Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Walt Whitman PBS documentary - research assistance

From: "Sierra Pettengill" sierra@hhpgroup.com

My name is Sierra Pettengill, and I am currently working on a PBS documentary on Walt Whitman for the "American Experience" history series.

Whitman lived in Camden from 1873 until his death in 1892. He wrote about the Camden and Amboy Railroad:

"The trains of the Camden & Amboy are going by on the track about 50 or 60 rods from here, puffing & blowing – often train after train, following each other – following each other – & locomotives singly, whisking & squealing, up the track & then down again – I often sit and watch them long ... "

We are trying to find some images to illustrate the Camden part of our documentary, and would love to include some Camden & Amboy photographs – either of the Camden station, or the train yards, or the trains themselves. I was hoping that you might have some photographs that would be helpful, or could suggest some possible resources I should contact. ...

Sierra Pettengill
Associate Producer

HiddenHill Productions
432 West 45th Street
5th Floor
New York, NY 10036


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "De Fazio" de_fazio@alum.mit.edu

I seem to recall that there is a wholly representative painting, well-know in our community, showing a Camden & Amboy train at a station, perhaps at the Camden NJ terminal. I also seem to recall that Mr. Broadbelt's rescue of the BLW photo collection included one (or more) C&A locos or scenes.

Over the next few days, in lieu of a response from a quicker correspondent, and if I remember, I'll try to cite sources.

If I am successful in citing sources from my library, and if you are working out of WGBH, then arrangements may possibly be made to show you one or more of these.

Let me also suggest making contact with the West Jersey Chapter of the other society (NRHS) if you have not already done so. It has some members who are both gentlemen and hugely knowledgable of the subject and area.

(Thomas L. De Fazio)

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/16/2007 8:51 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "De Fazio" de_fazio@alum.mit.edu

After reviewing some details about the Camden & Amboy (C&A), I have a potential problem with Walt Whitman's identification of the trains he wrote of. Tell me, when did he write those words at Camden? Where was he watching from? From his home, his front porch, perhaps? And was he living on Mickle Street at the time?

In 1867 the C&A merged with the United NJ Rys. & Canal Co, and was leased to the Pennsylvania RR (for a long time!) in 1871. That is, what had been the C&A was already the PRR before Mr. Whitman came to Camden.

Over the years after the American Civil War, several South Jersey RRs came under the shield of the PRR, including (perhaps I have the names right) the West Jersey and the Camden & Atlantic, as well as the former Camden & Amboy. At some time, the Camden terminal of the PRR moved from Cooper's Point to just south of the foot of Fedral Street. Once the PRR terminated at the ferries at Federal Street, and surely by 1890, all the PRR trains left or entered Camden via a line that ran just north of Mickle Street. So, had Mr. Whitman been watching or listening to PRR trains? If so, then some may have gone toward the old Camden & Amboy route, but others toward Atlantic City, or Pemberton, or perhaps even Long Branch. May some poetic license been used here?

There are lots of pix of the Camden & Amboy locos out there, and a few of them show trains or parts of scenes. They range from the early 1830's through even past the end of the Camden & Amboy as an independent entity. There are also lots of pix of PRR locos and trains made at or near Camden during the Whitman era. H. L. Broadbelt's BLW builder's photos include one Camden & Amboy loco, an 1850 6-2-0 (!) and several very early Camden & Atlantic locos. I'll be no more specific until I have a better idea of what, from what era, you want.

Meanwhile, let me recommend, from the West Jersey Chapter of the NRHS:
John Brinckmann's "NJ's Greatest RR" in "West Jersey Rails" 1983

W. George Cook & William J. Coxey's "Atlantic City RR."

The painting I had spoken of appears in Oliver Jensen's "RRs in America" 1975, American Heritage Pub. Co. It is by E. L. Henry, it depicts ca. 1835, and is so heavily qualified by the author that you'd not use it if you wanted to truly represent 1835.

Let me also recommend Edwin P. Alexander's 1947 "The Pennsylvania Railroad, a Pictorial History," W. W. Norton, NY.


[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/16/2007 8:57 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Craig Miller" craigsem@cruzio.com

The loco "John Bull" was a former Camden & Amboy engine I believe and it is in the Smithsonian. In the 1970's it was run on live steam in Virginia and was covered in "Rail & ?Railfan" magazine. Also contact John White at the Smithsonian – surely there were videos made of the event.

—Craig Miller

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/17/2007 8:15 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "H. Gerald MacDonald" hgmacdonald@hotmail.com

Another book that would be of interest would be John T. Cunningham's "RAILROADS in NEW JERSEY, The Formative Years" ISBN 8-89359-015-0. Chapter 3 deals with the Camden & Amboy.

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

8/17/2007 8:21 AM  

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