Lexington Group Records
Scope and Contents
Dating from 1942 to 1988, the Records of the Lexington Group comprise 11 linear feet of conference materials, correspondence, membership records, research resources, publications, and typescripts. The bulk of the series consists of correspondence and membership records with emphasis on the period 1942-1969.
The historical materials consist of historical sketches prepared by Richard C. Overton in 1945 and 1949, and Thomas C. Cochran in 1952; as well as Overton's 1989 obituary and an undated description of the Lexington Group.
Conference files include typescripts of presentations; notes; schedules of events; and reports on conference activities.
Dating from 1942 to 1969, the correspondence is divided into three categories: general, R. C. Overton, and H. F. Bennett. Chronologically arranged, the general correspondence dates from 1944 to 1969 and includes research-related letters to and between Lexington Group members The incoming and outgoing correspondence of Lexington Group Secretary R. C. Overton are filed alphabetically according to the correspondents' last names. By contrast, Lexington Group Secretary H. F. Bennett's incoming and outgoing correspondence are arranged chronologically from 1950 to 1969. Both the Overton and Bennett correspondence files pertain to scheduling events and presentations, compiling bibliographies, gathering member news, and other business related to the Lexington Group.
One folder pertaining to dues and donations dates from 1952 to 1969 and documents the Lexington Group's approach to organizational finances.
Membership records consist of statistics, membership lists, bibliography questionnaires, and membership questionnaires. The chronologically arranged occupational statistics (1952-1959) and membership lists (1942-1970) reflect the Lexington Group's size and professional diversity. One folder of alphabetically arranged bibliography questionnaires document members' transportation-related publications as of 1952. While membership questionnaire files are arranged chronologically, within each file the questionnaires are in alphabetical order according to members' names. The questionnaires, which date from 1947 to 1965, provide information on members' identities and individual research interests.
Dating from 1947 to 1968, the research resources list and occasionally describe primary and secondary sources that Lexington Group members hoped would benefit their research. Chronologically arranged, the two folders of general bibliographical materials include source-related correspondence with librarians, archivists, and scholars; lists of archival holdings; lists of secondary sources; and book lists or announcements provided by publishers. The Baker Library and McCormick Collection files (1958) contain listings of railroads documented in their primary source collections.
Publications include announcements of members' forthcoming books (1958-1968) and Lexington Group newsletters dating from 1953 to 1970.
Arranged alphabetically by title, the unidentified typescripts comprise three railway-related research papers or presentations of uncertain context. Two date from 1945 and 1947 respectively; while another is undated.
- Lexington Group in Transportation History (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is stored off-site and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.
Language of Materials
An informal organization dedicated to the study of American railroad history, the Lexington Group formed in 1942 when business historian Richard Cleghorn Overton of Northwestern University and eight other railroad enthusiasts gathered in a Lexington, KY coffee shop. The Lexington Group met once each year until 1947, after which time two or even three meetings took place annually in conjunction with such major conferences as the Mississippi Valley Historical Association and the American Historical Association. Dating from 1942 to 1988, the Records of the Lexington Group comprise 11 linear feet of conference materials, correspondence, membership records, research resources, publications, and typescripts. The bulk of the series consists of correspondence and membership records with emphasis on the period 1942-1969.
Each series is arranged chronologically, or alphabetically by folder title.
Method of Acquisition
The Records of the Lexington Group were separated from the H. F. Bennett Papers, which the University Archives received on November 5, 1975 (Accession #75-6).
One folder pertaining to Business Library acquisitions was separated and transferred to the University Archives General Files. Two additional items—“Preliminary Check List of Secondary Works in Railway History,” a bibliography compiled by Richard C. Overton, and the Bureau of Railway Economics Library's “Recent Accessions of Interest,” List Nos. 1079-1434 (March 28, 1956-May 8, 1963)—were separated from this series and transferred to the Northwestern University Transportation Library.
Meg Gingrich; July 2001. Rae Sikula Bielakowski; October 2003.
- Guide to the Lexington Group Records
- Meg Gingrich
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository
Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US