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THE BIRTH OF THE SUBWAY SYSTEM (NEW YORK CITY.) Signed agreement for the first meeting of the directors of the Rapid Transit Subway Construction Company. Typed document, 13 x 8 inches, completed in manuscript and signed by all 13 directors; light folds, 2 punch holes in upper margin, mount remnants on verso. New York, 20 February 1900
The Rapid Transit Subway Construction Company was formed to create the city's subway system, in the wake of a tangled web of elevated railways and aborted tunnel projects. This document is a "Director's Waiver," in which its 13 founding directors all agreed to forego a formal notice of their first meeting--they were all gathered together, so they held their first meeting without formal advance notice. Time was of the essence. They signed the construction and operating contract with the city's transit commissioners on 21 February 1900--the day after this historic director's meeting. Most notable among the directors who signed here is Cornelius Vanderbilt III. The other signers were William H. Baldwin Jr. (Long Island Rail Road president), Charles T. Barney, August Belmont Jr. (builder of the racetrack which bears his name, and who served as president of the subway company), George Coppell, E. Mora Davison, Andrew Freedman (owner of the New York Giants), James Jourdan, Gardiner M. Lane, Walter G. Oakman, John Peirce, William A. Read, and George W. Young.
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