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Lehigh Valley Railroad Land Documents

Identifier: SC MS 0275

Scope and Contents

The collection contains approximately 384 documents (deeds, titles, indentures, correspondence and leases) for anthracite coal lands, 40 envelopes, 20 maps, two pamphlets, one photogravure, and one large colored "painting." In general, the items are dusty, stained, crumpled, and some are very fragile.

The earliest date mentioned in the documents is 1773 (Tomlinson survey of land) referred to in a later dated deed to the most recent items from the Peca Coal Company dated 1962. The bulk of the documents are land exchanges mostly in the 1850s to the 1890s.


  • Creation: 1773-1962


Conditions Governing Access

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Lehigh Valley Railroad Company was created by Asa Packer to be a reliable transport of anthracite coal from the coal fields of Pennsylvania to the industrial East. It was originally named the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad incorporated in 1846 to break the control of the Lehigh Navigation and Coal Company on coal transport. Packer's original railroad was built from Mauch Chunk to Easton. LVRR was a combination of many smaller lines either purchased or merged into the system. There were three main divisions: Buffalo to the West included Athens, Sayre, Hazelton, Mahanoy City, Geneva, Buffalo and Niagara Falls; Wyoming in the middle included Lehighton, Wilkes Barre, Pittston, Hazelton, Wyalusing to Athens; New York to East included Allentown, Bethlehem, Lehighton, Jersey City, Bound Brook and New York City. The LVRR controlled or owned many coal mines and collieries in addition to offering passenger service throughout the Northeast. The Lehigh Valley Railroad held the capital stock in the Lehigh Valley Coal Company.

The Delano Land Company founders were Warren Delano Jr. (1809-1898), maternal grandfather of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Sara Delano (1854-1941), FDR's mother, was one of several children of Warren Jr.); Frederick Delano (1811-1857); Edward Delano (1818-1881); and Franklin H. Delano (1813-1893), president of Delano Coal Company. The Delano brothers also had a financial interest in the Union Mining Company, also known as Mount Savage Iron Company, as well as the Delano Coal Company. The Delano brothers' associate was Asa Packer, builder of the Lehigh Valley Railroad and Lehigh University. In the 1850s, the Delano Land Company purchased several thousand acres of land around the town of Delano, Schuylkill County where they developed coal mines and collieries. The LVRR "owned" the town of Delano. The Delano brothers were interested in mining and real estate. The Delano Family was a prominent New England family and some of them came from Asa Packer's hometown in Connecticut. The Delano Land Company acted as agent on behalf of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company and the Lehigh Valley Coal Company.

The collection of documents, contracts, deeds, land titles, indentures, agreements, etc. reflect the acquisition, exchange or development of coal and timber lands acquired by the Delano Land Company on behalf of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company and the Lehigh Valley Coal Company with the many collieries and coal mines in the anthracite coal lands of northeastern Pennsylvania. Some of the deeds and land warrants and patents have dates as early as 1773, 1785 and 1793 indicating the early history of anthracite coal lands in Pennsylvania.


4 Linear Feet (4 boxes, 2 linear feet ; 1 flat box 2 linear feet )

Language of Materials



The collection was presented to Special Collections in two storage boxes with documents totally in disarray, carelessly folded, crumpled and dusty. After sorting through the contents, it was discovered that some of the documents had in the past been accessioned presumably by the Lehigh Valley Rail Road office staff. Three quarters of the documents have red stamped numbers on them. On comparison it was found that the red stamped numbers determined related transactions. This red numbered system has been maintained in the Special Collections arrangement. Other documents without the red stamped numbers are arranged according to associated references. Within the folders the arrangement is chronological whenever possible.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, 2013 from J. R. Williamson of Wilkes-Barre (Pa.).

Separated Materials

Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Mifflin signed document filed in autograph file.

Asa Packer and Sarah Packer signed documents filed in autograph file.

Photogravure of "Signing of the Declaration of Independence."

"Faux Painting " of "The Black Diamond Lehigh Valley Railroad" steam locomotive LV No. 2010 in a railroad yard at Sayre, Pennsylvania.

Lehigh Valley Railroad Land Documents SC MS 0275
Delano Land Company Agent
Eleanor Nothelfer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)