ELMER ORVILLE DAVIS PAPERS
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The Elmer Orville Davis Papers consist of his research and writing on railroading and related topics in the United States with an emphasis on Colorado. Manuscripts and research material for his series of articles, Seventy-five Years Ago, comprise the bulk of the collection. Research material consists of notebooks, maps, tables of track laid, railroad schedules, diaries and newspaper clippings. Manuscripts include The First Five Years of the Railroad Era in Colorado, published in 1947, and two unpublished volumes, The Second Five Years of the Railroad Era in Colorado and The Third Five Years of the Railroad Era in Colorado. These books are compilations of his articles published in the Engineers' Bulletin (trade magazine) and the Colorado Historical Society's Colorado Magazine. Briefs, historical research and invoices for two lawsuits are also included.
Manuscript and annotated copies of Seventy-five Years Ago along with research material comprise this series.
This series contains manuscripts and materials for The First Five Years of the Railroad Era of Colorado. Incomplete manuscripts for The Second Five Years of the Railroad Era of Colorado and The Third Five Years of the Railroad Era of Colorado and research material are included.
Research material consists of railroad schedules, publications, correspondence, maps, notes, charts, flyers, railroad tickets and railroad memorabilia. A majority of his notes and transcripts are compiled in notebooks. He conducted research on numerous railroad companies including: the Colorado and Southern Railroad Company, Denver and Rio Grande Western Railway, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, Union Pacific Railroad Company, Southern Pacific Railroad Company and the Santa Fe Railroad Company.
The series consists of briefs, newspaper clippings, billing time sheets and research notes.
Material from the Union Pacific Old Timers Club and Cowboy Hall of Fame comprises the series. Papers include correspondence, a transcript of a testimonial speech, newspaper clippings, a banquet program, a monument description and a request for nominations.
A limited number of photographic prints and negatives acquired by Davis in the course of his research comprises the series. Included are images of abandoned, former railroad sites and display locomotives. The series also includes images of a device Davis created to assist him in adding identification to photographs while shooting in the field.
The collection is open for research.
The Elmer Orville Davis Papers are the physical property of the Denver Public Library.
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.
Born in 1884, E. O. Davis graduated from the University of Nebraska, where he studies engineering. In 1905, the Burlington Northern Railroad hired him. In 1906, he relocated to Denver because the Union Pacific Railroad Company hired him as a civil engineer. Davis supervised the construction of coal mine tracks in norther Colorado, and the overpasses and underpasses in Denver and along the Union Pacific line. During his career, Davis actually walked every foot of track laid during the first five years of the railroad era in Colorado with the exception of the Denver and Rio Grande tracks from Denver to Pueblo. (This period became the subject of his book published in 1947). In 1945, Davis retired from his position of Office and Division Engineer with the Union Pacific Railroad Company.
Davis's interest in railroading carried over from his work to a personal investigation into railroading history. In 1945, the Engineering Bulletin, a trade magazine for the industry, began publishing his historical articles
Seventy-five Years Ago. Davis wrote these articles from accounts he gathered through newspaper articles and diaries of the time. The magazine published his articles until 1957. In 1947 Davis's book, The First Five Years of the Railroad Era in Colorado was published. Davis compiled material from his articles for two additional books on Colorado railroading history. His articles also appeared in Colorado Magazine
In 1955, a legal firm, Knowles and Shaw, hired Davis to conduct historical research. The Firm defended the Union Pacific Railroad Company in a lawsuit over mineral rights. Again in 1957, he was hired as a historical research for a lawsuit brought by the Ute Indian tribe against the United States over mineral rights. He served as both president and historian of the Union Pacific Old Timers Club. He was a member of the Colorado Historical Society and the Colorado Society of Engineers until his death in 1962.
2 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Language of Materials
Other Finding Aids
The Davis Family donated the Elmer Orville Davis Papers in 1966. Railroad collection processed with funding provided by Marilyn Hodges Wilmerding in memory of William Van Derveer Hodges and William Van Derveer Hodges, Jr.
Number of Boxes: 2 (1.5 linear feet)
Jo Anne Lee
REVISED AND ENCODED BY:
Merrie Jo Schroeder
- Clippings (information artifacts). Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Correspondence. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Davis, E. O., (Elmer Orville), 1884-1962 -- Archives.
- Eicholtz, Henry Leonard, 1827-1911 -- Diaries.
- Manuscripts for publication. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Negatives (photographic). Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Railfans -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Railroads -- Colorado -- History. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Research (document genres). Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Schedules (time plans). Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- ELMER ORVILLE DAVIS PAPERS
- Revised June 2008
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script