Kuhn (Gene H.) Collection Inventory of the Gene H. Kuhn Collection MS 878 MS 878

Inventory of the Gene H. Kuhn Collection MS 878 MS 878


California State Railroad Museum Library & Archives

CSRM Library & Archives staff

California State Railroad Museum Library & Archives
MS 878
Gene H. Kuhn collection May 1885-1986
10.3 Linear Feet, 7 record cartons + 5 oversize boxes
Statewide Museum Collections Center: I2.212.R1 Boxes 1-3 I2.212. R2 Boxes 4-6 I2.212.R3 Boxes 7, OV 1, OV 2, OV 3 I2.212.R4 Boxes OV 4, OV 5
The Gene Kuhn collection includes records, maps, and photographs of railroads across the United States collected by Gene Kuhn, who worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad and Alaska Railroad in the 1970s and 1980s.

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has not been assigned to the California State Railroad Museum. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the CSRM Library & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the CSRM as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research by appointment. Contact Library Staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Gene H. Kuhn Collection, MS 878, California State Railroad Museum Library & Archives, Sacramento, California.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Gene Kuhn, 2020


Additional accruals are expected.

Biographical information

Gene Kuhn was born in Yuba City, California in November of 1946. Gene graduated from Yuba City High School and completed two years at Yuba College. During his high school years he worked at the Del Monte Cannery on Plumas Street south of Bridge Street. One of his jobs for Del Monte was driving a forklift loading trucks. Gene lived most of his entire life in Sutter County with about 9 years spent in Yuba City. He has watched Yuba City grow from a population of around 3,000 people in the late 1940's to over 50,000 today.

After his tour of duty in the Navy, Gene went to work for Pacific Gas & Electric. His main passion was to work for the Southern Pacific, and after 6 months with PG & E, Gene was hired by Southern Pacific in September of 1971 as a laborer at the SP's Sacramento General Shops, than became a locomotive machinist apprentice, and after 3 years as an apprentice he became a Journeyman Machinist. He was a member of IAM, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

After a downturn in the nation's economy, Gene was laid off from Southern Pacific. He then moved to Alaska in 1983 to become a machinist for the Alaska Railroad (ARR).

Scope and Contents

The Gene Kuhn collection includes records, maps, and photographs of railroads across the United States collected by Gene Kuhn, who worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad and Alaska Railroad in the 1970s and 1980s. The focus is on the movement of freight and passengers. The collection includes freight and baggage agent's waybills, ticket invoices, tariffs, correspondence, bulletins and notices, clearance record booklets, train and enginemen time reports, agent seal record books, accident reports, photographs, and blue prints. Other materials include tariffs, train register tickets, conductors time return forms, perishable freight service reports, a freight damage log, employee time record/ reports book, and a letter press book.


MS 878 is arranged into 4 series:

Series 1. Southern Pacific Railroad

Series 2. Western Pacific Railroad

Series 3. Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad

Series 4. Other Companies

Separated Material

Trade catalogs and library books have been removed and added to the CSRM Library and trade catalog collections.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Additional Collection Guides

Maps and drawings

Container List

Series 1. Southern Pacific Railroad, May 1885 - Oct. 2, 1975
Scope and Contents

The Southern Pacific series includes material from the Sacramento Division Superintendent's Office such as: map excerpts and accompanying correspondence, photographs, freight waybills, employment cards, traffic department waybills, bad order forms, an engineer's trip report, steamship lines payroll, local and joint tariffs, a turnout inspection form, and a dining car color panel.

Excerpts from Southern Pacific maps and drawings range from May 11, 1910 and November 09, 1955. They show trackage changes and structure of the Southern Pacific Railroad in Yuba City, Auburn, Colusa County, Delevan, Colfax, Dutch Flat, and Truckee. Additional drawings have been transferred to the CSRM technical drawings database. A list of these appears in this finding aid under additional collection guides.

Correspondence attached to the maps and drawings in the Sacramento Division Superintendent's Office files are between them and the County Chamber of Commerce, Southern Pacific's Traffic Department, Land Department, Pacific and Gas Electric Company's Superintendent's Office, and Southern Pacific's Office of General Superintendent- Sacramento Division. Subjects range from complaints regarding roads, land rental, lease, and property disputes to requests and inquiries regarding buildings, tracks, installations, investigations, and irrigation canals.

There are a few Southern Pacific Sacramento Division dispatchers train sheets for the West Valley, East Valley, and Dunsmuir in this collection. They include sheets for Jun. 1934 [also including Dunsmuir], Sep. 30, 1935 [partial, Dunsmuir only], Nov. 29, 1936 [Sacramento only], Mar. 13th-31st, 1938 [partial, Sacramento only], Dec. 1944, and Dec. 1945 [partial].

Southern Pacific Sacramento shops material includes: a list of Southern Pacific Sacramento shop employees organized by rank and department as well as their hours worked and pay rate, a day book including a roster list for machine shop in alphabetical order by the workers last names. The book also lists the employees individual hiring and quitting date. There are two registers of shop employees organized by occupation, pay rate, name, age commenced, date left, and cause and a Southern Pacific employee's service and compensation cumulating sheet book. It is organized, in part, by source, number of employees, number of hours worked, time paid for but not worked, and overtime. There are some pounce patterns and tracings for Southern Pacific designs used on equipment built at the Shops.

Photographs of the Sacramento Car Shop and Sawmill from February 24, 1921, through May 1958 show flat and damaged cars, car accidents, and cars in production. Some photos include railroad workers and officials.

Pounce patterns, or a traced version of a letter or logo, include letters for the Southern Pacific "Overland", "Golden State", and "Californian", Southern Pacific 20" standard, US Mail, Railway Post Office, Railway Express Agency, Sierra Railroad's pattern for its letterboard, and Union Pacific Railroad and are in OV Box 5. Stencils and pounce patterns for Southern Pacific Lines, the "Daylight" train, safety, the SP dynamometer car No. 137, and the schedule board are stored in SMCC Port 222.

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Series 2. Western Pacific Railroad, Mar. 15, 1940 - Mar. 20, 1970
Scope and Contents

This series includes waybills, telegrams, paychecks, daily record ticket sales, requests to destroy records, bulletins/ notices, railroad and employment-related forms, tariffs, agent seal record books, a switch list and conductor's report, treasury department circulars, local and joint passenger tariffs, a blacksmith seniority roster, material and labor expended forms, bulletins, a blank bill of landing and local ticket sales forms, as well as a coffee shop sign.

Many of the bulletins and notices reference the Marysville Station and the Western Pacific's Office of the Superintendent- Western Division, Department of the Army- Office of the Chief of Transportation, Department of the Navy- Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, Baggage Department, and the Passenger Traffic Department.

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Series 3. Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, Jan. 1937 - 1993
Scope and Contents

Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific photograph files include: one photograph albums and two files of photographs and negatives. The album includes images of several mid-Western Railroads including: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific, Chicago and North Western Railroad (C&NW), Chicago St. Paul and Minneapolis Railway, Chicago and North Western Railroad , Great Northern Railway, Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway, Northern Pacific Railway, and Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern Railway taken between January 1957 and September 1959. Subjects include: freight cars, bridges, shops, trains, yards, and employees in Austin, Minnesota. There are two folders of photographs and negatives of derailments, wrecked engines, and equipment on the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific taken between January 1937 and February 1958.

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Series 4. Other Companies, Jul. 31, 1901 - Sep. 2, 1986
Scope and Contents

Railroads from across the United States and Canada in this series include Alaska Railroad, where Mr. Kuhn worked in the 1980s, Southern Pacific subsidiaries Central Pacific Railroad, St. Louis Southwestern Railway, and Texas and New Orleans Railroad, Western Pacific Railroad subsidiaries Sacramento Northern and St. Louis – San Francisco Railway and many other railroads.

Documents from the Traffic Departments of these railroads include as waybills, circulars, correspondence and tariffs. There are some employee time reports for Denver and Rio Grande Railroad and a list of clerk working for the Sacramento Northern in the 1970s. Tariffs based on geographical location rather than railroad have been placed at the end of the series.

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