North Adams, Mass. 01247

Compiled by Gary Smith, MLS ~ May 2003

(c) 2003 North Adams Public Library


First Page
Physical Description
Explanations and                       Abbreviations  
Notes on the Collection
Historical Notes
Materials Descriptions:
   Stereoviews: Card

   Stereoviews on paper
       (positive and negative prints)
   Engineering Drawings              and Statistics                                      (single sheets)
   Drawings and Printed                Illustrations
   Books, Pamphlets, and              Reports
      (cataloged in NAPL OPAC)
       (not cataloged in NAPL OPAC)

    (cataloged in NAPL OPAC)
     (not cataloged in NAPL OPAC)

     (cataloged in NAPL OPAC)

     (bound & cat. in NAPL OPAC)

  Letters (1875-1951)
  Newpaper Clippings and            Articles, etc. 
  Video Recordings
  Hoosac Tunnel Centennial       and Post-Centennial              Materials


        The Hoosac Tunnel Collection at North Adams Public Library documents the construction (1852-1873) and subsequent history of the Hoosac Tunnel in western Massachusets along the Troy and Greenfield Railroad line.  The Hoosac Tunnel Collection is not an organic collection.  It is a collection of the disparate materials that have found their way into the North Adams Public Library through various means, not always documented or remembered.  Some of the materials were donated by William Bradford Browne, a local historian, although there is no documentation of which ones he donated.  Some of the materials were donated by his daughter, Ruth Blackinton Browne, the former director of the North Adams Public Library and member of the Hoosac Tunnel Centennial Committee.  Many more of the materials were probably donated by Ruth  Browne, but their provenance can not be determined. Many of the objects will be listed in the future as part of the Ruth Browne collection (the whole of which has not been arranged or described as of yet), although they will be listed as well in the finding aid of the Hoosac Tunnel Collection.  The finding aid is intended to facilitate the user's ability to locate all the materials in the library that are related to the tunnel, including not only unique archival materials dating back to the nineteenth century, but also books written up to the present time.  These materials are kept in various locations in the library, notable in flat files, vertical files, document cases, the vault, and stacks.  The North Adams Public Library will be undergoing a renovation in the spring of 2003, and all materials will be moved temporarily offsite; therefore, it is not possible at this time to cite a permanent location for many of the materials. 

        The collection consists of photographs (chiefly from the 1860s and 1870s), stereographs, negatives, postcards, drawings, prints, mechanical drawings, land plans and maps, engineers' notebooks and reports, one broadsheet, news clippings, scrapbooks, microfilm, letters, books, journals, pamphlets, reports from legislative hearings, railroad company reports to stockholders, a copper printing block, and various objects such as railroad spikes, an electric fuse exploder (blasting cap), and mineral samples from the Hoosac Tunnel.  Individuals who created, published, or received the materials include George Mordey Mowbray (1814-1891), a chemist and expert in nitroglycerin;  A. [Augustus] W. Locke , engineer in charge of the east end of the tunnel; E. A. [Edward Austin] Bond (1849-1929), assistant engineer; Thomas Doane (1821-1897), chief engineer from 1863-1867, and consulting engineer from 1873-1877;  Benjamin D. Frost, chief state engineer during the Shanly contract of 1869-1874; John M. Bazan, who wrote pamphlets on the Hoosac Tunnel and collected original materials such as photographs;  William Bradford Browne (b.1875), local historian and father of Ruth B. [Blackinton] Browne;  Ruth B. Browne (1923-2002),  librarian at North Adams Public Library, secretary of the Hoosac Tunnel Centennial Committee (founded 1971), and  secretary of the Hoosac Tunnel Historical Association (founded 1973); and nineteenth-century photographers (W.P.) Hurd & Smith, H.D. Ward, Hurd & Ward, H.M. Ramsdell, John S. Moulton, E.D. Merriam, George W. Moore, and Bretton Perry.   The library also possesses published items by the seminal figures in the Hoosac Tunnel debate, F.W. (Francis William) Bird (1809-1894), Alvah Crocker (1801-1874), and Herman Haupt (1817-1905).