Baltimore: John Murphy & Co., 1853. Hardcover. First edition. Scarce. The Baltimore & Ohio railroad was the first railway in the United States to be chartered as a common carrier of freight and passengers in 182. The B&O Railroad Company was established by Baltimore merchants to compete with New York merchants and their newly opened Erie Canal for trade to the west. A driving force in its early years was the Baltimore banker George Brown, who served as treasurer from 1827 until 1834 and had Ross Winans build the first real railroad car, the Tom Thumb, the first American-built locomotive to operate in regular service. The first stone for the line was laid on July 4, 1828, by Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. The first 13 miles of line, from Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland, opened in 1830. Peter Cooper’s steam locomotive, the Tom Thumb, ran over this line and demonstrated to doubters that steam traction was feasible on the steep, winding grades. The railroad was extended to Wheeling, Virginia (now in West Virginia), a distance of 379 miles, in 1852. In the 1860s and ’70s the railroad reached Chicago and St. Louis. In 1896 it went bankrupt. After it was reorganized in 1899, it grew further, reaching Cleveland and Lake Erie in 1901. In 1963 the B&O was acquired by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company and in 1980 became part of the newly formed CSX Corporation. In 1987 the B&O was dissolved when it merged into the Chesapeake and Ohio. [Encyclopedia Britannica}.Carroll desired to provide this comprehensive history to "redound to the honor of the State of Maryland and the City of Baltimore.
Bound in three quarter red leather with the name Edward Hungerford stamped in gilt to front cover. This was his book, with his bookplate on a free front endpaper and his ownership signature in pencil dated 1924. Edward Hungerford (1875-1948) was an American author and journalist whose main interest was railroads, about which he wrote frequently. In 1925, Hungerford approached Daniel Willard, the president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and offered to write a history of the company, which was shortly to reach its centenary. Willard not only took up the suggestion, but also hired Hungerford to be the B&O's centennial director. Hungerford had seen a railroad celebration in England and created an extravagant exhibition at a park outside Baltimore. The "Fair of the Iron Horse" opened on February 28, 1927, including displays and a two-hour play, Pageant of The Iron Horse. It drew crowds averaging 50,000 a day. "His success in Baltimore became his chief calling card,"He created five more transportation pageants during the 1930s including the Rochester Centennial of 1934, the Parade of the Years Pageant in 1936 in Cleveland; and lastly "Railroads on Parade". The railroad display at the fair, which lasted until 1940, presented steam, electric and diesel engines brought from Canada, England and Italy. The attraction drew 2.6 million visitors during its two-year run. Hungerford traveled annually more than 75,000 rail miles "just for the fun of it." [Wikipedia]
The book's red leather is scuffed and slightly bumped, with gilt title and date to spine compartments. The interior pages are clean and bright with light aging to margins. The book was published with a map and six portrait engravings. The map, which has a tear in one panel and a few loose panel seams shows the railroad's route between Baltimore and St, Louis. Three of the six engraved portraits are missing (McLane, Swann, Latrobe) but Brown, Carroll, and Thomas are still present. Still a very good copy of this useful history with important provenance. 200 pages. RAIL/011621. Very Good.