Louisville and Nashville Railroad

Annie Ruth Laird is retired from the South Louisville Shops and is one of hundreds of women hired by the L&N to work during World War II. Main topics: introduction to Laird's work years at the South Louisville Shops; description of the atmosphere and work activities at the shops; important years of change for minority employees: 1950-1960; daily living conditions such as clothing requirements and lunch facilities; comments on the changes during the 1970s; wrap-up thoughts on working for the L&N Railroad.
Early life and education. Was a Hollerith clerk at beginning of work experience with L&N. Larkin describes this period when these machines functioned as the forerunners of IBM machines. Good description of the punchcard and the information it carried. IBM brought out Hollerith and then with the coming of World War II, the computers began to take work projects from many different departments. Procedure for disbursement described. This covers the time period from 1920 into the 1960s. Resistance and/or astonishment as to the areas that the computers would be able to handle. Discussion of payrolls and the explanation of the changes over from the auditor of disbursements from 1963-1968. Creation of the Management and Information Services Department and its function. Examples of the work done by this group include: jobs from all chief clerks; jobs from other departments; and stock records from the L&N common stock. Example of how bills with errors would be noted by the computer and adjusted where necessary. Comments on car accounting, Cybernetics & Systems, Inc., and its relationship to the L&N, use of computers in Chicago before computers were on location here in Louisville.
17 years old when employed by L&N. Recollections on the East Louisville Yards during the 1920s. Ms. Larkin worked as a stenographer for 11 years and then as a rate clerk. Descriptions of the clerical shifts, veterinarian, mechanical personnel, and local industry as it related to L&N (example: Ballard & Ballard Mill and the Bourbon Stock Yards). Competing railroads for local business. Explanation of L&N procedure for cutback and reassignment of personnel (roll-out). How this procedure moved Larkin to the Accounting Department at 9th and Broadway. During this time there were several consolidations of service measures instigated by the L&N (1931). General Office in 1931 and how the consolidation of services affected station agents. Explanation of accounting terms and procedures as they relate to the L&N Railroad. Additional descriptions of the main office building at 9th and Broadway. Elliot Fisher Group described along with various topics: large amounts of scrap metal sent to Japan; hiring of women during both wars; central accounting bureau and procedures. Computerization of the accounting department and loss of personnel, union activities, station accounts, and physical arrangement of the divisions of the accounting department. Changes that took place prior to move to the Jacksonville headquarters of the Seaboard Coast Lines Industries. This transfer was completed in June 1980.
Lemley discusses his railroad career which began in 1941 and ended with his retirement in 1976.
Experiences prior to employment by L&N, early years, work at Ballard & Ballard. Events leading to employment with L&N. Education at Louisville Girl's High School and in Cincinnati, Ohio. Description of the L&N in 1917, one of two women in building -- tells of how it was a man's world, talks about engineering language and record keeping. Sketches of various personalities in the Engineering Department: William Howard Courtenay, chief engineer; Allen Snellen, supervisor of bridges & buildings; LR Muhs, assistant bridge engineer and Charles K. Bruce. Description of the first L&N building and the addition at 9th & Broadway. Anecdotes on bridge construction experiences. Generosity of L&N employees for various causes. Washout on the Short Line and Liebknecht's actions in Courtenay's absence. Rotation of engineers throughout the L&N system and upward movement into the Executive Department. Diamond Jubilee of L&N (1925), founding of the L&N Magazine, Thomas E. Owen was editor. The presidency of Wible O. Mapother. This discussion covers the earliest L&N publication Lively Lines, the L&N Magazine and the present publication Family Lines. Ms. Liebknecht's section was titled "Half-Fare" and "Of Feminine Interest." Effect of the Depression economy on the L&N. Hoover Days (four-day week) instituted so that all could work. No layoffs remembered at the L&N office in Louisville. World War II effort, participation of L&N in the War Bond effort and Liebknecht's recognition for her part. Dessie Scott Children's Home, Little Kentucky: relationship with L&N began in 1947. 1950s: 100th Anniversary of the L&N. Celebration was attended by hundreds including ALM Wiggins, then chairman of the board of directors of the L&N. Description of working conditions and increase in women employees from World War II years on. Telephone had displaced many persons. No inequities, particularly telegrapher in salary due to sex of employee. The importance of changes in technology during Liebknecht's working years. Liebknecht's work with the L&N Cooperative Club. 1960's and 1967: Great changes brought about by computerization and automation. Loss of personal touch. Growth of the engineering Department from approximately 70 to 140 during the years covered by the interview. Still not large number of women engineers. Civil engineer changes with age. Liebknecht's activities in poetry and writing. Articles in 1964 L&N Magazine and March 1971 Diana Awards. Louisville General Office Building personnel. Remarks about EC Fields a mistake (see enclosed clipping).
Father with L&N as master mechanic. Early experience as roadman, then as special apprentice in the South Louisville shops. Description of the South Louisville shops, JW Adams and the Roundhouse. Areas of interest included the dynamonica car and car equipment. Differences in the division terrain and the movement of engineers to divisions. Description of different round houses. Involvement in shipping material for war. Return to Louisville in 1948 as assistant master mechanic and promotion to general master mechanic. Building period in 1948 to make changes from war years. Changes to be made in car shop facilities and diesel repair. Boilermakers disappeared and electricians increased. Thoughts on the railroad fraternity, the sharing of knowledge and the competition among manufacturers of diesel locomotives. This tape deals with various innovations and types of cars needed for the more modern railroad, derailment considerations, test track, suppliers and the AAR (American Association of Railroads).
Educated in Virginia, newspaper experience in Lynchburg and Richmond. Work with the Associated Press in Richmond, New York, Nashville, and Washington, D.C, including administrative experience as AP Bureau Chief for Tennessee. Administrative assistant to Senator A. William Robertson of Virginia for the period 1947-1960. Reasons for moving to L&N in 1960: challenge in organizing the railroad's first public relations department. Expansion of public relations' functions to include a news bureau manned by Edison Thomas and Charles Castner. Promotion projects including production of films on L&N history and on the historic locomotive "The General." Use of The General for public service combined with emphasis on L&N progress. Innovative public relations projects: Use of The General, Kentucky arts and crafts train, films. Role of the public relations department in varied company activities: labor relations, government relations, community relations. Special events such as Lady Bird Special political train, special trains for inspection by company directors and business leaders. Rebuilding advertising programs as passenger service dwindled and disappeared. New emphasis on freight sales, promotion, and on corporate image. Cooperation with traffic department in developing advertising. Comments on public relations aspects of L&N expansion and mergers with NC&StL, the C&I, the Tennessee Central and the Monon railroads: media and community leader contacts. Changes in mission of L&N Magazine content aimed at customers and community leaders as well as employees, circulation split with "family section" going only to employees. Public relations' functions relating to company annual report, stockholders' meeting and special presentation of information. Positive aspects of L&N development and service during the 1960-1970 decade.
Clarence Monin was general chairman of the Engine Service Employees of L&N System & Affiliated Lines (Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers). Main topics: family background and education; apprentice locomotive engineer program; specific articles in the BLE agreements such as hours of service; explanation of the National Manning Agreement and the Reserve Engineer Agreement; present and future trends in the training of locomotive engineering personnel; effect of civil rights and equal opportunity legislation; BLE grievance procedure; legislative concerns of the BLE; changes in union membership, attitude and trends for the future; comments on the 1955 strike against L&N railroad; positive changes in the management of the L&N Railroad.
Moore is retired from the L&N Railroad having served most of his years of employment with both the L&N and the NC&StL Railroads in the areas of personnel and labor relations. Main topics: background prior to employment with the L&N Railroad; World War II years and the effects on hiring and promotional procedures; labor problems and agreements from 1949 including merger consideration; Moore's transfer to Louisville and the differences in his work; procedures for handling labor disputes; massive re-education program for management and reclassification of jobs through setting descriptions for all jobs and crafts; changes in labor force due to improved technology; railroad labor organization; background on the operating and nonoperating crafts; insights into specific unions such as Brotherhood of Railroad and Airline Clerks; racial and minority considerations in personnel; the importance of unions today and future trends for training skilled personnel.
Nicholson discusses his experiences with the railroad; WWII and his tenure with the National Railroad Historical Society are also discussed.