104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010  | 
(212) 254-4710  |  Mon - Fri, 10AM - 6PM
Follow Us:
  • We are happy to call you during the auction and place bids on your behalf. To arrange phone bidding, please call Swann's bid department during business hours.

    (212) 254-4710 ext. 0
    Mon - Fri 10AM - 6PM


    Or, e-mail a list of lots with the sale number and your contact information to phonebids@swanngalleries.com. Be sure to include a phone number where we can reach you.

    Bids may also be submitted via fax. Send a list of lots with the sale number and your contact information to (212) 979-1017. You will receive a confirmation before the sale.

    Sale 2223 | Lot 162
    Price Realized: $1,440With Buyer's Premium
    Show Hammer Price
    • Click Image To Enlarge

    • Sale 2223 Lot 162

      THE FIRST STREETCAR LINE IN THE UNITED STATES (NEW YORK CITY.) New York & Harlem Railroad manuscript ledger. 528 numbered pages, with 56 of them bearing manuscript ledger entries, plus an unnumbered table of contents leaf (detached). Folio (17 1/2 x 11 inches), original full sheep with unusual decorative gilt bands and extensive tooling, worn and lacking backstrip; about an inch of dampstaining along top edge, offsetting from bookmarks, first gathering coming loose. New York, 1831-37
      Estimate $1,500-2,500

      The New York and Harlem Railroad was chartered in 1831, and began operations the following year with horse-drawn streetcars operating on a regular schedule along 4th Avenue in Manhattan. It is generally regarded as the first streetcar line in the United States. The company's line was eventually extended up the Hudson River valley. Parts of its original route have descended to the Metro-North Railroad, and remain in heavy use today. See Joseph Warren Greene, "New York City's First Railroad," New-York Historical Society Quarterly, January 1926.
      The ledger offers insight into the early construction of the city's first rail line, with entries dating to 1 June 1831, just a few weeks after incorporation. One of the earliest expenses was $9.38 to Delmonico & Brother (page 161), which sounds as though the board enjoyed a tasty expense-account lunch in the first year of America's first great restaurant. Expense accounts show the sources for the company's iron rails and granite stone, and the wooden rails ordered for the Bowery portion of the line. Also listed are the numerous contractors for grading work along 4th Avenue (now Park Avenue), which ran to more than $570,000 in itself, as well as accounts for bondholders and separate accounts for several of the company's officers. This remarkably early survival is an important primary source from the dawn of the American railroad industry.

      Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $1,440