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About this Guide
This guide represents a selection of resources available through Northwestern University's Transportation Library. It is not intended to be all-inclusive, but a starting point in helping to guide your research. Please contact a librarian for additional assistance or inquiries about collections, items, or subjects.
Archival Collections - Air Transportation
David Toms Collection
The David Toms Collection consists of 1,059 transportation-related items from 123 airlines and cruise lines. The collection primarily consists of airline menus and safety cards, with a strong secondary component of airline-related ephemera and cruise ship menus.
George M. Foster Timetable Collection
The George M. Foster Timetable Collection is a companion to the Transportation Library Menu Collection. It provides contextual depth for that collection, as many of the timetables include Foster's notes as to flight date and time, and can be matched to his annotated menus. The collection consists of 1766 timetables issued between 1929 and 1991. There are 1695 airline, 56 railroad, and 15 ship and ferry timetables. The collection is international in scope, reflecting the scope of Foster's many years of travel.
Lawrence M. Nagin Airline Menu and Memorabilia Collection
The Lawrence M. Nagin Airline Menu and Memorabilia Collection is a unique collection of transportation materials centered on the aviation industry of the late 20th century. Lawrence M. Nagin (1941-2009) was an airline executive with tenures at various airlines, notably Tiger Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways. The collection is not limited to materials related to Lawrence Nagin’s professional career; a second component of the collection includes various materials from the travels of Lawrence Nagin and his wife Shirley Nagin.
Leigh Fisher Papers Related to O'Hare International Airport
Leigh Fisher (1922-1982) was an airport consultant and founder of Leigh Fisher Associates (LFA) who advised on the design and construction of airports throughout the second half of the 20th century. Fisher advised on over 200 airports worldwide.
Transportation Library Menu Collection
The Menu Collection of the Northwestern University Transportation Library currently includes more than 400 menus from 54 national and international airline carriers, cruise ships, and railroad companies, with coverage from 1929 to the present. U.S. airlines predominate, but European, Asian, African, Australasian, and South American companies are also represented, with particular strength from the 1960s to the late 1980s.
Digital Exhibits - Air Transportation
O'Hare at 50
On March 23, 1963, President John F. Kennedy officially dedicated O'Hare International Airport. Fifty years later, our beloved O'Hare is still going strong and has become a city and national transportation icon.
Independence in the Air: African Aviation in the 1960s
As nations throughout Africa attained their independence in the 1960s and surrounding decades, the establishment of national airlines soon followed. These airlines served important functions in connecting regions underserved by rail and road infrastructure. Equally as important, they served as symbols of national identity, economic expansion, modernity, and technological advancement. This exhibit looks at the history of African airlines through materials from the collections of the Transportation Library and the Herskovits Library of African Studies at Northwestern University.
The 747 Takes Off: Dawn of the Jumbo Jet Age
Longer than the Wright brothers’ first flight, wider than a boulevard, and with a tail height as tall as a six-story building, the 747 was a revolution in aviation technology and the passenger experience when it entered service on January 22, 1970. With the first flight from New York to London, Pan Am’s Clipper Young America ushered in the jet age’s second phase: the era of wide body aircraft.
On Board with Design: Passenger Transportation and Graphic Design in the Mid-20th Century
This exhibit draws from the special and circulating collections at Northwestern University’s Transportation Library to highlight examples of branding and graphic design in the form of passenger ephemera such as menus, timetables, and ticket envelopes, as well as through the library’s extensive collection of annual reports.
Additional O'Hare Resources
O'Hare International Airport
The library's collections contain a wealth of primary source information on O'Hare International Airport, from the early planning stages to the present day.
Chicago O'Hare International Airport Collection
Comprising material from 1927 through 1998, the Chicago O’Hare International Airport Digital Collection includes studies, annual reports, statistics, plans, and other information covering the operations of the airport and its transit connections to the region produced by the City of Chicago and other organizations.
Search Our Collections
Search for materials by airline name, airport, or other search terms. Example searches by subject headings for aviation include: