Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railway Company, "Going Away?," 1924

Summary

The Wabash Railway, with origins dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971. This brochure promised that the company's new all-steel cars were safer than the hazardous old wooden railroad cars. Furthermore, unlike automobile travel, railroad passengers were completely taken care of here by conductors, porters, and waiters.

The Wabash Railway, with origins dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971. This brochure promised that the company's new all-steel cars were safer than the hazardous old wooden railroad cars. Furthermore, unlike automobile travel, railroad passengers were completely taken care of here by conductors, porters, and waiters.

The Wabash Railway, with origins dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971.

This brochure addressed men's potential concerns about sending their mothers, wives, daughters off to travel alone by rail. "If the Wabash goes there," it assures them, "there is no need to look further." There were two major reasons provided for promising this assurance. First, the new all-steel passenger cars "set a high standard" for "easy comforts of travel" and "conveniences en route for passengers." Second, "attentive, competent, and courteous trainmen" promised a "most enjoyable experience."

Men had perhaps good reason to be concerned about parting with the women in their lives. Frederick Lewis Allen, author of Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s, commented upon the growing independence of American women during the 1920s. He attributed this to women's "winning of suffrage," which consolidated their position as men's equals. Young women of middle and upper-class families, in particular, desired personal autonomy and individuality away from the confines of home. They sought jobs previously closed to women, pursued college educations, and participated in such public leisure activities as going to movies, eating in restaurants, and shopping. Many women passionately embraced automobiles as a means of escape and freedom, shocking fathers and husbands alike. This brochure was one of many produced by the Wabash Railroad that subtly attempted to confront the growing competition of automobiles.

To allay men's fears, this brochure promised that the company's new all-steel cars offered a safe alternative to the hazardous old wooden railroad cars as well as to the growing concern about automobile accidents. Furthermore, unlike automobile travel, railroad passengers were completely taken care of here by conductors, porters, and waiters--attendants trained to render efficient and courteous service to passengers.

Detailed Description
Artifact

Brochure

Date Made

1924

Subject Date

1924

 On Exhibit

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Object ID

2012.67.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. In Memory of John A. Barrett.

Material

Paper (Fiber product)

Color

Black-and-white (Colors)
Multicolored

Dimensions

Height: 6.188 in

Width: 3.5 in

Inscriptions

Text on front of image: Going / Away? / See the / WABASH first

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