Burger (John J.) Collection. 1869-2011.


Summary Information

Repository
New York State Historical Association – Research Library
Title
John J. Burger Collection
ID
Coll. No. 437
Date
1869-2011
Extent
10.5 cubic feet + 1 oversize folder (OVS+)
Language
English
Funding Source
The processing and cataloging of this collection were made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation for South Central New York, Johnson City, N.Y. The finding aid was made available electronically through a Regional Bibliographic Data Bases (RBDB) grant from the South Central Regional Library Council, Ithaca, N.Y.

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Biographical/Historical Note

John J. Burger, who put together this collection of New York State railroad material, worked for many years as chief pharmacist at St. Luke’s Memorial Hospital Center, Utica, N.Y. His personal obsession in life was digging out the stories behind New York State’s railroads and documenting their histories.

Burger’s intrigue with railroads was first established at his grandfather’s cottage at Canadarago Lake, Otsego County, N.Y., where, as a six-year-old boy, he used to sit by the tracks waiting for the daily freight to go by on the Southern New York Electric Railway. One day in 1941, when a wrecking crew came by tearing up the Oneonta-Mohawk line, he knew that the time he spent watching the freight cars was over. In high school, he began hunting through the library for background information on the railway. This search became a lifelong endeavor as he gathered newspaper articles, postcards, photographs, letters, and other primary sources, not only on the Southern New York Electric Railway, but on other New York State railroads. He compiled this exhaustive collection, including the many scrapbooks of photographs, for over 21 years.

After retiring and moving to Jamaica, N.Y., Burger decided to find a permanent home for his entire collection. In 2012 he donated it to the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown, N.Y., where it is now available to railroad enthusiasts and researchers.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of extensive research material related to the Southern New York Electric Railway and other New York State railroads. It contains mostly photograph albums, along with original records of the Southern New York Railway Company and the Otsego & Herkimer Railroad Company, publications, correspondence, photographic negatives, newspaper clippings, and slides, ca. 1869-2008. This includes notes, drafts, and correspondence of William Reed Gordon, who also did research on the Southern New York Railway Company and corresponded with Burger frequently. In addition, the collection contains more than 1000 postcards of Otsego County, N.Y., particularly Richfield Springs. Also contained is a 513 page typescript draft of John J. Burger’s, so far unpublished, “The Leatherstocking Trolley: A Detailed Chronological History of the Southern New York Railway and Its Predecessor Companies.” Note that Burger referred to a sizable portion of his research notes as, “Data on the Leatherstocking Route.”

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Arrangement Note

Series 1. Research Papers. 1901-2008. 3.5 cu. ft. (3.5 boxes)

Series 2. Photograph Albums, Negatives, and Slides. 1869-1981, 2011. 5 cu. ft. (5 boxes)

Series 3. Postcards. 1891-1956. 2 cu. ft. (2.5 boxes)

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

New York State Historical Association – Research Library
Special Collections
P.O. Box 800, 5798 State Highway 80
Cooperstown, NY 13326
(607) 547-1470

 

Copyright Restrictions

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research. If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of fair use, that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Accession Number

NM-11.2012

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Collection Inventory

 Series 1 – Research Papers

 437.1 – Box 1
 437.1/1 — A.
 437.1/2 — B.
 437.1/3 — Brookfield Railway. Notes and an article entitled, “The Railroad Age in Madison County,” by William Conrad Kessler. ca. 1940, undated.
 437.1/4 — C.
 437.1/5 — Commercial and Financial Chronicle.
 437.1/6 — Court cases.
 437.1/7 — D-F.
 437.1/8 — Electric Railway Journal.
 437.1/9 — Electric Traction Magazine.
 437.1/10 — First National Bank of Richfield Springs, N.Y. Letters and other documents.
 437.1/11 — Fort Plain and Richfield Springs railroad / Cooperstown and Northern railroad (1 of 3).
 437.1/12 — Fort Plain and Richfield Springs railroad / Cooperstown and Northern railroad (2 of 3).
 437.1/13 — Fort Plain and Richfield Springs railroad / Cooperstown and Northern railroad (3 of 3).
 437.1/14 — Freeman’s Journal (1 of 3).
 437.1/15 — Freeman’s Journal (2 of 3).
 437.1/16 — Freeman’s Journal (3 of 3).
 437.1/17 — G.
 437.1/18 — Gordon, William Reed. His clippings, notes, and ephemera. 1901-1938, undated.
 437.1/19 — Gordon, William Reed. His maps, notes, photographs, and clippings. 1907-1961, undated.
 437.1/20 — Gordon, William Reed. His notes and correspondence. 1973-1979, undated.
 437.1/21 — Gordon, William Reed. Notes, drafts, and correspondence on the Southern New York Electric Railway for a book he never finished. 1957-1979, undated.
 437.1/22 — H-J.
 437.1/23 — Hartwick Reporter.
 437.1/24 — Henderson House, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, Robinsons, Crugers, Roosevelts, and Alsops. Clippings, correspondence, and notes. 1957-1982.
 437.1/25 — Herkimer County Clerk’s office.
 437.1/26 — Herkimer County Historical Society (N.Y.).
 437.1/27 — Herkimer Evening Telegram.
 437.1/28 — Interstate Commerce Commission dockets and other data from the Association of American Railroads Library.
 437.1/29 — Jennings (Herbert T.) – Raymond (S.K.) trial.
 437.1/30 — K-L.
 437.1/31 — M.
 437.1/32 — N-O.
 437.1/33 — New York State Public Service Commission Reports: 1907-1914.
 437.1/34 — New York State Public Service Commission Reports: 1915-1920.
 437.1/35 — New York State Public Service Commission Reports: 1921-1930.
 437.1/36 — New York State Public Service Commission Reports: 1931-1950.
 437.1/37 — New York State Board of Railroad Commissioners reports: 1882-1906.
 437.1/38 — New York State Tariff Bulletins of the Public Service Commission. Second District.
 437.1/39 — Notes, newspaper clippings, and bus ticket. 1954-1983, undated.
 437.1/40 — Notes on the Huntington family, newspaper clippings, and a road map of Otsego County. 1950-1967, undated.
 437.1/41 — Oneonta Herald (1 of 2).
 437.1/42 — Oneonta Herald (2 of 2).
 437.1/43 — Oneonta Star.
 437.1/44 — Otsego County Clerk’s office.
 437.1/45 — Otsego Farmer (1 of 6).
 437.1/46 — Otsego Farmer (2 of 6).
 437.1/47 — Otsego Farmer (3 of 6).
 437.1/48 — Otsego Farmer (4 of 6).
 437.1/49 — Otsego Farmer (5 of 6).
 437.1/50 — Otsego Farmer (6 of 6).
 437.2 – Box 2
 437.2/1 — P-Q.
 437.2/2 — Public Utilities Reports. New York State.
 437.2/3 — R.
 437.2/4 — Railroad travel passes (photocopies); photograph of trolley station in Jordan, N.Y.; and excerpt from photograph catalog.
 437.2/5 — Richfield Springs Mercury.
 437.2/6 — S.
 437.2/7 — Southern New York Railway. Annual Reports to the New York State Public Service Commission. Abridged data: 1907-1961.
 437.2/8 — Statistical graphs based on financial reports.
 437.2/9 — T-Z.
 437.2/10 — Utica Daily Press.
 437.2/11 — Utica Observer Dispatch.
 437.2/12 — Utica Saturday Globe.
 437.2/13 — Cooperstown and Northern Railway Company. Minute book (photocopies) and Burger’s correspondence relating to it. 1906-1907, 1981-1982.
 437.2/14 — Correspondence. 1951-1959.
 437.2/15 — Correspondence. 1978-1987.
 437.2/16 — Correspondence. A-B. 1953-1979.
 437.2/17 — Correspondence. C-G. 1953-1992.
 437.2/18 — Correspondence. Fort Plain and Richfield Springs railroad / Cooperstown and Northern railroad. 1980-1990.
 437.2/19 — Correspondence. Gordon, William Reed. 1982-1987.
 437.2/20 — Correspondence. H-L. 1952-1995.
 437.2/21 — Correspondence. M-N. 1953-1982.
 437.2/22 — Correspondence. O-R. 1952-1981.
 437.2/23 — Correspondence. S-Z. 1953-1993.
 437.2/24 — Correspondence. Strait, David. 1952-1953.
 437.2/25 — “The Leatherstocking Trolley: A Detailed Chronological History of the Southern New York Railway and Its Earlier Companies,” by John J. Burger. pp. 1-200. 2008.
 437.2/26 — “The Leatherstocking Trolley: A Detailed Chronological History of the Southern New York Railway and Its Earlier Companies,” by John J. Burger. pp. 201-360. 2008.
 437.2/27 — “The Leatherstocking Trolley: A Detailed Chronological History of the Southern New York Railway and Its Earlier Companies,” by John J. Burger. pp. 361-513. 2008.
 437.2/28 — “The Railroad That Never Was,” by John J. Burger. undated.
 437.2/29 — Speech about railroads — “Good afternoon boys and girls …” undated.
 437.2/30 — Speech given after 1971. “Stories of Otsego’s Old Toonerville Line.” undated.
 437.3 – Box 3
 437.3/1 — Employees’ Mutual Benefit Association applications of the Oneonta & Mohawk Valley Railroad Co., Otsego and Herkimer Railroad Co., and Southern New York Power and Railway Corporation. 1907-1927.
 437.3/2 — Employees’ Mutual Benefit Association. Canceled checks. 1931-1932.
 437.3/3 — Otsego & Herkimer Railroad Company. Correspondence. 1915.
 437.3/4 — Otsego & Herkimer Railroad Company. Correspondence. January – June 1916.
 437.3/5 — Otsego & Herkimer Railroad Company. Correspondence. July – December 1916.
 437.3/6 — Otsego & Herkimer Railroad Company / Southern New York Power & Railway Corporation. Correspondence. 1917, 1921.
 437.3/7 — Southern New York Railway. Accident reports. 1917, 1921, undated.
 437.3/8 — Southern New York Railway. Delivery receipts and freight bills. June – August 1940.
 437.3/9 — Southern New York Railway. Delivery receipts and freight bills. August – November 1940.
 437.3/10 — Southern New York Railway. Delivery receipts and freight bills. December 1940 – February 1941.
 437.3/11 — Southern New York Railway. Delivery receipts and freight bills. March – May 1941.
 437.3/12 — Southern New York Railway. Delivery receipts and freight bills. June – August 1941.
 437.3/13 — Southern New York Railway. Delivery receipts and freight bills. August – October 1941.
 437.3/14 — Southern New York Railway. Delivery receipts and freight bills. November 1941 – January 1942.
 437.3/15 — Southern New York Railway. Delivery receipts and freight bills. February – April 1942.
 437.3/16 — Southern New York Railway. Delivery receipts, freight bills, and blank car inspection forms. April – December 1942.
 437.3/17 — Southern New York Railway. Duplicate photo prints.
 437.3/18 — Southern New York Railway. Original railroadiana. 1916-1930, undated.
 437.3/19 — Southern New York Railway. Timetables (photocopied). 1905-1938, undated.
 437.4 – Box 4
 437.4/1 — Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employees of America. Constitution and General Laws. 1925.
 437.4/2 — The Depot Attic. Railroad & Transportation Items. Catalog No. 93. 1982.
 437.4/3 — The Electric Railway Snow Plows Made by the Taunton Locomotive Manufacturing Co. undated.
 437.4/4 — The Linn Manufacturing Corporation. The Linn Tractor (catalog). undated.
 437.4/5 — National Railway Bulletin. Vol. 53, no. 5. 1988.
 437.4/6 — Newspaper clippings. 1951-1958.
 437.4/7 — Newspaper clippings. 1951-1959.
 437.4/8 — Newspaper clippings. 1952-1955.
 437.4/9 — Newspaper clippings. 1952-1963, undated.
 437.4/10 — Newspaper clippings. 1953-1971.
 437.4/11 — Newspaper clippings. 1955-1968.
 437.4/12 — Newspaper clippings and a pamphlet entitled, “The Land Patents of Otsego County,” by Roy L. Butterfield. 1953-1959.
 437.4/13 — Newspaper clippings and ephemera. Otsego County and Southern Herkimer County — general interest. 1954-1980.
 437.4/14 — Newspaper clippings. Southern New York Railway and related. 1952-1975.
 437.4/15 — Oneonta, Cooperstown and Richfield Springs Railway Company. Rules for the Government of Motormen and Conductors. 1901.
 437.4/16 — Otsego County: An Account of Its Agriculture and Its Farm Bureau. Farm Bureau Circular 11. 1923.
 437.4/17 — Railroad Magazine (3 issues). 1937, 1939, 1946.
 437.4/18 — Railroad Magazine (2 issues). 1959, 1962.
 437.4/19 — Railroad Model Craftsman. August 1963, October 1969.
 437.4/20 — Southern New York Power & Railway Corporation. Rules and Regulations for the Government of Employees. 1918.
 437.4/21 — Street and Electric Car Photographs. Catalogue No. 1. Harold D. Forsyth. West Lynn, Mass. 1952.
 437.4/22 — Trains. September 1960.
 437.4/23 — “A 21-Year Love Affair with a Railway.” Article about Burger from The Sunday Observer-Dispatch (Utica, N.Y.). Oct. 27, 1974.

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 Series 2 – Photograph Albums, Negatives, and Slides

 437.4 – Box 4
 437.4/24 — Fort Plain and Richfield Springs railroad. Color slides. 1980.
 437.4/25 — Notecards (5 x 8″) from slide show given at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. Slides are also in collection. 1975.
 437.4/26 — Tuller Hotel demolition photographs and negatives. 1953.
Kodak slides box — contains about 125 slides, black and white (b&w) and Kodachrome, of the Southern New York Railway trolley line, from its inception until 1971 when the final segment was dismantled at Oneonta, N.Y. The b&w slides were made from Telfer photos and others, by Douglas Preston.
 437.5 – Box 5
Photograph albums. Volumes 1-10. “The Leatherstocking Route.”
 437.6 – Box 6
Photograph albums. Volumes 11-19. “The Leatherstocking Route.”
 437.7 – Box 7
Photograph albums. Volumes 20-27. “The Leatherstocking Route.”
 437.8 – Box 8
Photograph album. Volume 28. “The Leatherstocking Route.”
Photograph album. Volume 29. Dismantling Southern New York Railway. August – September 1971.
Photograph album. Volume 30. Dismantling Southern New York Railway. July – August 1971.
Railroadiana of “The Leatherstocking Route.” Volume 31.
Photograph album. Volume 32. “The Railroad That Never Was.” Images taken in 1981, with accompanying text.
Railroadiana of “The Leatherstocking Route.” Volume 33.
Railroadiana of “The Leatherstocking Route.” Volume 34.
[Volume 35 — see Box 11].
 437.9 – Box 9
 437.9/1 — Photographs and negatives of employees of hotels – The Tuller, Tunnicliffe Cottage, and Garden of the Mills – all in Richfield Springs. 1905-1910.
 437.9/2 — Negatives. Abandoned Southern New York roadbeds, Otsego and Herkimer Counties. 1950s – 1970s.
 437.9/3 — Negatives / Fort Plain and Richfield Springs Railroad abandoned roadbed, 1981. Bulk 1960s.
 437.9/4 — Negatives. 1955, 1956, 1969, undated.
 437.9/5 — Negatives / Abandoned trolley railroad — Southern New York Railway. 1956, 1957, undated.
 437.9/6 — Negatives and related Otsego material. Southern New York Railway.
 437.9/7 — Southern New York Railway prints and postcards. Duplicates and miscellaneous. [File No. 1].
 437.9/8 — Southern New York Railway duplicates. [File No. 1].
 437.9/9 — Negatives. Southern New York Railway. [File No. 1].
 437.9/10 — Copy negatives. Southern New York Railway. [File No. 1].
 437.9/11 — Copy negatives. Southern New York Railway / Steam and electric / H.T. Jennings portrait negative.
 437.9/12 — Color negatives. Southern New York Railway. Abandonment operations, West Oneonta, N.Y. August 1971.
 437.9/13 — Negatives. [Vol. 2?].

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 Series 3 – Postcards

 437.9 – Box 9
 437.9/14 — Postcards (loose). Richfield Springs, N.Y., and Canadarago Lake. ca. 1900-1910.
 437.9/15 — Postcards (loose). Richfield Springs, N.Y., and Canadarago Lake. ca. 1900-1910.
 437.9/16 — Postcards (loose). Richfield Springs, N.Y., and Canadarago Lake. ca. 1900-1910.
 437.9/17A — Postcards (loose). Richfield Springs, N.Y., and Canadarago Lake. ca. 1900-1910.
 437.9/17B — Postcards (loose). Richfield Springs, N.Y., and Canadarago Lake. ca. 1900-1910.
 437.9/18 — Postcards (loose). Richfield Springs, N.Y., and Canadarago Lake. ca. 1900-1910.
 437.10 – Box 10
Postcard Album No. 1. Includes images of Jordanville, Oneonta, Cooperstown, Richfield Springs, Herkimer, and Mohawk, N.Y., featuring hotels, landmarks, etc. Many are photographs. 1900-1952.
Postcard Album No. 2. Contains images of Richfield Springs, Cooperstown (including The Farmers’ Museum), Herkimer, Jordanville, and Oneonta, N.Y., featuring landmarks, hotels, etc. 1900-1956.
[Postcard Album No. 3 — See Box 11].
Postcard Album No. 4. Contains mostly photographic postcards of Laurens, Cooperstown, Richfield Springs, Canadarago Lake, Jordanville, Oneonta, Fly Creek, Oaksville, Index, Mt. Vision, Hartwick, and Schuyler Lake Village, featuring landmarks, fairs, events, fires, parades, etc. Also contains images of Theodore Roosevelt, and documents concerning several hotels. 1900-1956.
Postcard Album No. 5. Includes postcards of Cooperstown people and locations, and Otsego Lake, along with ephemera. 1891-1950s.
Postcard Album No. 6. Primarily a collection of Oneonta postcards, along with Colliersville, Goodyear Lake, and Hartwick. Includes many hop-picking scenes. 1900-1950s.
Employees Mutual Benefit Association (E.M.B.A.). Written journals containing data on receipts, disbursements, general information, and activities data, including copies of letters. Volume 1. January 1927 – December 1934.
Employees Mutual Benefit Association (E.M.B.A.). Written journals containing data on receipts, disbursements, general information, and activities data, including copies of letters. Volume 2. January 1920 – March 1926.
Employees Mutual Benefit Association (E.M.B.A.). Written journals containing data on receipts, disbursements, general information, and activities data, including copies of letters. Volume 3 – Active members list, September 1, 1931. Notes on meetings of March 21, 1931, and October 19, 1933, held to sell their hall in Hartwick, N.Y., and disband the Association. 1931, 1933.
Hartwick National Bank. Check writing book containing stubs from July 1926 to December 16, 1934. Also contains copy of inventory taken of the E.M.B.A. Hall, Hartwick, N.Y., January 1, 1931. 1926-1934.
 437.11 – Box 11
Postcard Album No. 3. Contains images of Oneonta, Cooperstown, Richfield Springs, Jordanville, Mohawk, Herkimer, Hartwick, and Fly Creek, N.Y. Most images are photographs of landmarks, fairs, events, fires, parades, Ulster & Delaware and D. & H. railroads, and snow scenes, with many rare views.
Photograph Album. Volume 35. Southern New York Railway. Dispatcher’s Record of Movement of trains, Oneonta & Mohawk Valley Railroad Co. Auditor records, newspaper clippings, and loose photographs.
 437.001 — Oversize Folder (OVS+)
U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps of Otsego County. 1900-1943.
Railroad company timetables. Oneonta, Cooperstown and Richfield Springs Railway Company, Otsego and Herkimer Railroad Company, and Southern New York Railway.
“A Classification of Farms by Areas in Otsego County,” Cornell Economic Land Classification Leaflet 11. 1965.

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