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Henry W. Anderson Railroad Collection

Identifier: MSS 0408

Scope and Content

The collection contains documents acquired by Henry Anderson related to the receivership of the Seaboard Air Line Railway. The collection also contains materials added after his death in 1954 as well as documents that were created before Anderson's involvement with the Seaboard Railway. The collection also includes documents filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission related to the receivership of the Florida East Coast Railway from 1944 through 1950.

Series 1: "Records related to the Seaboard Air Line Railway, 1908-1961" contains materials on the early corporate history of the Seaboard Air Line Railway including minutes from an earlier receivership in 1908. The bulk of the series documents the activities of the company from 1930, the beginning of the railroad's receivership under Henry W. Anderson, through 1946, when the company emerged as the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. The series includes paperwork submitted with the Interstate Commerce Commission as well as balance sheets, reports, memoranda, conference minutes, and reorganization plans. Of special note, is a financial analysis of the Seaboard Air Line Railway prepared by a railroad consultant dated December 18, 1942, an unsigned and undated statement to the Special Master on the future traffic prospects of Seaboard Railway, and a document entitled "Confidential memorandum in regards to the financial position and policies of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad Company by Henry W. Anderson, Chairman of the Board" dated April 30, 1947. The series also contains several maps and charts depicting the company's various lines and subsidiaries. Also included in the series is a scrapbook on the inauguration of a new diesel locomotive by the Seaboard Air Line Railway in 1938.

Series 2: "Records related to the Florida East Coast Railway, 1944-1961" includes memoranda, exhibits, petitions, reporters' transcripts, and briefs pertaining to the company's reorganization in the 1940s. The series documents the struggle between the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and Ed Ball to control the railroad. Of interest is a document entitled "Memorandum prepared by Mr. Bourne on Judge Sibley's opinion in the Florida East Coast Railway reorganization proceeding" dated January 22, 1949. Boxes 10 and 11 contain pages 440 to 7478 of the reporter's transcript on the hearings before the United States District Court on approval of Florida East Coast Railway Company's plan of reorganization. The first volume of the set is missing. The series extends to 1961 with documents added after Anderson's death.


  • 1908-1961
  • Majority of material found within 1930-1950



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Henry W. Anderson, was a Virginia lawyer and politician. He specialized in railroad law and served as a receiver in several railroad bankruptcy proceedings. In 1930, he was appointed a receiver for the Seaboard Air Line Railways and he later served as Chairman of SAL's Board of Directors. A prominent figure in Virginia Republican Party politics, Anderson served on President Hoover's Wickersham Commission, which investigated criminal activity in the wake of Prohibition. Anderson passed away in 1954.

The Seaboard Air Line Railway formed in 1900 and provided passenger and freight service in the southeast. It was headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, and its lines extended into Florida serving Jacksonville, Tampa, St. Petersburg, West Palm Beach, Miami, and Tallahassee. The Great Depression and competition with rival Atlantic Coast Line Railroad propelled Seaboard into bankruptcy in 1930. For over fourteen years, Seaboard entered a court-mandated receivership until an auction sale to bondholders prompted the company to reorganize. Competition from airlines, truckers and interstate automobile travel affected the company's financial well-being as it did to other railroads across the country. In 1967, Seaboard merged with the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad to form the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad. Amtrak acquired the company's passenger routes in 1971.

The Florida East Coast Railway has been in operation since 1885 when it was organized by Henry Flagler. The company was placed in receivership during the depression and was reorganized after World War II.


11.17 Linear feet (12 Boxes and 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is comprised primarily of documents related to the receivership of the Seaboard Air Line Railway from 1930 to 1947 as well as documents related to the reorganization of the Florida East Coast Railway in the 1940s.


The collection is divided into two series. Series 1 contains records related to the Seaboard Air Line Railway and Series 2 documents the Florida East Coast Railway.

Physical Location

Please note that this collection is housed in the Auxiliary Library Facility off campus and will require advance notice for timely retrieval. Please contact the Special and Area Studies Collections department prior to your visit.

Acquisition Information

The collection was originally gifted to the University of Florida Legal Information Center by Anderson's nephew, former law college dean Henry Fenn. In 2005, the collection was transferred to the Department of Special and Area Studies Collections. The provenance of the records related to the Florida East Coast Railway is uncertain and their association with Henry Anderson is questioned.

A Guide to the Henry W. Anderson Railroad Collection
Finding aid created by David Meltsner
November 2017
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America