Posts Tagged ‘H. Roger Grant’

Grant Writes Book on Railroad Station Agents

October 20, 2022

Long-time Akron Railroad Club member H. Roger Grant has written a new book that focuses on the role of railroad station agents.

Published by Indiana University Press, the book, The Station Agent and the American Railroad Experience describes those agents as “unsung heroes of the golden age of rail.”

They worked during a time when nearly every community served by a railroad had a depot and an agent.

In his book, Grant describes the life and work of station agents and shows how as railroads changed their business practices those agents disappeared.

Grant writes that station agents were well regarded by the public and shippers alike.

“They met the public when they sold tickets, planned travel itineraries, and reported freight and express shipments,” Grant writes. “Additionally, their first-hand knowledge of Morse code made them the most informed in town. But as times changed, so did the role of, and the need for, the station agent.”

The 226-page book has 45 black and white illustrations and is set to be released in November. It will retail for $28.

Grant is the author of numerous books and articles about railroads and transportation, and is the Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Professor of History at Clemson University.

Grant Wins RL&HS Research Grant

September 15, 2020

Former University of Akron history professor H. Roger Grant has received a $2,500 grant from the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society to be used for his research into station agent-operators.

H. Roger Grant

Grant, who is the Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Professor of history at Clemson University, is writing a book about agents, who represent a nearly extinct occupation that was once essential to transportation.

His grant came from the John H. White Jr. Research Fellowship.

Grant, a life member of the Akron Railroad Club, has written or edited 35 academic books.

Also receiving a grant was the Center for Rail Photography & Art, which will use it to examine the role of videography in railroading.

The grant will be used for a multimedia project titled “Railroads and the Moving Image,” which will consider the evolution and production of railroad videography and its place within the realm of railroad imagery.

IU Press Publishes Grant Book on Transportation

November 15, 2019

Indiana University Press has published Transportation and the American People by H. Roger Grant, a noted railroad and transportation historian.

Grant, a long-time member of the Akron Railroad Club and was once a professor of history at the University of Akron, writes in his latest book that transportation is the unsung hero in America’s story.

The book reviews various forms of transportation including stagecoaches, , waterways, canals, railways, buses, and airplanes.

Grant concludes not only did these modes of travel revolutionize the way that people got around, they also transformed the economic, political, and social aspects of everyday life.

Each of these modes has a chapter in the six-chapter hardback book.

A description of the book posted on the IU Press website said Grant’s book “tells the story of American transportation from its slow, uncomfortable, and often dangerous beginnings to the speed and comfort of travel today.

“Early advances like stagecoaches and canals allowed traders, business, and industry to expand across the nation, setting the stage for modern developments like transcontinental railways and buses that would forever reshape the continent.”

The book is said to be a compelling and thoroughly researched narrative of the social history of travel, shining a light on the role of transportation in shaping the country and on the people who helped build it.

Released on Oct. 1, the hardback book costs $40. A ebook edition is available from the publisher for $39.88.The ISBN is 978-0-253-04330-6

Grant is the Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Professor of History at Clemson University.

His other books include Visionary Railroader, John W. Barriger III; Railroaders without Borders; and Railroads and the American People.

Grant Receives R&LHS Research Fellowship

November 8, 2017

Akron Railroad Club member H. Roger Grant has been awarded a $2,500 research fellowship by the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society.

Grant, a history professor at Clemson University, will use his award to research a book-length study of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad.

The project will explore the long, complicated history of the rail line made famous by the song Rock Island Line by Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter.

Many contemporary railroad enthusiasts know the Rock Island as a bankrupt carrier that was among the few railroads not to join Amtrak in 1971. The Rock operated for nearly 130 before being liquidated.

Grant came to Clemson in 1996 from the University of Akron, where he had been teaching history since 1970. In 2006, Grant was awarded the Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Professorship by Clemson.

Specializing in U.S. history, especially transportation history and American railroads, Grant has written or edited 33 academic books. His latest book, John W. Barriger III: Railroad Legend, will be published in Spring 2018 by Indiana University Press.

Also awarded a fellowship by R&LHS was Scott E. Randolph of Redlands, California.

Randolph graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in History and went on to receive his master’s from the University of Akron, and a Ph.D. from Purdue University.

He has taught at Purdue, Wyoming, and Armstrong Atlantic State Universities and in 2011 joined the faculty of the University of Redlands.

His areas of research include the culture of capitalism, the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and transportation history with an emphasis on railways.

He is curator and associate archivist for the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society and editor for the Society for the History of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.

He will use his R&LHS grant to study a mostly forgotten, yet essential example of Progressive-era regulatory law, the 1913 Federal Valuation Act.

It was intended to establish a rational, scientific base-line for railroad rates. The law provided for a physical valuation of the assets of every common carrier railroad in the country.

Neither railroads nor their regulators possessed a systematic understanding of the cost of providing transportation and thus pricing and its regulation were effected largely ad hoc.

In part because of its seemingly irrational basis, rate-making was central to the “Railroad Problem” that permeated political discourse into the 1930s.

Grant RR History Lecture Airs on C-SPAN 3

June 5, 2016

Veteran Akron Railroad Club member H. Roger Grant appeared on C-SPAN 3 Saturday night presenting a lecture on the rise and decline of electric interurban railways in the United States.

H. Roger Grant

H. Roger Grant

Grant appeared as part of the Lectures in History series.

A railroad historian and the author of numerous books, Grant is now a professor of history at Clemson University and previously taught at the University of Akron.

This lecture usually re-airs at least twice over the weekend and can also be viewed on-line after the first showing.

The lecture was taken from a course that Grant teaches titled U.S. Transportation History. 

Trains Says Grant one of 75 You ‘Should Know’

December 15, 2015

Akron Railroad Club member H. Roger Grant was among those who made the Trains magazine list of 75 people you should know that was published in the 75th anniversary issue of the magazine.

The list included railroaders, executives, photographers and railfans who the magazine said have made railroading and Trains what they are today.

Grant was cited for his railroad history books and work as the editor of Railroad History magazine.

“If there’s a chapter of railroad history that this scholar hasn’t researched, we don’t know what it is,” the magazine wrote.

The list was published in the November 2015 issue of the magazine and begins on Page 52.

Grant’s Latest Book Studies Henry Posner III’s Intertional International Railroad Network

November 18, 2015

H. Roger Grant recently published a look at the railroad empire of Henry Posner III.

Grant’s book, Railroaders without Borders: A History of the Railroad Development Corporation, was published on Grant coverOct. 19 by Indiana University Press.

A promotion for the book on the publisher’s website describes RDC as an investment and management company that has demonstrated that it is possible to have a conscience as well as earn a profit in today’s railroad industry.

With ventures on four continents, RDC has created a record of long-term commitments, respect for local cultures and protection of the public interest.

Grant’s study of RDC looks at its business operation and its triumphs and disappointments.

The book is 256 pages and comes with 64 black and white illustrations and nine maps.

The book can be ordered from IU Press and sells for $45. The ISBN number is 978-0-253-01798-7.

Grant is the Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Professor of history at Clemson University where he has taught since 1996. He has written or edited 31 books, most of which examine railroad history.

He is a life member of the Akron Railroad Club and taught at the University of Akron between 1970 and 1996.

Smerk Receives Lifetime Achivement Award

September 26, 2014

George Smerk, the co-editor of the Railroads Past and Present series of books published by Indiana University Press has received a lifetime achievement award by the American Public Transportation Association.

Smerk, a retired Indiana University professor of transportation, is well known for his expertise in public transportation, which he discussed in a monthly column published in Railfan & Railroad magazine.

He is co-editor of the railroad book series with H. Roger Grant, a history professor at Clemson University and Akron Railroad Club member.

“You don’t just teach it, you do it,” said association President and CEO Michael Melaniphy, a former student of Smerk who presented Smerk with the  award during the Indiana Transportation Association’s 80th annual meeting in  Bloomington. “I think that’s what brought so many of us to respect the hard work that you’ve done. You were active in it, you were passionate about it and you shared these things.”

Smerk’s passion for mass transit began when he was growing up in Philadelphia. “Philly had an enormous public transportation system,” Smerk said. “We had streetcar lines, three subways, a commuter rail network. I was turned on by that.”

When he wasn’t fascinated by the suburban trolley line that ran near the back of his home, Smerk was reading about transportation in books his father would bring home after his regular trips to New York as a buyer for a department store.

“One in particular was called Trains and I read it about 20 times,” Smerk said.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree and MBA from Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., Smerk came to IU Bloomington to obtain his doctoral degree.

After a short time teaching at the University of Maryland, Smerk returned to IU where he served as a professor of transportation at the Kelley School of Business for almost 40 years.

He also served as executive director of IU’s Transportation Services and founded the Institute for Urban Transportation at IU, which later was designated a Center for Transit Research and Management Development by the Federal Transit Administration.

Smerk helped create Bloomington Transit in 1972; helped save the South Shore Railroad, the last electric interurban line; helped form the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District; and served as the governor’s sole appointee on the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District for 30 years.

There is also a scholarship in his name — the American Public Transportation Foundation Scholarship — established in 2006 by his former students, known as “Smerkies.”

“Professor Smerk has taken many young college students who had no idea what they wanted to do and gave them purpose,” said former student Karl Gnadt, managing director of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District. “I had never taken public transit before, or even given it a thought. But Dr. Smerk had such an engaging and enthusiastic style of teaching that within the first few weeks of my first class with him, I knew that I wanted to work in public transit as my career. He taught us that we needed to institutionalize transit into our communities — but what he really did was institutionalize it into his student’s lives.”

Smerk can easily recall the names former students and list their accomplishments in the transportation field. “I’m very happy to have had the role to encourage people,” he said.

“(Someone once told me) I was leading people astray. He said ‘There’s no future in public transportation because it’s not a moneymaker,’ which is true. But the guys and gals that go into it enjoy it, they are doing something good for the community and it’s interesting work.”

Yet Another Change in the Grant Program

March 2, 2013

The Kent Historical Society has made yet another change to the particulars involving a talk by H. Roger Grant about the Erie Railroad to be held in April. The event will now be held at the Christ Episcopal, at 118 South Mantua St. (State Route 43). The date (April 4) and time (7 p.m.) remain the same.

Grant, a professor of history at Clemson University, will speak about the overall state of the Erie Railroad before its merger with the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad in 1960 to create the Erie Lackawanna.

In particular, Grant will focus on the career of Erie executive Robert Woodruff and how the culture of the Erie caused problems with profitability and creativity.

Grant Talk on Erie RR Moved to April 4

February 28, 2013

Due to a schedule conflict, the lecture by history professor and lifetime Akron Railroad Club member H. Roger Grant has been moved up a week.

Grant will now speak before the Kent Historical Society on Thursday, April 4. The talk will begin at 7 p.m. in the First Christian Church in Kent. The event is free and open to the public.

The topic of the talk will be the overall state of the Erie Railroad before its merger with the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad in 1960 to create the Erie Lackawanna.

In particular, Grant will focus on the career of Erie executive Robert Woodruff and how the culture of the Erie caused problems with profitability and creativity.