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John B. Fravert railroad collection

Identifier: 2005_111-UA

These materials date from 1851 to 1979, and consist of records relating to railroads. The bulk of these materials are from either the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) or the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis (NC&StL) Railroads. This collection includes information on locomotives such as specification cards, tonnage tests, and train registers; employee-related information such as seniority lists and directories; company-related information such as correspondence; and passenger information including timetables and brochures. The collection also includes some maps.


  • 1851-1979


Restrictions on Access

No restrictions.


7.8 linear feet (8 boxes; 3 maps of Louisville/Jefferson County; 2 L&N drawings/plats, Mobile and Pensacola; Kentucky Geological Survey map, 1889; 4 irregular flats)

Biographical sketch

John B. Fravert (1926-1998), known to all as "Jack" was in an enviable position to combine a life-long hobby with his profession. Jack was obsessed by railroading since his growing-up years in suburban St. Matthews just east of Louisville. The Fravert home sat just two blocks from the L&N Railroad main line to Cincinnati, where Jack took his earliest train photographs. W.A. Fravert, Jack's dad, was an L&N telegraph operator, and the elder Fravert's work at area depots and junction towers gave Jack more time for pictures. Just after World War II, Jack enlisted in the U.S. Army and trained at Fort Monmouth, N. J., as a Signal Corps photographer, that service helping him hone his skills with cameras. On his return to Louisville, Jack became the outside salesman for a major photo supply company; his territory covered Kentucky and Southern Indiana, and business trips allowed him to visit and take photos at rail stations and facilities about the two states. Again, through his father's L&N employment, Jack gained access to Louisville area rail shops and yards normally off limits to all but employees. Over his lifetime, Jack shot perhaps 40,000 color transparencies of area railroading as well as countless black and white negatives. Many of the images were of railroaders at work as well as the engines, trains and stations they manned. All in all, it was an unequaled record of the regional and local rail transportation scene, much of it taken during the transition years when passenger trains were heavily patronized, when diesels replaced older steam power, and when new technologies - later to revolutionize the entire rail industry - were still on the horizon or were just being introduced. Jack was always very generous with his photographic output, sharing rail images with railroaders and rail fans alike, and many of his pictures appeared in local and national rail publications. A selection of his color work of trains in and around Louisville was recently published by Morning Sun Books in two volumes"Trackside Around Louisville, East and West." (Bio notes by Charles B. Castner.).


John B. Fravert Railroad Collection
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Finding aid is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections Repository

Ekstrom Library, Lower Level Room 17
Louisville KY 40292
502 852-6752