Friday, October 10, 2014

The 1929 version of a cranky email from the boss

Here's a piece of historic ephemera that might hit a little too close to home for some of you, especially the middle management types. I picked this up at a junk shop during the eighth anniversary trip that Joan and I took to Coudersport and other small towns across Pennsylvania in 2013.1 (That's how we roll.)

It's from the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway Company (BR&P), which operated from 1869 until 1932, when it was absorbed into the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

For more historical context regarding this memo on the topic of decreasing overtime, I think it's important to note that H.E. Patterson send this on November 25, 1929, mere weeks after the stock market crash of 1929 that sent many American companies into a panic. Cutting costs would have been at the forefront of everyone's minds. While we don't know for sure that this railroad memo is related to the happenings on Wall Street, it's a reasonable assumption.

1. This memo is from the same place where we discovered these freight waybills.

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