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Boston and Providence Railroad Corporation Correspondence

Identifier: MSN/EA 1506

Scope and Contents

The most substantial part of the collection consists of 127 pieces of incoming business correspondence to officers, directors, legal advisers, and others affiliated with the Boston and Providence Railroad, 1832 to 1846. Topics touched upon include financing, land acquisition, line construction, and other legal and financial matters. Many of the letters are authored by directors or other ranking figures in the company, including several early presidents (Wales, Grinell, Woolsey) and the engineer William Gibbs McNeill. An additional 65 pieces of correspondence dating from 1847 to 1859 pertain primarily to the Taunton Branch and the New Bedford and Taunton Railroad. Many of the items dating from the 1870s and later are postal cards directed to the treasurers of the Old Colony Railroad.


  • Creation: 1832-1912
  • Creation: Majority of material found within


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

The Boston and Providence Railroad (BPRR) was incorporated on 21 June 1831, less than one year after the opening of the Baltimore and Ohio (the first American railroad chartered specifically for public use), The line's first board of directors included Thomas B. Wales, P. T. Jackson, Joseph W. Revere, William W. Woolsey, and John F. Loring. The BPRR was chartered to carry passengers and freight between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island. Construction began in late 1832; the first section, from Boston to Canton, Massachusetts (with a branch line to Dedham) opened in 1834. The track to Providence opened on 28 July 1835 with the completion of the Canton viaduct, the longest railroad viaduct in the world at the time. The original Boston terminal was at Park Square; the Providence terminal was at Fox Point. An 11.5 mile branch to Taunton, the seat of Bristol County, Massachusetts, opened in 1836. This was extended to New Bedford in 1840, as the New Bedford and Taunton. In 1847 the Boston and Providence built a connection west from its main line in Attleboro to Central Falls, and the newly opened Providence and Worcester Railroad.

In 1888 the B and P was leased by the Old Colony Railroad. Five years later this lease was assumed by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, which used the B and P as part of its main line from Boston to New York City.


1.5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Much of this collection consists of incoming business correspondence to officers and directors of the Boston and Providence Railroad and its branches, written in the 1830s, 40s, and 50s.

Boston and Providence Railroad Corporation Correspondence
Arranged and described 2015, by Marek Mazurek. Finding aid 2015, by Marek Mazurek and George Rugg.
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556