The transportation history collection supports graduate students in Urban Design, as well as researchers from around the world. It contains a unique body of work on transportation technology and travel. Although there are printed items from as early as 1588, the majority of the material is from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
International in scope, subjects in the collection include ballooning and dirigibles, early roads, automobiles, canals, bridges, carriages and coaches, and, most notably, railroads, including American, Canadian, Mexican, British, French, German, and Russian railroad companies and their rolling stock. It includes photographic prints, travel diaries, journals of trips, annual reports, pamphlets, timetables, charters, stock certificates and other legal documents, surveys, advertising brochures, posters, artwork, and other archival materials.
The collection includes the archive of the original Lincoln Highway Association (1910-1927). The association was made up of representatives from the automobile, tire, and cement industries, with the goal of planning, funding, constructing, and promoting the first transcontinental highway in North America.
Among the thousands of photographs in the collection, there are a significant number of very early and very rare images, including several by Carleton Watkins and William Henry Jackson.