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Guide to the William H. Paine Papers
1848-1932 (bulk 1848-1895)
 MS 475

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Cassandra Brewer

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 21, 2022
The finding aid is written in English

Scope and Content Note

The William H. Paine papers document the personal and professional life of civil engineer William H. Paine. The collection contains diaries, correspondence, patents, architectural and engineering related documents, financial and legal papers, ephemera and photographs. The majority of the collection focuses on Paine's work as a civil engineer both as an assistant engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge and a consulting engineer on various bridge, tunnel and cable railway projects.

Paine's diaries are extensive and his early accounts focus on his travels from Wisconsin to California during the Gold Rush. The diaries and correspondence also document Paine's tenure as a topographical engineer for the Union Army. There are two diaries written during Paine's time as engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge, however, they include little specific detail about his work.

Paine's engineering and architectural documents include a large number of patents, records of patent tax, engineering reports and equipment specifications for various civil engineering projects.

A large portion of the photographs in the collection are in scrapbooks that belonged to Paine's daugther Kathreen.

Of note, Paine's collection includes one photograph album of Matthew Brady Civil War portraits. Also of interest is an 1852 map of gold regions in California.


The William H. Paine papers are organized in 10 series, and chronologically within each series:

Series I: Diaries

Series II: Correspondence

Series III: Patents

Series IV: Architecture and Engineering Documents

Series V: Published Material

Series VI: Financial Documents

Series VII: Legal Documents

Series VIII: Clippings and Notes

Series IX: Ephemera

Series X: Photographs