Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (57.36 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
The John Gerrard Graham Photograph Collection includes over 7,700 photographs and 4,730 negatives from the collection of San Francisco transit historian John Gerrard Graham (1917–1995). The collection consists of two groups of images: original photographs and negatives photographed by Graham from approximately 1936 to 1994 and official company and agency photographs (some being copy images of operations of early San Francisco street railways). The strength of the collection is in its documentation of San Francisco street railways from the late 1930s through the late 1950s including operations of the Market Street Railway, Municipal Railway of San Francisco and the California Street Cable Railroad Company.
John Gerrard Graham was born on November 14, 1917 in San Francisco to John Gerrard Graham and Kittie Gerrard Fowler Graham. Graham was a graduate of Lick-Wilmerding High School (1935) where he studied machine shop and mechanical design. Upon graduation he went to work for the Enterprise Engine and Foundry Company as an apprentice machinist. Pursuing a lifelong fascination with the street railways of San Francisco, in 1942 Graham went to work part-time for the Market Street Railway in addition to his machine shop job. A few years later, Graham began work as a conductor and within a year became a motorman. His knowledge and interest in mechanical matters persisted and he started to make repairs on cars at the end of the line. Graham then became employed as a “shop man” in the Turk and Fillmore Car House. After the consolidation of the Market Street Railway into the Municipal Railway of San Francisco in 1944, the Fillmore barn closed on July 31, 1948. Graham was assigned to the Funston Yard, which served as the “bone yard” where retired Market Street Railway cars were prepared for scrapping. After the closing of Funston Yard in 1949, Graham transferred to the Muni’s new electric trolley coach shop at Potrero Car House, where he worked until his retirement. Graham was fatally injured on December 9, 1995 when crossing Fourth and Townsend Streets to board a Muni bus at CalTrain Station.
15 cartons and 1 oversize box (approximately 7,700 photographic prints and 4,730 negatives)
All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted in writing to the Photo Curator. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.
The collection is available for use during Photo Desk hours.