Photo by Paul Swanson, August 2012
John E. Gruber
John E. Gruber, 1936 - 2018
We regret to report that our newsletter editor, John Gruber, passed away on October 9, 2018. John was a railroad historian and photographer, received awards from the R&LHS in 1994 for lifetime achievement in photography, in 2010 for an article, "Railroading Journeys," about the life, times, and photography of Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg, and in 2015 for a book, Railroaders: Jack Delano's Homefront Photography. Gruber
In Railroad History 208, he gave a retrospective on Andrew J. Russell, photographer of the Civil War and the Union Pacific Railroad construction and shows that Russell’s work was a business development tool for UP and continues to be a useful historical resource--topics that scholars often ignore. He has edited the Quarterly Newsletter since its Winter 2014 issue.
He was author of Classic Steam: Timeless Photographs of North America Steam Railroading (2009), co-author of seven books, and editor of Railroaders: Jack Delano's Homefront Photography (2014) plus a followup article in Railroad History 211 about Delano's trip to California on the Santa Fe. Research interests, represented in publications, included King Daniel Ganaway, a Chicago photographer (African American National Biography, 2008); landscape history, Annette E. McCrea and Frances Copley Seavey (Pioneers of American Landscape Design, 2000, 2009); Colorado narrow gauge (Trains, October 1969, October 2009, May 2015); and Beebe/Clegg ("Beebe & Clegg Ride the Rio Grande Southern," Classic Trains, Fall 2016), since publishing an article about them in Vintage Rails magazine, which he edited from 1995 to 1999. A book, Beebe and Clegg: Their Enduring Photographic Legacy, with John Ryan and Mel Patrick, has been published by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art (2018) and is now in a second printing. In a 10-page article, Provocateur of Railroad Photography, in the Winer 2014 issue of Classic Trains, Kevin P. Keefe described him as “one of the most influential figures in the field.”
He had been a free-lance railroad photographer since 1960. His personal documentation of preservation and commitment to its realization extended from the 1960s to today. He is known for his portraits of railroad workers in their workplaces.