Norfolk and Western Railroad Accounting Ledgers

A Guide to the Norfolk and Western Railroad Accounting Ledgers, 1892-1895 Ms.2010.075


Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061

John M. Jackson

Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech
Norfolk and Western Railroad Account Ledgers,1892-1895
5.3 Cubic Feet 18 boxes
Norfolk and Western Railroad Company (1881-1896)
The materials in the collection are in English.
The collection contains the accounting ledgers of the Norfolk and Western Railroad, providing detailed monthly account entries for each of the company's divisions and monthly summaries and analyses of expenses for the company as a whole.

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials. Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: [identification of item], [box], [folder], Norfolk and Western Railroad Accounting Ledgers, Ms2010-075, Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Source of Acquisition

The Norfolk and Western Accounting Ledgers comprised part of a larger railroad-related collection purchased by Special Collections in 2009. The remainder of the acquisition of which these ledgers were a part was divided among the Chapman J. French Papers (Ms2009-034), the Norfolk & Western Railway and Associated Companies Collection (Ms2009-037), the Norfolk and Western Railway Company Mortgage Bond Book (Ms2010-077), and the Wayne Perkins Collection (Ms2010-078).

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Norfolk and Western Railroad Accounting Ledgers commenced and was completed in October 2010.

Historical Note

The Norfolk and Western Railroad originated with the 1838 chartering of the City Point Railroad, a line between Petersburg and City Point, Virginia. The line was purchased by the South Side Railroad in 1854, which, in turn, merged with the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad and the Norfolk & Petersburg Railroad, forming the Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio Railroad in 1870. The AM&O fell into bankruptcy and was purchased in 1881, the new owners incorporating under the name Norfolk and Western Railroad, with a line extending from Virginia's coast to Southwest Virginia. The N&W went into receivership in 1895 and was reorganized as the Norfolk & Western Railway the following year.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a set of accounting ledgers for the Norfolk and Western Railroad. The ledgers record the expenses of each of the company's several divisions (i.e., Clinch Valley, Durham, Kenova, Lynchburg, Norfolk, North Carolina, Pocahontas, Pulaski, Radford, Roanoke, Scioto Valley, Shenandoah and Winston-Salem). Included in each ledger are statements titled "accounts charged from vouchers" (changed to "detail of operating expenses for the month" in later volumes) for the individual divisions, followed by a sheet providing the system-wide totals. Also included are monthly summaries of accounts charged from vouchers payable, listing transactions by voucher number, with a breakdown of expenditures under various headings (general expenses, Commercial Department, maintenance of way, maintenance of engines, maintenance of cars, conducting transportation). A third set of sheets in each ledger appears to consist of the original account entries, listing individual voucher numbers and associated expenditures, again listed under the several different categories of expenses. Affixed to the inside covers of the ledgers are monthly statements titled "Amounts Charged Under 100 Year Mortgage from Vouchers," "Earnings and Expenses," "Percentages for Expenses Based on Car Mileage," and "Analysis of Earnings and Expenses for the Month." At the end of the ledger set is a single volume, dated February 1895 and stamped "new acct." and bearing the names of the receivers, F. J. Kimball and Henry Fink.

Also included in the collection are a set of ledgers specifically relating to the company's Scioto Valley Division, its records apparently having been kept separate from the remaining divisions from February 1895 forward. These ledgers contain the same type of accounting entries as those described above.


The collection is arranged by ledger coverage area, then chronologically.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Norfolk and Western Railroad Accounting Ledgers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Container List

System-wide ledgers
  • box-folder 1 folder: 1Jan 1892
  • box-folder 1 folder: 2Feb 1892
  • box-folder 2 folder: 1Mar 1892
  • box-folder 2 folder: 2Apr 1892
  • box-folder 3 folder: 1May 1892
  • box-folder 3 folder: 2Jun 1892
  • box-folder 4 folder: 1Jul 1892
  • box-folder 4 folder: 2Aug 1892
  • box-folder 5 folder: 1Sep 1892
  • box-folder 5 folder: 2Oct 1892
  • box-folder 6 folder: 1Nov 1892
  • box-folder 6 folder: 2Dec 1892
  • box-folder 7 folder: 1Mar 1893
  • box-folder 7 folder: 2Jun 1893
  • box-folder 8 folder: 1Jul 1893
  • box-folder 8 folder: 2Aug 1893
  • box-folder 9 folder: 1Sep 1893
  • box-folder 9 folder: 2Oct 1893
  • box-folder 10 folder: 1Nov 1893
  • box-folder 10 folder: 2Dec 1893
  • box-folder 11 folder: 1Jan 1895
  • box-folder 11 folder: 2Feb 1895
  • box-folder 12 folder: 1Mar 1895
  • box-folder 12 folder: 2Apr 1895
  • box-folder 13 folder: 1May 1895
  • box-folder 13 folder: 2Jun 1895
  • box-folder 14 folder: 1Aug 1895
  • box-folder 14 folder: 2Sep 1895
  • box-folder 15 folder: 1Nov 1895
  • box-folder 15 folder: 2Feb 1895 [New account]
Scioto Valley Division ledgers
  • box-folder 16 folder: 1Feb 1895
  • box-folder 16 folder: 2Mar 1895
  • box-folder 16 folder: 3Apr 1895
  • box-folder 16 folder: 4May 1895
  • box-folder 17 folder: 1Jun 1895
  • box-folder 17 folder: 2Jul 1895
  • box-folder 17 folder: 3Aug 1895
  • box-folder 17 folder: 4Sep 1895
  • box-folder 18 folder: 1Oct 1895
  • box-folder 18 folder: 2Nov 1895
  • box-folder 18 folder: 3Dec 1895