Ask a Librarian

Air and Rail, 1944

by Alethea Drexler, archives assistant
Guess what?
I found a new cache this week and it’s too beautiful not to share.  The following come from a series of items related to the early days of the newly-founded Texas Medical Center, when the M.D. Anderson Foundation had development grants and was looking for ways to spend them[1].  An organization called the River Oaks Corporation sent a representative, a man named Herbert Kipp, on a tour of hospitals in other major cities, to observe, take notes, and collect information on floorplans and amenities.  From one of the letters that came with the receipts, it appears that it was acting on behalf of a group of doctors who were thinking of building a clinic in the Medical Center[2].  Mr. Kipp’s trip lasted almost a month in September and October, 1944, and took him to Indianapolis, Chicago, Madison, Wisconsin; Ann Arbor, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Rochester, New York; New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Virginia; and Durham, North Carolina[3].  He saved his receipts, which showed up this week as I worked on the Texas Medical Center collection (it doesn’t look like everything survived, but there is enough to be interesting).
I also found a lot of fun links while I was writing this post.  I love it when I find fun links.
One of the most spectacular pieces is the American Airlines ticket envelope:

American Airlines

Here is the back and the inside of the flap.  Mr. Kipp didn’t use American for the first leg of his trip, as the airline didn’t provide flights to Houston at the time.  The “Palmer House” listed as the pick-up location on the envelop flap may be the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago[4]:
Route map

He may, however, have left Houston by rail.  There’s a song[5] that includes the line, “Just like the circle says, ‘Southern serves the South.'[6]”
Southern Railway System

He also used the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad[7] while he was in the Northeast.  Notice the modern diesel-electric engine[8].
New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad

This Missouri Pacific[9] envelope has a classic wartime design, complete with patriotic banners, V for Victory[10], and woman in utility clothing[12].  It also has a Pullman porter[13]:
Missouri Pacific

The last envelope is from the Erie Railroad[14]
Erie Railroad

He even saved his cash fare receipts[15].  It looks as thought each railroad had its own configuration for receipts.  Some were apparently punched by a conductor but one wonders if the oddly-shaped ones were punched by a machine of some sort.
The Atlanta and West Point Railroad is an early root of the CSX family tree[16].
Cash fare receipts

Kipp made some notes about his travel schedule that show he also used flights #11 and #31 on Eastern Airlines[17], although his ticket envelope didn’t make it into our hands.
Travel schedule

This schedule is written on the back of his itemized receipt from the Sir Walter Hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina[18].  The room was $3.00 a night, and he got charged ten cents for use of the phone.
Sir Walter Hotel

The Raleigh was apparently part of a network of high-end hotels operating in the southeastern United States.
Notice Atlanta’s Hotel Winecoff at the bottom of the left-hand column.  Two years after Mr. Kipp’s visit, on December 7, 1946, the Winecoff would be the site of what is still the deadliest hotel fire in U.S. history.  One hundred and nineteen people died because the building, which was allegedly fireproof, lacked both fire escapes and a sprinkler system[21].  Like New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911[22], the Winecoff fire would prompt another round of building code advancements.
Works consulted:
[1] Texas Medical Center: History.
[2] Texas Medical Center Library, John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center, Institutional Collection #2: Texas Medical Center, series I, box 25, folder 19.
[3] Texas Medical Center Library, John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center, Institutional Collection #2: Texas Medical Center, series I, box 25, folder 19.
[4] Palmer House Hilton.
[5] Norman Blake, “Slow Train Through Georgia”, on Mudcat.
[6] Southern Railway Historical Association.
[7] New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association.
[8] Diesel engine, Wikipedia.
[9] Missouri Pacific Historical Society.
[11] National World War II Museum, knitting patterns.
[12] Fashion is a Vampire: WWII Fashion
[13] A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum.
[14] Western New York Railroad Archives: Erie Railroad
[15] New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association: Cash fare receipts
[16] [RailGeorgia]: Atlanta & West Point Railroad
[17] U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission: Eastern Airlines
[18] National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Raleigh, North Carolina: Sir Walter Hotel
[20] Winecoff Hotel fire documentary
[21] Winecoff Hotel, Wikipedia
[22] Cornell University: Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire
[23] Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Wikipedia
[24] City of Marietta, Georgia