Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Archives Center Home  |  Collections Index

 

RAILWAY EXPRESS AGENCY, 1899-1970
#260

(3 cubic feet: 6DB, 3(.5) DB)

by: Robert S. Harding, 1987

History

In 1860 there were three principal transcontinental mail and express routes: the first route was by ship from New York to Panama then by portage across the Isthmus to the West Coast and finally back to sea for the last leg to San Francisco; second, the Butterfield and Fargo Stage line operating from St. Louis through the Indian Territory along the Santa Fe Trail and up to Los Angeles to San Francisco; and third, the stage line of Russell, Majors, and Waddell, which traveled from Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas to Denver, then over the Rocky mountains to Salt Lake City and California terminating in San Francisco.

Early in 1860 the Pony Express concept was formed and operated from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California. The end of the Pony Express came in 1861 when the telegraph line connected Omaha and San Francisco and officially ended on Oct. 26, 1861.

On November 1, 1866 Wells Fargo & Co. purchased the stage and Pony Express operations from Ben Holladay. At this time, there were several express companies; however, by 1914 there were only seven. During World War I these seven companies were consolidated at the direction of the Federal Government into one nationwide organization, the American Railway Express Agency. In 1929 the nation's railroads bought the express business and changed the name to Railway Express Agency, Inc.  In October 1960 acquired Fast Service Shipping Terminals Inc.  In November 1960 REA Express was adopted as the Company's trade name.  In January 1961 formed REA Leasing Corp a trailer leasing company.  In February 1965 formed with Seven Arts Associated Corp. and Travel Theaters Inc.  REA Express-Seven Arts Transvision, Inc. In 1965 sold 32 terminals and leased them back. In April 1967 formed REA Express Canada, Ltd. In May 1967 formed Rexco Supply Corp. to conduct tire recapping and automotive parts distribution business. In February 1970 formed The Express Co., Inc. as a subsidiary of REA Holding Corp to conduct an international air freight forwarding business.

On February 21, 1975 the Company filed a petition under Chapter XI of the Bankruptcy Act in Federal Court in New York County listing assets of $41,000,000 and liabilities of $55,000,000. The Company said the reasons for the petition included losses created by years of railroad domination as well as high rate of inflation, a recent decline in express shipments, and limited availability of credit.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of records, manuals, Federal Regulations, forms, photographs, engineering drawings of buildings, and technical publications relative to rail car wheel brakes.

Provenance

Donated by Roger F.R. Karl, P.E., Consulting Engineer

Container List

Box    Folder

SERIES 1: ADAMS EXPRESS COMPANY, 1899-1913
1 1 Adams Express Company, "Inward Way-Bill and Delivery Book", April 28, 1899 to March 4, 1900.
    Operating Expenses: July - December 1912; July and August 1913.

SERIES 2: RAILWAY EXPRESS AGENCY-PRINTED MATERIAL, 1914-1968
1 -McCarthy, D.A., American Railway Express Company, Agent, Erie Terminal, Jersey City, N.J., Register of Money, Valuables, etc. 6/11/23 to 10/02/23.
-Operating Expenses Accounts, Uniform System of Accounts for Express Companies Prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), May 28, 1914.
-Instructions Covering Uniform System of Stamping Delivery Sheets; Joint Circular Accounting Division No. 77-E, effective October 1, 1959.
-Railway Express Agency, Incorporated By-Laws, April 6, 1960.
-REA Express "List of Salaried Offices" Issue, November, 1968.
2 -"Uniform System of Accounts for Express Companies prescribed by ICC", effective July 1, 1914.
-Interpretations of Classifications Embodied in the Uniform System of Accounts for Express Companies Prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), effective January 1, 1917, Accounting Bulletin No.13. (Two copies)
-Railway Express Agency "Instructions Governing Receipting Practices, Preparations of Delivery Sheets, and Assessment and Revision of Charges", issued January 1, 1951.
-Railway Express Agency INSTRUCTIONS Governing: 
-Preparation of Shipments for Delivery -Preparation of Charge out Forms 
-Charging Out Shipments to Deliverymen -Carry-Over of Undelivered Shipments -Accepting Deliverymen's Settlements 
-Preparing Remittance and Paid C.O.D. Reports -Preparing Recapitulation of Deliverymen's Settlements
-"Here's How To Process International Shipments Step by Step," REA Express International Instruction Pamphlet No 5062, December 1942, "The 'AB' Freight Brake Equipment," Westinghouse Air Brake Company, 1945.  Department, ca. 1961.
-"REA Leasing Corporation, National Railroad Trailer Pool Manual of Operations," issue No. 3, April 1, 1964.
-"The Pony Express Story", REA Public Relations & Advertising Division, n.d.
3 Railway Express Agency "General Rules and Instructions" New York July 1, 1948.
4 -Air Express Loss and Damage Claims Year 1960.
-Claim Payments Air-Rail-International 1962 & 1963.
5 Miscellaneous Notes

   

SERIES 3 : ENGINEERING DRAWINGS & PUBLICATIONS, 1926-1970

1 Report-West Side Terminal Building Condition, August 20, 1970.
2 Contents of building at 219 E. 42nd St. and miscellaneous poorly prepared drawings or sketches. n.d.
3 Instruction Pamphlet No. 5050-6, May 1942, "Passenger Car Brake Equipment with D-22-A Control Valve" and Instruction Pamphlet No. 5050-7, July 1948.
4 -Description of the Freight and Express Refrigerator Cars of the United States - Freight Refrigerators as of July 1, 1926 and Express Refrigerators as of Jan. 1, 1927.
-"The Effect of Brake Shoe Action on Thermal Cracking and on Failure of Wrought Steel Railway Car Wheels," Bulletin Series No. 387, University of Illinois Engineering Experiment Station, Urbana, Illinois, June 1950.
5 -Instruction Pamphlet No 5062, December 1942, "The 'AB' Freight Brake Equipment", Westinghouse Air Brake Company, 1945.
-Instruction Pamphlet No. 5062, Sup. 1, March 1947, "'AB-1-B' Freight Brake Equipment", Westinghouse Air Brake Company, 1947.
-Instruction Pamphlet No. 5041-2, "Westinghouse Pneumatic Type 'D' Automatic Slack Adjuster for Freight Cars", Westinghouse Air Brake Company, November 1951.
-Pamphlet: "Describing all types of The Barber Stabilized Truck With Shimming Instructions", issued by Standard Car Truck Company, 1952
-"Dynamic Capacity of Roller Bearings", Acta Polytechnica, Mechanical Engineering Series Vol. 2 Nr 4, Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden, 1952.
-"SAB Brake Regulator, Type DRV", Pamphlet No 661, American SAB Company, Inc., June 1953
-"Metallic Steam Heat Connections", Manual and Parts List, Barco Manufacturing Co., n. d.
6 Correspondence and related material regarding the demolition of property at Village, Compton, Albion, and Lucas Street, Boston, MS, January 24, 1941 to August 6, 1941.
Case II Drawer 19 Drawing of the demolished building dated August 13, 1969.
2 1 Correspondence from Chicago Files parts of years 1898, 1899, and the 1900's; correspondence from Richmond, Va. office for parts of years 1921 1922, 1930, and 1931 with respect to the Logan, W. Va. office and other miscellaneous correspondence from offices from the years to 1951. References to the flood conditions at Huntington, W.Va., 1937, and to the Florida Hurricanes of 1947, 1948, and 1949.
2 Properties owned and leased Dec. 31, 1954, and April 30, 1955.
3 Railway Express Agency, Incorporated, "Building and Contents Schedule", Effective July 1st, 1933, 1937, 1940, 1962, and 1968.
4 Black Notebook with floor plans for New York City facilities--a typewritten note by Roger F.R. Karl, P.E. has a summary of the contents and places the date of the material at about 1940.

   
SERIES 4: FORMS - AIR & RAIL, 1929-1964
3 1 Green Loose-leaf folder of "Air Express Forms", 1954.
2 Two brown Loose-leaf folders of "Rail Express Forms". One folder with an inside cover "REA Forms Frequently Used", with form numbers from 0 to 992, and another brown folder with numbers from 1000 to 8013 dated September 1945.
4 1 Blank forms such as 98, 99, 129, 650 3005, and 7058. Some loose-leaf sheets for notebook with attached forms and stickers for employee work relations. Various dates from March 1929 to August 1955.
2 Loose-leaf pages with attached various forms for " Service Shipping Terminals, Inc." 1955-1964.
3 Loose-leaf pages of miscellaneous forms including Delivery Sheet Prepaid and Collect forms, Employee Application for Group Insurance and Dependents Group Hospital Insurance, Receipt for Premium Payment by Absent Employee; many may duplicate forms given in previous folders.
4 Miscellaneous forms such as 4-A, 114, 567, 916, and 5016. Shipping labels and special Christmas labels are included.
5 -Form for "Standard Express Operations Agreement Between and Railway Express Agency, Incorporated," Effective March 1, 1954.
-Form for "Air Express Agreement between Railway Express Agency, Incorporated and ," Effective August 1, 1954.
6 Form for "Standard Express Operations Agreement Between and Railway Express Agency, Incorporated", Effective October 1, 1959.

   
SERIES 5: PERSONNEL MATERIALS, 1932-1967
5 1 -Employee Bulletin-"Free Enterprise--You, Your Job, Your Company" n.d.
-Express Employees Sick Benefit Association, Railway Express Agency, Inc., New York City Department, Constitution and By-Laws, 1932.
-Agreement Governing Hours of Service and Working Conditions Between the Railway Express Agency and Employees Thereof Effective September 1, 1949; and Effective January 1, 1967.(Both Represented by the Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employees)
-Agreement Governing Hours of Service and Working Conditions Between the Railway Express Agency and Employees Thereof Effective January 1, 1963. (Represented by the Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, & Helpers of America)
-Constitution and Statutes of the Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employees, effective on and after July 1, 1963.
2 -Handbook for Railway Express Employees, (1953?)
-Manual of Hiring Procedures, Department of Personnel, October 1, 1954. (Two copies)
-Supervisory Employee Performance Review Guide, Personnel Department, January 1, 1956.
-Hotel Directory, For Personnel Required to Travel Company Business, Issued by Department of Personnel January 1, 1958.
3

Management Fundamentals, Management and Organization, Personnel Management Books 1 through 8, September 22, 1955 to January 5, 1956.

4 Management Fundamentals, ... , Books 9 through 14, January 19, 1956 to April 26, 1956.
5

Management Fundamentals, Books 15 through 19, May 10, 1956 to July 26, 1956.

   6  -Miscellaneous material on Training Fundamentals, Loss and Damage Prevention, and Safety, June 1960.

-Miscellaneous printed material related to Loss & Damage Prevention; Instructions for Sealing Baggage Shipments; Form for Check List for Safety Committee, May 1954; Bulletin No. 3, In the Rare Event of a Damage or Loss Claim; Joint Circular Letter on Instructions for Sealing Baggage Shipments, September 1959.

 

Series 6: SCHEDULES & ROUTES, 1929-1967
6 1 Alphabetical and Numerical Lists of Established Through Cars and Trunks, 3rd Edition, August2, 1929; 7th Edition, Nov1, 1931; and 10th Edition, Issued March 1, 1956.
2 Official Directory, List of Offices with Block Location and Schedule of First and Second-Class Express Rates, Eighth Edition, June 1, 1933; & Twelfth Edition (Includes Superintendents & Claim Agents) January 20, 1953.
3 "Directory of Offices & Communities Served," May 1, 1963.
4 -"Rail Assorting Guide for Greater New York,": Issued January 10, 1933; April 1, 1946; and April 1, 1944.

-Supplement to Assorting Guide for Greater New York--Changes for the States of Oklahoma and Texas. Effective January 3, 1950.

5

-"Questions and Answers Relating to Car Space Instructions," General Manager, Transportation, July 1, 1960.

-"Directory of Train Service Central Region," April 26, 1964.

6

-"Street Guide for the Borough of Brooklyn and Part of the Borough of Queens," June 1948.

-"Motor Truck and Bus Schedules Southwestern Div-Central Reg.," St. Louis, MO, Nov. 1, 1963.

-"Air Routing Guide Book," June 1, 1964.

-Supplement No. 2 To Directory Over-The-Road Truck Services Index, December 1, 1967. (Loose-leaf pages)

-REA Express Line Haul Services Local Route Guide Los Angeles, California (sample, n.d.)

7 1

Directory Eastern Departments Train Service, Issued by Transportation Department New York, Issue No. 24 Sept. 29, 1940.

2  Routing Guide for Hub System VIA Zip Code, n.d.

Series 7: RATES, RULES, AND REGULATIONS, 1949-1962
8 1

-Digest of Changes, Effective August 10, 1949, Named in Supplement No. 31, To Official Express Classification

-No. 33, I.C.C. No. 4500, Traffic Department, June 28, 1949.

-Digest of Changes, Effective September 9, 1949 named in Supplement No. 32 to Official Express Classifications N. 33, I.C.C. No. 4500, August 1, 1949.

-Postponement Supplement no. 23 to Official Express Class- ification No. 34, effective December 26, 1950.

-Traffic Department Circular No. 27, Effective May 29, 1950.

-Traffic Department Circular No. 28, Effective May 29, 1950.

-Traffic Department Circular No. 29, June 7, 1950.

-Traffic Rules and Instructions, General Circular No. 10-D, Issued October 1, 1950.

-Monthly Supplement to Traffic Department Circular No. 23, Issued April 20, 1953.

-Traffic Department Quote and Offer to the United States Government, I.C.C. No. 10, Section 22 Quotation No. 11 January 1, 1960.

2 Special Supplement to Tariffs, INCREASES, effective Sep- tember 1, 1959. (Two Copies).
3 -Official Express Classification 36 Containing Ratings, and Regulations, effective March 1, 1956.

-Supplement 19 to Official Express Classification 36, effective September 1, 1959; also Supplement 20 effective November 19, 1959; Supplement 21 effective December 15, 1959; Supplement 25 effective February 23, 1961; and Supplement 34 effective March 30, 1962.

4

-Local and Joint Tariff No. 16 Containing Interstate and Intrastate Rates and Charges on Import and Export Traffic Applying on Ordinary Merchandise, effective March 25, 1957.

-Commodity Tariff No. 18 Containing Local and Joint Inter- state Rates and Charges Applying on Drugs, Hosiery, Medicines, Shoes and other Footwear, Toilet Prepara- tions, Wearing Apparel and Articles of Merchandise, effective May 8, 1957 (Two Copies).

-Commodity Tariff No. 23.A (Cancels 23) effective January 11, 1960.

-Supplement 35 to Commodity Tariff No. 18 Applying on Miscellaneous Merchandise effective January 17, 1860.

-Supplement 36 to Commodity Tariff No. 18 Applying on Miscellaneous Merchandise effective February 7, 1960.

-Supplement 38 to Commodity Tariff No. 18 Applying on Miscellaneous Merchandise effective May 1, 1960.

5 Local And Joint Schedule of First and Second Class Express Rates 18-C effective June 6, 1960.
6 -Commodity Tariff No. 33, Local and Joint Interstate and Intrastate Rates and Charges applying on Automobile Parts, Truck or Trailer Parts, effective June 14, 1960

-Supplement 20 to Local and Joint Tariff No. 16 Import and Export Traffic applying on Ordinary Merchandise, effective March 28, 1961.

-Special Additional Charge Supplement Applying on Interstate Express Traffic also Intrastate Express Traffic effective January 5, 1961; effective February 8, 1962; and effective March 5, 1962

 

Series 8: NOTEBOOK --BULLETINS & CIRCULARS, 1929-1958
9 1 Prevention Bulletin No. 9, March 1956: Warning! Do Not Drop or Crush Cut Flowers. Keep From Heat & Frost... Deliver Immediately!
2

-Black Notebook: Prevention Bulletins; Automotive Depart- ment Circular No. 6, Effective May 1, 1951; 

-Financial Circulars April 1, 1947 - June 16, 1953; Treasury Department Circular No. 3 March 18, 1929 - Circular No. 7A New York March 23rd, 1934; Travel Circular No.1, March 25, 1950; Operations and Accounting Joint Circular Accounting Division No. 145, New York, N.Y. February 10, 1958; Miscellaneous Joint Circulars and Instructions.

revised: Robert S. Harding, May 2002

TOP

E-mail: archivescenter@si.edu
Revised:  June 6, 2002