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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
Phone: (212) 873-3400

© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Cassandra Brewer

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on February 23, 2012

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.

Arrangement Note

  1. Series I: Diaries
  2. Series II: Correspondence
  3. Series III: Patents
  4. Series IV: Architecture and Engineering Documents
  5. Series V: Published Material
  6. Series VI: Financial Documents
  7. Series VII: Legal Documents
  8. Series VIII: Clippings and Notes
  9. Series IX: Ephemera
  10. Series X: Photographs

The William H. Paine Papers are arranged chronologically within each series.