Railroads: What’s Your Sign?

Cafe Witteveen (run by friend Jeremy W.) featured a website dedicated to the insignias of railroads long gone by. Honoring my Maryland roots, here’s a Baltimore & Ohio insignia from 1945:

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad insignia (1945). Photo: http://annyas.com/railroad-company-logo-design-evolution/

This reminded me of a job Walker Evans did in 1956 for a Fortune Magazine article entitled “Before They Disappear.”  The film is housed in the Walker Evans Archive at The Metropolitan Museum of art, 1994.259.11.1-155. Interestingly, the Fortune article did not mean “before trains disappear,” but was focusing on older railroad insignias being replaced by mid-century commercial designers, “lurking near, T square poised.”

Metropolitan Museum of Art, Walker Evans Archive, 1994.259.11.1.


About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.

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