Revised by William F. Howes

1921 Society organized by Charles E. Fisher, Arthur Curran, Warren Jacobs, Roy w. Carlson and others; were 54 members by year-end, and the first issue of the BULLETIN had been published.

1923 The society is incorporated in the state of Massachusetts.

1925 Membership had grown to 190.

1927 Museum rooms opened and artifacts on display in Harvard’s Baker Library.

1930 Membership had grown to 254.

1934 The first chapter organized in New York City, followed by the Chicago Chapter in 1936 and Pacific Coast Chapter in 1937.

1939 First acquisition of historic equipment by the Pacific Coast Chapter.

1942 Baker Library museum rooms closed for war, reopened in 1948.

1950 Society membership reaches 1,094 in December.

1953 Engine 952, a gift of the Lackawanna Railroad, loaned to St. Louis Museum of Transport for exhibit.

1957 Museum exhibits closed at Baker Library and artifacts moved to Edaville.

1970 Headquarters moved to Kresge Hall, Harvard Business School; membership reaches 2,080 in Decembr. John H. White, Jr. succeeds C. E. Fisher as Editor of the BULLETIN.

1971 Golden Anniversary Dinner at Sheraton Plaza, Boston; Charles E. Fisher steps down after 50 years and Howard Greene is elected new President.


1974 First annual meeting to be held outside of Boston, in New York City; first long-range planning committee appointed.

1980 Society artifacts put on exhibit at Boston’s new Museum of Transporta­tion (which failed in 1982). Robert Post succeeds John White as RAILROAD HISTORY editor.

1981 Fred Stindt President; annual meeting in Sacramento in conjunction with dedication of new California State Railroad Museum, displaying Pacific Coast Chapter’s preserved equipment. Kresge Hall office closed. A Newsletter begun under Arthur Lloyd as Editor. Society awards program instituted under William L. Withuhn.

1982 Library and archival materials transferred to California State Railroad Museum Library facility for new Society research center. First awards given.

1985 Annual meeting hosted by the new (formed in 1981) Southwest Chapter in El Paso.

1988 Roger Grant new Editor of RAILROAD HISTORY.

1988 Arthur Lloyd, Jr., new President of Society. New eastern archival facility at Muncy PA under Tom Taber’s direction.

1989 Southeast Chapter formed in Jacksonville.

1992 Edaville relationship terminated and materials removed. Decision made to confine activities to library and archival functions only, with all remaining hardware and exhibit materials disposed of through public auction.

1994 William F. Howes, Jr. new Society President. Scope of activities at Sacramento to be expanded.

1996 Expansion of Newsletter planned under new Editor Jim Wilke. 75th Anniversary publication, Railroad history in Photographs, using photographs from the Society’s archives by Pacific Coast Chapter, and 75 year Index of the BULLETIN and RAILROAD HISTORY.

1983 Following the transfer of a significant portion of the R&LHS archives to the site of the California State Railroad Museum, the Board of Directors authorized the establishment of a Research Center at the site and the part-time employment of a professional (initially Tom Norris) to manage the Society’s collections.

1984 Following the resignation of Tom Norris, the Board of Directors retained on March 16, 2004 the services of archivist Jacqueline Pryor to manage the collection and oversee the development of a modest Research Center. (The position of R&LHS Archivist held by Jacqueline Pryor was abolished on October 30, 2009).

1990 By action of the Board of Directors on June 10, the R&LHS ceased accepting applications for new Life Memberships.

1991 The Board of Directors established an Executive Committee.

1999 The website was established with Adrian Ettlinger serving as the first webmaster.

2002 R&LHS Internet Discussion Group organized by Adrian Ettlinger.

2005 A formal R&LHS Mission Statement adopted by the Board of Directors.

2011 The Board of Directors established two $2500 Research Fellowships in the names of William D. Middleton and John H. White, Jr. to be awarded annually beginning in 2012.

2011 The Board of Directors established an Archives Intern Program in concert with the California State Railroad Museum to assist with the Society’s collections at the CSRM.

2012 Members given the option of receiving the Quarterly Newsletter in print form by US Mail or electronically on the Internet.

The DL&W 4-4-0 Camelback 952:

1938 – Given by the DL&W to the R&LHS.

1939-40 – Loaned back to the DL&W t represent the railroad at the World’s Fair in New York.

1951 – Loaned back to DL&W for display and operation in celebration of the road’s 100th birthday.

1953 – Placed by the R&LHS on permanent loan at the Museum of Transport in St. Louis.

1996 – Board of Directors’ 5/30/96 “Policy Statement” regarding the ownership and future of the 952.

1999 – Board of Directors’ action of 6/25/99 transferring the national R&LHS ownership interest in the 952 to the Lackawanna Chapter and Friends of the New Jersey Railroad & Transportation Museum.


1985 – The Railroad History Index 1921-1984, compiled by Thomas T. Taber III.

1996 – Railroad History in Photographs: 150 Years of North American Railroading by Anthony W. Thompson, Robert J. Church and Jacqueline J. Pryor.

1997 – Early American Railroads (1842-1843) by Franz Anton Ritter Von Gerstner. Translated by John C. Decker and David Diephouse and edited by Frederick C. Gamst.

1997 – Seventy Five Years of Railroad History: Cumulative Index 1921-1996, compiled by George M. Jenks.

1998 – Expanded and augmented reprint of “Our First Locomotives” by Charles E. Fisher from Bulletin #62 (1943) as edited by Cornelius W. Hauck and John H. White, Jr.

2000 – Railroad History Millennium Special: The Diesel Revolution. Published by the R&LHS in cooperation with the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library.