Illinois Central Railroad Company Records

Institution: Newberry Library
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: 312-255-3506
Date: 1851-1972
Extent: 532.5 Linear Feet
Finding Aid

Biographical/Historical Note:
With origins dating from an 1830s Illinois-sponsored program of internal improvements, the Illinois Central Railroad (IC), based in Chicago, was chartered in 1851 to take advantage of the Federal Land Grant Act of 1850 and build a north-south line in Illinois from Chicago to Cairo. In advertising and selling lands along its route, the IC was a catalyst for growth in the central and southern regions of Illinois, attracting thousands of settlers and laying the foundations for agricultural, industrial, and urban development. The company had a significant impact on the growth of Chicago and the development of its lakeshore. Expanding west to Iowa and into the southern states, the IC became the primary passenger and freight link between the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico.

Scope and Content Note:
The collection documents the company's history with correspondence, minutes, reports, log books, financial information, stock documents, maps, blueprints, sketches, ephemeral material, and photographs. Development of the railroad in downstate Illinois and in Mississippi (and some other Southern states, specifically Louisiana) is especially well-documented, although there is also significant material relating to Chicago and Iowa.

Related Material: None