Inventory of the Theodore Dehone Judah Family Collection MS 2

Processed by Blaine Lamb; machine-readable finding aid created by James Ryan
California State Railroad Museum Library & Archives
© 1999

Contributing Institution: California State Railroad Museum Library & Archives
Title: Theodore Dehone Judah family collection
Creator: Judah, Theodore D. (Theodore Dehone), 1826-1863
Creator: Judah, Anna Ferona Pierce
Identifier/Call Number: MS 2
Physical Description: 1 Linear Feet (1 record carton, 1 oversize box)
Date (inclusive): 1850-1950
Abstract: The collection consists of biographical materials, business and personal letters to the Judah, and business documents pertaining to the California Eastern Extension Railroad, ephemera relating to the family, portraits of Theodore D. Judah, and books from his library.
Physical Location: Statewide Museum Collections Center: I2.I2.208.S9 [Box 1], I2.210.E2 [Box 2]
Language of Material: English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research by appointment. Contact Library Staff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts of Benair M. Titus and Elijah W. Titus, Jr. in 1979, 2007, 2008, 2009; Richard L. Pierce; and Stephen Drew.


The collection is organized by type of material. Letters, biographical items, business papers, photographs, and ephemera are arranged in numbered folders. The books and a packet of pressed flowers are contained in a separate document box.

Historical Background

Theodore Dehone Judah was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on March 1, 1826. He studied at Rennselear Polytechnic Institute and entered the engineering profession, working on a number of eastern railroads. While employed as engineer for the Buffalo, New York and Erie Railroad, he became acquainted with Colonel Charles L. Wilson, who offered him a position as chief engineer with the Sacramento Valley Railroad in California.
Judah and his wife, Anna, sailed for California in 1854. Soon after their arrival, Theodore became an ardent promoter of a rail line across the Sierra Nevada. In 1856, the couple returned to the east, where Theodore lobbied unsuccessfully in Washington, D.C., for federal support for a transcontinental railroad. The Judah then returned to California where he continued to promote his plan and conduct surveys in the Sierra.
In October 1859, Judah was sent by the Pacific Railroad Convention back to Washington to lobby for transcontinental railroad legislation, and again was unsuccessful. After returning to California in 1861 however, he succeeded in convincing Sacramento merchants Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins, Leland Stanford and Charles Crocker to fund his Sierra Nevada surveys. Judah joined with them in the incorporation of the Central Pacific Railroad in June 1861. In October of that year the Central Pacific sent him back to Washington for a third lobbying attempt. This time Judah succeeded, and on July 1, 1862, President Lincoln signed legislation authorizing construction of a railroad to California. The Judah stayed in the east and Theodore served as the Central Pacific's purchasing agent. They returned to California in January 1863. That September Theodore sold out his interest in the railroad following a dispute with Huntington and the other investors. Judah and his wife then left for the east, where he hoped to raise enough funds to buy the Central Pacific back from his former partners. On the trip across the Isthmus of Panama, he contracted yellow fever, and died in New York City on November 2, 1863. Anna Judah outlived her husband by almost thirty-two years, dying on September 2, 1895.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Theodore Dehone Judah Family Collection, MS 2, California State Railroad Museum Library and Archives, Sacramento, California.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of biographical materials, including a handwritten biographical memoir of Theodore Judah, possibly by Anna, business and personal letters to the Judah, business documents, materials pertaining to the California Eastern Extension Railroad, ephemera relating to the family, portraits of Theodore D. Judah, and books from his library.

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 Senior Curator. 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.


Galloway, John D. "Theodore Dehone Judah: Railroad Pioneer," Civil Engineering, Vol. 2 (October-November 1941), pp. 586-588; 648-651.
Hinckley, Helen. Rails From the West: A Biography of Theodore D. Judah. San Marino, Calif.: Golden West Books, 1969.
Wheat, Carl I. "A Sketch of the Life of Theodore D. Judah," California Historical Society Quarterly, (September 1925), pp. 218-269.

Box 1, Folder 1

Theodore D. Judah Biography: Printed obituary memoir of Theodore D. Judah by Theodore H. Hittell, from Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 5 pages, not dated; Handwritten biographical sketch of Theodore D. Judah, probably by Anna F. Judah, 12 pages, not dated.

Box 1, Folder 2

Letters to Theodore D. Judah: Dallas McIntosh, Hong Kong, December 9, 1859, concerning the possibility that the two men were related; R. Brainerd [?], Norwalk, [Connecticut], not dated, concerning personal and family matters, as well as events in Connecticut and the east.

Box 1, Folder 3

California Eastern Extension Railroad: Letter: C. L. Wilson to TDJ, San Francisco, August 1, 1859, agreeing to furnish labor and materials for the railroad; Treasurer's receipt, San Francisco, September 10, 1859, for money received by TDJ for sale of stock in the railroad; Statements, "What I Want," not dated, possibly by TDJ, presenting a request and proposal for completing the grading of the railroad (includes a typed transcript); $1,000 bond and coupons of the California Eastern Extension Railroad Company, October 1, 1859.

Box 1, Folder 4

Other Theodore D. Judah business papers: Lease agreement, Buffalo, [New York], March 21, 1853, for rental of a house to Theodore D. Judah; warranty deed, John J. Pierce to Theodore D. Judah, not dated, for property in Niagara, New York.

Box 1, Folder 5

Anna P. Judah personal papers: three letters on one sheet from family members to Anna and Theodore Judah, Greenfield, Massachusetts, November 1850; letter, Anna [P. Judah] to [family], Sacramento, January 12, 1869, concerning family matters.; invitation to Mrs. Judah from the Governor General of Canada and Princess Louise to a ball, February 19, 1879; invitation to Mrs. Judah from the Governor General of Canada and Princess Louise to attend "Theatricals," Ottawa, April 16, 1879.

Box 1, Folder 6

Anna P. Judah business papers: deed, George M. Davis to Anna Judah, February 24, 1879, for property in Roseville, California; letter, C[ollis] P[otter] Huntington to Anna Judah, New York, January 2, 1884, concerning payment of Berkeley Branch Railroad Company bond coupons; letter, C[ollis] P[otter] Huntington to Anna Judah, New York, July 1, 1885, concerning payment of Berkeley Branch Railroad Company bond coupons; letter: I. E. Gates to Anna Judah, New York, February 13, 1889, concerning an advance payment on Berkeley Branch Railroad Company bonds.

Box 1, Folder 7

Miscellaneous documents: handwritten document: "An act to amend an act entitled An act to provide for the incorporation of rail road companies, passed April 22, 1853 and amended May 15, 1854"; sketch, pen on paper, plans for pier "C" possibly by Theodore D. Judah; clipping, poem "Epics of Old California," not dated; page from The Churchman magazine, May 17, 1890, containing a notice that Mrs. Leland Stanford had ordered a memorial window; handwritten portion of "Amended general railroad law," with printed notice attached, not dated; carbon copy of a letter: Charlotte Boles to Gladys P. Pierce, Wilmington, Delaware, April 27, 1950, transmitting a copy of the script for the radio play "Crazy Judah," with a 32-page copy of the script.

Box 1, Folder 8

Photographs: carte-de-visite of Theodore D. Judah; portrait of Theodore D. Judah; photostats of a printed portrait of Theodore D. Judah (2 sheets)

Box 1, Folder 9

Photographic reproductions of letters (1861, 1863) from the Amos Catlin Collection at the California State Library, Sacramento. Two of the letters are from Judah to his wife, Anna, and describe his surveying activities in the Sierra Nevada. The third is from Judah to Samuel S. Montague appointing him as Chief Engineer of the Central Pacific Railroad. [Formerly MS 1.63]. FOR REPRODUCTIONS, PLEASE CONTACT THE CALIFORNIA STATE LIBRARY.

Box 2

Ambrotype (in case) of Theodore D. Judah

Box 2

Books with Theodore D. Judah autographs: Household Surgery, Or Hints On Emergencies, by John F. South, 4th edition (London: G. Cox, 1853); The Philosophy of Health, by Southwood Smith, 2 volumes (London: C. Cox, 1851).

Box 2

Book inscribed to Theodore D. Judah: Adele: A Tale, by Julia Kavanagh (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1856).

Box 2

One packet of dried pressed flowers, with the inscription, "Sent to mother by her children Theodore & Anna Judah. Sent fr. Cal. In 1854."

Box 2

Book inscribed by A. Judah: Cottage Lectures, Or the Pilgrim's Progress Practically Explained. (Philadelphia: American Sunday School Union, 1849). Gift of Richard L. Pierce.