Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Ralph L. Barger Pullman Company collection
Collection Number: MS 613
Barger, Ralph L., 1929-
Extent: 21 boxes + 2 half boxes
California State Railroad Museum Library and Archives
Sacramento, California 95814
Abstract: This collection is comprised of Pullman Company corporate records collected by historian Ralph Barger. Includes correspondence,
blank forms, requisition forms, property ownership documents, car and equipment forms and other documents.
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.
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 Archivist. 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.
Ralph L. Barger Pullman Company collection. California State Railroad Museum Library and Archives
Gift of Ralph L. Barger, 2003
Ralph L. Barger was born in Putnam County, New York in 1929. As a child, he and his brother J.P. Barger, collected model trains.
Their interest prompted Ralph Barger to write various railroads asking for information about famed passenger trains. During
service in the Army beginning in 1948, he served as an instructor at West Point, then as a 2nd Lieutenant stationed in Germany,
the Dominican Republic, and Vietnam.
In 1961, he began to collect passenger car prototype information and started to compile passenger equipment roster information
on U.S. railroads. His interest in Pullman cars was piqued by Lucius Beebe's book MR. PULLMAN'S ELEGANT PASSENGER CARS.
The works of John H. White, Jr., Arthur Dubin, William Kratville and Robert Wayner inspired him to assemble a compendium of
all known Pullman cars.
Mr. Barger and his wife, Lois, who were married in the mid 1950s, have two daughters, Keven and Carol, and a son, Ralph III.
His brother, J.P., continues to be interested in railroad history, with a focus on railroad photography. Mr. Barger belongs
to numerous historical societies, including the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Historical Society. He has written two books, A
CENTURY OF PULLMAN CARS (2 volumes) (1988; 1990)) and UNION PACIFIC BUSINESS CARS, 1870-1991: INCLUDING INSPECTION AND INSTRUCTION
CARS (1992). He is presently working on a third volume of A CENTURY OF PULLMAN CARS as well as a roster of all operating
The Pullman Company (incorporated in Illinois in 1867 by George M. Pullman as the Pullman Palace Car Company) led the United
States and Canada in sleeping car construction and the provision of luxurious and comfortable cars for passenger railroad
travel. By 1880, the company operated cars on 60,000 miles of track across the United States and Canada and its stock was
worth over 6 million dollars. The Pullman Company built manufacturing shops at Detroit and the world's largest car plant
in 1879 at Lake Calumet, Illinois, 14 miles south of Chicago. Adjacent land was purchased and developed as a company town.
In 1881, 12,000 people lived in the town of Pullman. An economic downturn prompted layoffs and pay cuts which led to the unionization
of Pullman workers and a strike at the shops in 1894 to try to force a rollback of wage cuts.
The Pullman Company, as it was renamed in December 1899, was very profitable, particularly in the 1920s. In the 1940s, an
anti-trust lawsuit was brought against Pullman by the U.S. Department of Justice. As the result of an unfavorable ruling in
1943, Pullman was ordered to sell either its operating division, the Pullman Company or its manufacturing division, the
Pullman-Standard Car Company. The Pullman Company along with its 256 parlor cars, over 600 sleeping cars and sleeping car
leasing operations, were sold to a consortium of U.S. railroads on July 1, 1947. However, railroads continued to lease sleeping
cars back to the Pullman Company.
A major downsizing of shops, laundries, and other real estate helped Pullman remain competitive, but business began to decline.
The Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central and other railroads began to withdraw from Pullman service. In 1969, all railroads
with Pullman service cancelled their contracts with Pullman. The company began to sell off its assets, including the inventory
of equipment maintained on each car. Pullman retained a small staff to complete sales and settle lawsuits. The Pullman Company
ceased to exist in 1981.
Barger, Ralph L. A CENTURY OF PULLMAN CARS. 2 vols. Sykesville, Maryland: Greenberg Publishing Company, 1988; 1990.
Pullman Company. ANNUAL REPORTS. 1948-1956, 1969 (calendar year).
White, John H., Jr. THE AMERICAN RAILROAD PASSENGER CAR. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978.
"George Mortimer Pullman." In RAILROADS IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, edited by Robert L. Frey, pp. 335-339. New York: Facts
on File, 1988.
Scope and Content of Collection
This collection is comprised of Pullman Company corporate records collected by historian Ralph Barger. Includes correspondence,
blank forms, requisition forms, property ownership documents, car and equipment forms and other documents. These records
were generated by several Pullman Company departments, including: the Office of the President, the Operating Department, the
Office of Finance and Accounts, the Transportation Department and the Employee and Labor Relations Department. They focus
primarily on the sale of Pullman property and cars in the late 1960s.
Arranged by Pullman Company department.
Record Group 1. Operating Department
Sub-Group 1.1. Purchases and Stores Department
Sub-Group 1.2. Superintendent of Transportation
Record Group 2. Employee and Labor Relations Department
Record Group 3. Office of Finance and Accounts
Sub-group 3.1. Vice-President and Comptroller
Sub-sub-group 3.1.1 Manager of Office Services
Sub-group 3.2. Auditor of Receipts
Record Group 4. Office of the President