Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Primary Sources in Transportation: Getting Started

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.

Transportation Center

Northwestern University Transportation Center (NUTC) is a leading interdisciplinary education and research institution serving industry, government, and the public with substantive and enduring contributions to the movement of materials, people, energy, and information. 

(847) 491-7287

Other Resources

Other Local Resources

Digital and Archival Collections

Online Exhibits

The 747 Takes Off: The Dawn of the Jumbo Jet Age   undefined 

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.



Independence in the Air PosterIndependence 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.


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.



Lovers of the Open Road and the Flying Wheel: From Iowa to San Francisco in a Model T

Your Librarian

Rachel Cole's picture
Rachel Cole
Northwestern University
Transportation Library
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Follow transportationlibrary on Instagram for a daily dose of transportation history from our special collections.

Transportation Library

The Transportation Library supports the students and faculty of the Transportation Center and the Center for Public Safety. Containing more than 500,000 items, we are one of the largest transportation information centers in the world, encompassing information on all modes of transportation including air, rail, highway, pipeline, water, urban transport, and logistics.


Reference staff are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

(847) 491-5273


Make an Appointment

The Transportation Library staff is here to serve the information needs of the Northwestern University community with individual research appointments and user education for classes. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

Databases for Historical Information