Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Donald Duke Collection of Railroad and Electric Railway Photographs and Ephemera: Finding Aid
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
This collection consists of railroad and electric railway photographs, ephemera and publications, 1829-2010, with the bulk of material from the early- to mid-20th century. The materials are chiefly focused on steam and diesel locomotives, major railroads, and interurban passenger railways of the United States and Canada. Also represented are shortline and narrow-gauge railroads, other foreign railroads, streetcars and urban light rail transit.
Donald Duke (1929-2010) was a publisher, writer, railroad photographer and collector. He was born in Los Angeles and, from the age of 10, lived in San Marino, California. He grew up riding the Pacific Electric Railway, which stopped two blocks from his home, embarking on a love for trains and train photography, which he shared with his father. After graduating from Colorado College, he worked in sales for Mobil Oil, and later as an agent for General Steamship Corporation. In the 1950s, Duke formed his own publishing company, Pacific Railroad Publications; it later became Golden West Books, incorporated in 1960. Duke published over a hundred books on trains and railroads, written by himself or other railroad historians. Many of the photographs and pieces of ephemera in this collection appeared in Golden West Books publications. Duke also wrote articles for and edited the Pacific Railway Journal and the Branding Iron quarterly for the Los Angeles Corral of Westerners. He was a member of the Lexington Group of railroad historians, founding member of Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, California, and active in several other train, rail and locomotive historical societies. He was a longtime reader at the Huntington Library, where he bequeathed his collection of over 2,000 railroad books and trade journals.
11,000 photographs in 43 boxes + 46 boxes of printed material and ephemera
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.