James Ratcliffe collection of railroad photographs and clippings
1900-1986 and undated

MSS 304a
approximately 1.5 linear feet


Ratcliffe, James T.




There are no restrictions on the use of this collection

Access points:

Ratcliffe, James T.
Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railway Company.
Railroad trains.
Electric railroad trains.
Trolley cars.

Finding aid prepared by:

Jennifer Baumann, June 1992. Revised by Emily Hughes Dominick, 2007.


Augustana College Special Collections
Thomas Tredway Library
639 38th Street
Rock Island, Illinois 61201

Acquisition Information
Historical Note
Scope and Content
System of Arrangement
Box List
Related Collections


This collection came to the Augustana College Special Collections by way of Mr. Tom Jackson. Mr. Ratcliffe gave his collection to Mr. Jackson, friend and fellow rail fan, before he passed away. This collection was received by Special Collections some time between 1986 and 1992.



James T. Ratcliffe, a Rock Island resident, was a collector of railway photographs and memorabilia.



The James T. Ratcliffe collection is comprised of newspaper clippings, photograph scrapbooks, historical outlines, and published material regarding trolleys and electric train transportation. Since this is a small collection of materials all relating to the railway, it is arranged together as one series.

Most notable in the collection are two scrapbooks filled with photographs. One scrapbook contains primarily photos of trolleys. Many of the images relate to Quad City companies such as Davenport City Railway; Tri City Railway; Clinton, Davenport & Muscatine; Mississippi Traction; and Rock Island Southern. There are also photographs of trolleys from New York City, Massachusetts, Baltimore, Chicago, and Cincinnati. A few pages of the scrapbook are dedicated to pictures sent to Mr. Ratcliffe by his friend, Mr. J. W. Shannon. Mr. Shannon's pictures depict his visits to the Fox River Trolley Museum (South Elgin, Illinois) in 1985 and to Depot Square (Duluth, Minnesota) in 1986. Most of the non-Quad City trolley photographs came from Mr. Shannon and are in postcard form. The second scrapbook contains photos that cover a broader geographical area. Several pages are dedicated to the CRANDIC (Cedar Rapids and Iowa City) Line, the Illinois Terminal Company, and the Des Moines interurban. Other photographs range from the Chicago Elevated to rail lines in Utah and Winnipeg, Canada. Besides photographs of the trains themselves, there are photos of depots and stations and one newspaper clipping about busses.

Another important component of this collection is a group of newspaper clippings about the Tri-City Railway Company. The clippings were taken from the Rock Island Argus and the Quad City Times during 1936 and 1940. The clippings feature captioned photographs including one of the first horse cars in the Quad Cities, the last horse car in Milan, the first trolley in the Quad Cities, and early motor coaches and busses. There are several articles covering the change from trolleys to busses. Among these is an article about Charlie Schellhorn, the controller of the first and last trolley runs up Brady Street in Davenport, Iowa.



The components in this collection have been arranged by form.



Box 1
      Tri-City Railway historic sketch, undated
      Tri-City Railway clippings, 1936, 1940
      Tri-City Railway clippings, preservation copies, 1936, 1940
      Rock Island Southern Railway historical outline, 1902-1907
      List of photographs in first scrapbook, undated
      Photograph scrapbook (#1), 1900-1950, 1981, 1985-1986
      Photograph scrapbook (#2), 1910-1965, 1974

      Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad : how the medal was won / edited by Norman Carlson. Spec Coll HE 2791 .C6849 C47 1985 [removed to Special Collection books]



Tom Jackson collection of railroad memorabilia and photographs, MSS 304

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