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Arthur Detmers Dubin and Collection of Pullman Material

Identifier: BC175


Chicago architect, avid historian of the railroad passenger trains, and author of books on the history of railroad passenger trains and specifically Pullman cars. He was born in Chicago, the son of Henry and Anne Green Dubin. He received his B. Architecture from the University of Michigan in 1949 and began a partnership in Dubin and Dubin, an architecture and engineering firm in 1950. He stayed with the firm, through several partnership changes, until 1993. He was a member of the Illinois Commission on High Speed Rail Transit from 1966-1968, a member of the board for Amtrak from 1972-1995, made an honorary research assistant for the Smithsonian Institution in 1975, and a technical consultant for Paramount Pictures in 1991. He is the author of Some Classic Trains published in 1964, More Classic Trains, published in 1974 and Pullman Paint and Lettering Notebook: A Guide to the Colors Used on Pullman Cars form 1933 to 1969. He also has written many articles on trains for various publications.

The Pullman Company was founded in 1867 by George Pullman who had created his first sleeping cars in 1859 by remodeling two day coaches from the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Railroad. His first all new sleeping car was built in 1865 with a polished black walnut interior, chandeliers and marble wash stands. It weighed 60,850 pounds and no railroad would operate it. After Lincoln’s assassination, the state of Illinois ordered the car to be attached to the funeral train for the trip to Springfield, Illinois over the Chicago & Alton line. When his company first began, Pullman had the cars built by an outside company and then leased them to the railroads with the cars managed and staffed by Pullman employees. In 1870 he built his own manufacturing plant in Detroit, Michigan and as the demand for cars increased, he built a larger plant in Chicago, which opened in 1881. Between 1867 and 1927 Pullman acquired all competing car companies and railroad owned sleeping cars in the United States In 1894 a nationwide railway strike began with the employees of the Pullman Company protesting wage cuts and high rents in Pullman, a model town created by Pullman for his employees. The strike was eventually settled by the federal government against the strikers. When George Pullman died in 1897, Robert T. Lincoln took over as president of the company. In 1899 the company was valued at 74 million dollars. In the 1920s an average 100,000 people slept in Pullman cars every night, with 36 million customers per year paying 92 million dollars for those accommodations. The trains continued to add the most modern improvements with air conditioning tested in the 1927-1929 cars and the first streamlined, light weight, air conditioned train crossing America in 1934. In 1947 the federal government took anti trust action against the company and the Pullman Company was sold to the 57 railroads that used their cars. After 1947 all new Pullman cars were owned by the railroads and leased to the Pullman Company to operate. Business declined rapidly after WWII due to the increased number of highways, hotels and motels and use of airplanes for long distance travel. On December 31, 1968 the Pullman Company ceased to exist. Pamphlets, booklets, books, reports, articles, news clippings, drawings, blueprints, letters, menus, signs, forms, contracts, patents, and paint samples. Numerous copies of printed material used for informational or promotional purposes. Employee handbooks and instructional guides, including step by step instructions n how to handle, prepare and serve food. Reports written on many different aspects of the company and the Pullman car. Articles and news clippings pertaining to the company, the train cars and their users, including one with pictures of criminals who might be traveling by train. Information on the model town of Pullman. News clippings and articles on President Lincoln’s funeral train. Business materials include the charter, by-laws, information on stocks, forms, letters, and contracts. Letters of Arthur Dubin. Numerous drawings, designs and blueprints of cars, and a box of color samples used for the cars. Three bound volumes include: Ground Plans of the Cars, The Pullman Company Operating Department Catalog Material and Supplies, July 1923 and Lot Book (Pullman Cars Built), 1899-1934.

74 black and white photos, 5 drawings, 3 Robert T. Lincoln letters, published material, artifacts and posters were transferred out of the collection.


  • 1829 - 1960


3.5 Linear Feet (3 archival boxes and 3 bound volumes)

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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collection Repository

112 North Sixth Street
Springfield IL 62701 US
(217) 558-8923