Biography: H. D. Quinby: A Life in Transit
Scope and Content of Collection
Collection Title: Henry Dean Quinby III Collection of Photographs and
Date: ca. 1933-1957
Collection Number: NS4270
Quinby, Henry Dean III, 1925-1978
ca. 4 linear ft.
(5 document boxes, 4 print boxes)
University of California, Berkeley. Institute of Transportation
Berkeley, California 94720-1720
Physical location: This collection is stored off-campus at NRLF. Please contact
ITS Library staff for access to the materials.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are chiefly in English, with some correspondence and ephemera in
Abstract: Photographs of street-railroads (cars and tracks) taken by or
collected by Henry Dean Quinby III. The collection also includes postcards of street-cars, paper
ephemera associated with street-railroads, and correspondence from other street-car enthusiasts.
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Harmer E. Davis Transportation Library. All requests
for permission to reproduce photographs or publish manuscript materials must be submitted in
writing to the Head of the Library. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Harmer
E. Davis Transportation Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to
include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the
[Identification of item], Henry Dean Quinby III Collection of Photographs and
Correspondence, NS4270, Harmer E. Davis Transportation Library, Institute of Transportation
Studies, University of California, Berkeley.
Donated to the Institute of Transportation Studies Library by Mrs. Elaine E. Quinby in the
1980s. The collection was formerly housed at the Quinby residence in Piedmont, California.
Biography: H. D. Quinby: A Life in Transit
Henry Dean Quinby III was a street-car enthusiast who traveled in the Americas and Europe and
corresponded with other enthusiasts around the world. His activities took place during the
middle of the 20th century -- the hey-day of the street-railroad. Professionally, Quinby was
interested in the developments in post-World War II European cities, especially in West Germany,
Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Sweden, to upgrade and rebuild their street-car
transit systems. He hoped their efforts would serve as models for North American transit
Quinby was born in 1925, in Rochester, New York, the son of Alice Hamilton Onderdonk of Boston
and Henry Dean Quinby Jr. of Rochester. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts,
and graduated from Yale University in 1949. He was in the U.S. Navy from 1944-1946. At various
points in his life he lived in New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. In
March 1951, Quinby joined the engineering firm Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Hall & Macdonald
(later Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade & Douglas) in San Francisco, California. There he worked
as an assistant engineer and later as a principal transportation engineer. His projects included
the design of the BART system for the Bay Area Rapid Transit District. In 1956, Quinby took a
leave of absence to study and observe transportation planning and transit operations in twenty
European countries. While at Parsons, he consulted on transportation projects in Chicago, Dayton
(Ohio), and Hamilton (Ontario). Quinby worked for Parsons for 23 years ending on September 6,
1974. After he resigned from Parsons, he worked as Deputy General Manager for Operations and
Administration of the San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI) until 1977 when he established his
own consulting practice. Quinby was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the
Institute of Traffic Engineers, and was Assistant Head of ITE Department 6 in 1974. He also
lectured for the Institute of Transportation Studies at U.C. Berkeley. Quinby bequeathed his
professional library to the ITS Library at U.C. Berkeley.
On September 23, 1961, Quinby married Elaine English of Salt Lake City, in the Chapel of Grace
at Grace Protestant Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco. They lived in Piedmont, California,
and had two children, a son and daughter. Quinby died in the San Francisco Bay area on December
"Alice Onderdonk a Bride. Special to The New York Times,"
, 20 June 1924, p. 19.
"Elaine English, Henry D. Quinby Marry on Coast. Special to The New York Times,"
New York Times, 24 September 1961, p. 93.
"Henry Dean Quinby, Rochester Ex-Aide" [Obituary],
, 19 December 1949, p. 27.
"Maud E. Ewert Bride of H. Dean Quinby Jr.,"
, 22 October 1947, p. 34.
"Miss Young is a Bride. Miss Onderdonk to Wed,"
, 21 May 1924, p. 19.
Quinby, Henry D. [Correspondence, memos, reports, working papers]. 1954-1974. UC
Berkeley Trans HE4207 .Q5
Quinby, Henry D. "Major Urban Corridor Facilities: a New Concept,"
Traffic Quarterly 16, no. 2 (April 1962): 242-259.
"Quinby, Henry D." [Obituary],
San Francisco Chronicle,
18 December 1978, p. 32.
"Quinby Leaves Collection,"
ITS Review 3, no. 1 (November
Thompson, Gregory L. "Defining an Alternative Future: Birth of the Light Rail Movement
in North America," in
9th National Light Rail Transit Conference:
experience, economics, and evolution : from starter lines to growing systems: November 16-18,
2003, Hilton Portland Hotel, Portland, Oregon
(Transportation research e-circular; no.
E-C058) (Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board, 2003), 25-36.
Scope and Content of Collection
This collection is comprised of approximately 2076 photographic prints, 64 negatives, 102
postcards, 83 Super Pak Snaps spiral-bound albums of approximately 928 photographic prints, plus
several items of paper ephemera.
The collection includes H.D. Quinby's own photographs as well as photographs and
correspondence from Walter P. Khazoyan, F.S. Bennett, Sturman F. Dyson, Jr., Morley J. Kelsey,
J.J. Hanlon, R.L. Alson, L.Y. Tripp, Bill Van Buskerk, W.E. Harmon, J.C. MacManaway, Steve
Meyers, George Layton, E.J. [Edwin Jenyss] Quinby, John G. Woodbury, A.C. van Haeften, C.
Schnabel, Alan A. Jackson, H.B. Priestly, Ernie Plant, S.M. Ramsay, J.C. Gillham, M. van Notten
Jr., G.L. Gundry, J.H. Price, Karl Matern, Werner Klein, S.E. Harrison, M. J. O'Connor, John
Bavid, Donald Harnish, Emil Konrad, and others. The collections from John G. Woodbury (North
America) and Emil Konrad (chiefly Europe) are particularly extensive. While the collection is
significant for the historic photographs of street-cars it is also a fascinating look at how
street-car enthusiasts interacted in the mid-twentieth century.
The photographs are of street-railroad cars and tracks (also known as street-cars, trolley
cars, tramways, light rail) as well as some heavy rail, chiefly from the United States, Europe,
Canada, and Mexico, with a few from Asia and Africa. Settings are both urban and rural. Of the
photographs that are dated, the coverage is from 1933 to 1957. There are negatives for a few of
the photographs, and these are presumed to be photographs taken by Quinby himself. Additionally,
there is some transit ephemera and a collection of postcards. The postcard collection consists
of scenes of railroads, street-cars, and other transit, chiefly in urban settings.
The collection was originally housed in miscellaneous boxes in no order. Some of the
photographs and albums were numbered by Quinby, and this arrangement has been retained.
Otherwise the photographs have been organized geographically and, if known, by correspondent. If
originally associated with photographs, correspondence and other ephemera have been kept with
the photographs. Postcards have been organized geographically. Other materials have been
organized by type.
The geographic arrangement of the photographs of sites in the United States is west to east
based on Library of Congress Subject Headings for geographic regions: West (U.S.), Middle West,
Southern States, Northeastern States. Additionally, there are folders for the Great Lakes Region
and United States (assorted). A separate box contains photographs from John G. Woodbury.
European photographs are arranged in 2 subseries. The first consists of folders with
photographs from one European country per folder, organized alphabetically by country, with
folders containing items from known correspondents first. The second subseries consists of
folders with photographs from multiple countries per folder from a single correspondent. These
are organized alphabetically by country within the folder, then arranged alphabetically by the
first country in the folder.
For all folders, after the description of the photographs is a number in parenthesis which
indicates the number of photographs with that description.
While great care has been taken to identify the locations and transit companies depicted in
the photographs, knowledgeable patrons are invited to correct these identifications.
- Series 1: Photographs: may be sorted geographically, by correspondent, and/or
chronologically, depending on information available. [Boxes 1-5]
- Subseries: United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, World, unknown
- Series 2: Paper ephemera [Box 5]
- Series 3: Postcards [Box 5]
- Series 4: Super Pak Snaps spiral-bound albums: numbered [Boxes 6-9]
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Quinby, Henry Dean III, 1925-1978.
Street-railroads -- Photographs.
Trolley cars -- Photographs.
Railroads -- Photographs.
Quinby, Henry D. [Correspondence, memos, reports, working papers]. 1954-1974. UC Berkeley
Trans HE4207 .Q5