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The CMC Catalogs: The 1918 Central Illinois Railroad Bridge Accident

Illinois Heartland Library System

Published : Feb 14, 2023
The CMC Catalogs: The 1918 Central Illinois Railroad Bridge Accident

The Central Illinois Railroad accident in 1918 was not the last time the historic railroad bridge faced tragedy, but with the bridge's current state, the Groff Memorial Library knew it was pivotal to preserve its history. The Groff Memorial Library received a donation that has a variety of materials, including books, a railroad lantern, a padlock and key on fobs, and more that tell of the accident as well as the railroad bridge’s creation and Grayville history. When the items were donated to Groff Memorial Library, the director, Kathleen Rister, contacted the Cataloging Maintenance Center cataloger Mary Cornell to catalog these items.

The first item seen in the collection is a Popular Mechanics issue published post-accident with an article relaying information about the accident and photographs. The next photo shows the donation of a binder with newspaper articles, photographs, and information about local organizations that all pertain to the accident. The last bound volume shown here is about rules and regulations that the Illinois Central Railroad would have been enacted during the period, ranging from employee training to railroad track regulations. The inside cover of the book is signed by two Grayville natives, Sam McCarty and Lemuel Mosberger. Mosberger was on the bridge when the train flipped.

The first piece of realia cataloged in this collection is the Adams & Westlake Company railroad lantern, a metal and glass lantern from approximately the late 19th century to early 20th century that was on the railroad bridge during the accident. This item required that Mary consulted more of OCLC’s Bibliographic Formats and Standards’ various fields, as realia by their nature are more complex to catalog. The next photo displays a metal padlock on a chain and a set of keys on a fob that was used on the bridge during the accident. Though the padlock and keys are separated, they are cataloged together by request of the library.

One of the most unique items in this collection is a blueprint of the railroad bridge. As seen in the picture, the blueprint is sizable and in fair condition. The challenge in cataloging this item came from the tear along the bottom; this tear unfortunately removed the original artist or architect of the blueprint. Last, is a photograph taken the day of the accident, depicting onlookers surveying the scene nearby. Some of the items were cataloged using information supplied by Groff Memorial Library but also all were cataloged utilizing tools such as OCLC Connexion and OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards. 

If you’re interested in learning more about this collection and the history behind the Illinois Central Railroad 1918 Bridge Accident, all these intriguing items are housed at the Groff Memorial Library in Grayville, Illinois. If you're interested in other historical collections that have been cataloged by the CMC, see our story on cataloging the historical photographs of the Navigator Collection.


Collage: an issue of popular mechanics magazine; a bound volume about rules and regulations; and a binder with newspaper articles, photographs, and information about local organizations that all pertain to the accident.

L-R: an issue of popular mechanics magazine; a bound volume about rules and regulations; and a binder with newspaper articles, photographs, and information about local organizations that all pertain to the accident.


 

 

Collage: Adams & Westlake Company railroad lantern and a Metal padlock and keys on a fob.

L-R: Adams & Westlake Company railroad lantern and a Metal padlock and keys on a fob.


 

 

Collage: A blueprint of the railroad bridge; A blueprint of the railroad bridge unrolled; A photograph taken the day of the accident, depicting onlookers surveying the scene nearby.

Clockwise: A blueprint of the railroad bridge; a blueprint of the railroad bridge unrolled; and a photograph taken the day of the accident.

 

 


Cataloging Maintenance Center (logo)

The Cataloging Maintenance Center (CMC) provides statewide cataloging support for Illinois libraries, including free original and copy cataloging of eligible special collections, consultation on metadata projects, database cleanup for LLSAPs, cataloging training, and more. Funding for the CMC is provided through the Illinois State Library and the Secretary of State and administered by Illinois Heartland Library System. Learn more about the CMC at www.illinoisheartland.org/cmc.