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Hanft (Robert M.) Collection
MS 854  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biography
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Scope and Contents
  • Separated Materials
  • Preferred Citation
  • Arrangement
  • Separated Materials

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: California State Railroad Museum Library & Archives
    Title: Robert M. Hanft collection
    creator: Hanft, Robert M., 1914-2004
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 854
    Physical Description: 12.5 Linear Feet "shoebox" negative boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1930-1994
    Physical Location: Big Four Building.
    Abstract: The Hanft Photograph collection contains black and white negatives of United States railroad photographs. These photos were taken by Hanft and other photographers.


    Robert M. Hanft was born March 17, 1914 to Jennie and Frank Hanft in Marinette, WI and passed November 29, 2004 in Paradise, CA. He was married to Annabelle Jane Lester on April 7, 1942 in Long Prairie, MN. They were married 57 years. Annabelle died Dec. 11, 1999 in Paradise, CA. During the depression years, he could be found riding the rails, hobo style, to find work wherever he could. His passionate interest in photography led him to start "Lakeside Photo Service" in Brainerd, MN in 1939. Hanft enlisted in the U.S. Army from 1941-1945 where he was posted in Hollywood making army training films. He educated himself with help from the G.I. Bill and achieved a B.A. in Psychology, a master’s degree in Business Administration and a P.h.D. in Philosophy. During his working career, he was employed by Standard Oil, University of California, Berkeley; California State University, Fresno and California State University, Chico. Hanft joined the faculty at California State University, Chico in 1967, where he was named Professor Emeritus in Management. He was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma Fraternity, U.C. Berkeley Alumni Assn., U. of Washington Alumni Assn., The Nature Conservancy and nearly every Railway and Trolley Historical Organization in the United States from Maine to California. Hanft developed a historical collection of railroad and trolley photos from age 15 and on through his life.Hanft was the author of three books on railroads; Red River: Paul Bunyan’s Own Lumber Company and its Railroads (1979); Pine Across the Mountain: California’s McCloud River Railroad (1971); San Diego and Arizona Railway: The Impossible Railroad (1984).

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection is open for research by appointment.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Copyright has not been assigned to the California State Railroad Museum. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the CSRM Library & Archives.

    Scope and Contents

    The Hanft Collection contains negatives of railroad photographs including 17,000+ primarily original 2-3/4 x 4-1/2-inch 116 sized black and white negatives with a detailed 384-page accompanying inventory identifying the individual negative subject, date and location. The majority of nagatives are images of historic motive power, cars and scenes taken by the donor, 1930 to 1994.
    Additional photographers whose names were noted on negative envelopes include, Johnson, Jones, Pennington, Whitaker, van Horn, Zorn.

    Separated Materials

    Robert M. Hanft color slides dated 1950's-1980's located at Western Railway Museum, 5848 State Highway 12 Suisun City, CA 94585, (707) 374-2978

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Robert M. Hanft, MS 854, California State Railroad Museum Library and Archives, Sacramento, California.


    Arranged alphabetically by railroad name.

    Separated Materials

    Printed copy and pdf of Robert M. Hanft Railroad Photograph List

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Photography of railroads
    Southern Pacific Company
    Steam Locomotive
    Diesel Locomotive
    Electric Traction
    Railroad Locomotives
    Steam Engine
    Diesel Engine
    Railroads--United States--Photography
    Hanft, Robert M., 1914-2004