized, handwritten index of correspondents.

Subject Terms

  • Coal trade -- New York (State)
  • Coal trade -- Pennsylvania
  • Railroad companies -- Pennsylvania
  • Railroads -- New York (State)
  • Railroads -- Pennsylvania

Corporate Names
  • Erie Railroad Company.
  • Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern Railroad Company.
  • Shawmut Mining Company.

Personal Names
  • Byrne, John
  • Cartwright, F. E.
  • Hall, James K. P. (James Knox Polk), 1844-1915
  • Smith, Frank Sullivan
  • Underwood, Frederick D.

  • Correspondence
  • Letter books

  • Business and Industry
  • Transportation

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Gift to the Darlington Memorial Library in 1937.

Alternate Format:

Digital reproductions of this collection are available online.

Custodial History:

This collection was located in the Darlington Memorial Library in the University’s Cathedral of Learning until 2007 when it was moved to the ULS Archives Service Center for processing, storage, preservation and service. However, it remains in the custodianship of the ULS Special Collections Department.

Preferred Citation:

Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern Railroad Company Records, 1901-1902, DAR.1937.01, Darlington Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Angela Manella in August 2007.


No copyright restrictions.

Related Material:

Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern Railroad Company Papers, 1872-1960, #2161, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library

John W. Barriger III Papers, John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri, St. Louis


  • Pietrak, Paul. The Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern Railroad. North Boston, N.Y. : P. Pietrak, 1969.
  • Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern Railroad Historical Society. "The Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern Railroad Company." (available online)

Collection Inventory

Oversize 1
Volume 1 Copybook, September 16, 1901-February 27, 1902