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Dockery (Robert C.) Photographs and Negatives
MS 856  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Accruals
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Availability
  • Preferred Citation
  • Scope and Contents
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: California State Railroad Museum Library & Archives
    Title: Robert C. Dockery photographs and negatives
    creator: Dockery, Robert C., 1945-2004
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 856
    Physical Description: 3.173 Linear Feet (2 record cartons, 1 manuscript box, and 2 negative boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1848-2002
    Abstract: Collection consists of photographs and negatives both collected and taken by Robert C. Dockery, including images of railroads, movies, locations, and other subjects.
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Location: Big Four Building

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection is open for research by appointment.


    No additions are expected.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift from Charlie Siebenthal, 2015.


    Collection is arranged into two series:
    Series 1. Photographs Series 2. Negatives
    Series 1 is arranged alphabetically by subject. Series 2 is currently unidentified and unsorted.

    Biographical / Historical

    Robert "Bob" Dockery (1945-2004) was born and raised in Stockton, California. His interest in photography as an art form developed as a young adult. This led him to take a mail order course in photography from a prestigious New York school in which he received a graduation certificate. Bob gradually accumulated a number of cameras and an enlarger which he modified to allow him to produce 11x14 prints. What is noteworthy about his developing and printing efforts is that they were carried out in the small one-car garage attached to his family home. The garage was not insulated or air-conditioned, thus the city of Stockton's hot summer temperatures limited his work to the periods of late fall to early spring. His love for his photography equipment was second only to his love for his Thunderbird. Since Bob was six-foot-four in height, he had to wait until the Thunderbird evolved from a true sports car to the larger early version of a sports coup. Later in life, Bob had the car restored and it was in perfect condition upon his death. Bob's interest in railroads and proximity to the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento led him to make railroad subjects a primary interest. His warm, friendly personality soon gave him access to the museum's restoration shop and a life-long acquaintance with the staff of Short Line Enterprises who were under contract to restore the Museum's collection of 1800's era locomotives and rail cars. This small company had acquired a number of early era pieces of railroad equipment from motion pictures studios. They took over railroad operations for many motion picture scenes and Bob was soon invited to take behind-the-scenes photographs, which led to his interest in the Sierra Railroad and his large collection of photos of their equipment. Upon completion of their contract with CSRM, Short Line Enterprises moved to Carson City under contract to restore some of the Nevada State Railroad Museum's collection of Virginia and Truckee Railroad equipment, most of which had been saved from the same motion picture lots as the Short Line collection. This led to three decades of photographing the Virginia & Truckee Railroad's surviving equipment but, more importantly, his interest in the history of the V&T Railroad and the geographical areas it served. Bob became an active member of the V&T History Workshop group and attended all of the Virginia & Truckee Symposiums. His presentations at the latter event were greatly appreciated by all. Bob actively searched for photographs to support his interests and assembled a large collection of copy negatives from multiple sources. His willingness to share prints from this collection was one of his greatest gifts to V&T railfans.
    Written by Charlie Siebenthal.


    Collection is open for research by appointment. Some restrictions may apply. Please give staff one week's advance notice.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Robert C. Dockery Photographs and Negatives, MS 856, California State Railroad Museum Library and Archives, Sacramento, California.

    Scope and Contents

    The Robert C. Dockery Photographs and Negatives consist of photographs and negatives both collected and taken by Robert C. Dockery from 1848-2002. They include images of various railroads, movies, locations, and subjects mainly pertaining to Northern California and Nevada. The photographs are arranged in alphabetical order by subject, while the negatives are currently unidentified and unsorted.
    Of particular interest are Dockery's images of movies, in which he was invited on various sets and allowed to take photographs with his camera.

    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 Library & Archives. 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.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Motion Pictures--Transportation--Railroad
    Photograph collections
    Photography of railroads
    Railroads in moving-pictures
    Sierra Railroad Company
    Southern Pacific Company
    Virginia & Truckee Railroad