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The Smiths Go to Town…and Often (1940)

In 1940, The New Haven Railroad created the publicity brochure, The Smiths Go to Town…and Often. This pamphlet publicizes the half hour service – “Yes, a train EVERY HALF-HOUR from early morning till late at night to and from Grand Central Terminal, New York.”

The brochure is directed at commuter families who reside 30-40 minutes outside of New York City. The publication tells the story of the Smith family who “lived on the sound side of Westchester.” The husband, who worked in the city, took the train because he worked long days and wanted to “go with the dispatch” where he “traveled in good company” and “always arrived on time!

Mrs. Smith loved the train because of the convenience. She could shop, attend luncheon dates, drop her packages off at Grand Central, and meet her husband for a late-night dinner. She enjoyed the luxury of not having to deal with driving in the traffic or having her new car scratched.

The Smiths’ twin daughters loved the “teas and night clubbing of Manhattan.” To not “risk their precious ‘right to drive’…they, too, went to town often…and enthusiastically!...by the same half hourly service.” The brochure mentions that Mr. & Mrs. Smith were rarely worried about the twins even when they stayed for the Night Cap train which left Grand Central at 3:25 a.m.

This brochure is an example of the railroad advertising brochures found in Special Collections. Special Collections in McCain Library & Archives has a large collection of railroad materials. Some of the items in the collection include publicity ephemera, railroad periodicals from the 19th-20th centuries, railroad histories and annual reports, and the papers of the Mississippi Central Railroad, Illinois Central Railroad, and the Association of American Railroads.

For more information about this brochure and the railroad collection, contact Jennifer Brannock at Jennifer.Brannock@usm.edu or 601.266.4347.

Text by Jennifer Brannock, Curator of Rare Books and Mississippiana