A Guide to the William Mahl Papers, 1844-1916
Born in Carlsruhe, Germany, William Mahl (1843-1918) immigrated with his family to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1848. In 1861, he began working for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad before becoming auditor for the Louisville, Cincinnati & Frankfort Railroad six years later. Mahl joined the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1882, working closely as comptroller with owner and president C. P. Huntington and his successor E. H. Harriman. Mahl also served as comptroller of the Union Pacific Railroad after it took control of the Southern Pacific in 1901. In 1912, Mahl became vice president of the company, retiring a year later.
"William Mahl Dies; Railroad Pioneer."New York Times. May 14, 1918.
"Frederick William Mahl."A History of the New California: Its Resources and People, Vol. 1, edited by Leigh Hadley Irvine, 475-476. New York and Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905.
Composed of correspondence, memoirs, notebooks, memoranda, photographs, and printed material, the William Mahl Papers, 1844-1916, document William and J. T. Mahl’s business affairs and work with the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads. Memoranda and correspondence, especially letters to William from J. T., primarily discuss the operations of the Southern Pacific Railroad east of El Paso as well as the construction and maintenance of rail lines in Texas. Notebooks and manuscripts chronicle J. T.’s engineering and writing career in the 1890s and 1900s, while the memoirs describe William’s career in the railroad industry. Newspaper clippings, reports, and pamphlets in the printed material illustrate the accounting and business affairs of the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads as well as the companies’ close ties in the early 1900s. Additionally, photographs depict members of the Mahl, Skidmore, and Brodtmann families, graphs of Swiss railroad statistics, the construction of the Pecos Viaduct, and the locomotive C. P. Huntington.
This collection is open for research use.
William Mahl Papers, 1844-1916, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Eugenia Nash Belden, March 1941.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers