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Frank Saarni collection
MS 726  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography/Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Additional collection guides

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Frank Saarni collection
    Dates: 1905-1997
    Collection Number: MS 726
    Creator/Collector: Saarni, Frank
    Extent: 1 linear foot + 3 oversize boxes
    Repository: California State Railroad Museum Library and Archives
    Sacramento, California 95814
    Abstract: Paperwork collected by builder's plate collector Frank Saarni during his work with the California State Railroad Museum and as a brakeman for the Great Northern Railway.
    Language of Material: English


    This collection is open for research at our off-site storage facility with one week's notice. Contact Library & Archives staff to arrange for access.

    Publication Rights

    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 Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the CSRM 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 reader.

    Preferred Citation

    Frank Saarni collection. California State Railroad Museum Library and Archives

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Mrs. Frank A. (Betty) Saarni, 2013

    Biography/Administrative History

    Frank Arthur Saarni was born Aug. 3,1926 in San Francisco and died Jan. 21, 2013 in Berkeley. Beginning as a teenager, Saarni assembled one of the major and most significant builder’s plate collections in the United States and North America. Saarni also created accurate reproduction builder's plates for equipment being restored during the development of the California State Railroad Museum. As he collected, he kept meticulous notes and gathered research material on railroad history, which comprise this collection.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Consists of construction lists for various locomotive builders, correspondence, notes on railroad photography trips, research materials, employment paperwork, ephemera, and albums of tickets and photographs. The correspondence relates to collecting and purchasing of builder's plates, as well as to Saarni's work with the California State Railroad Museum. Employment paperwork relates to Saarni's work as a brakeman with the Great Northern Railway. The locomotive builder lists are handwritten and organized by construction number. Notes on photography trips consists of a trip recapitulation listing road numbers of engines photographed by Saarni. Among his research materials is correspondence mostly to Virgil Bogue, from Arthur W. Keddie and others, regarding construction of the Western Pacific Railway. Photographic prints that were not affixed in albums have been removed and filed with the general photograph collection. Corresponding negatives were not included in the donation. Employee timetables have also been cataloged separately.

    Additional collection guides