1884 American Express Night Train

Art on Sunday #16

I came across this print today while looking through railroad related images on the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, There is little information available about this American Express advertising print.  The copyright owner, Mr. M. F. Berry, was the American Express general agent in New York City, “his duties being the general management and oversight of all matters in connection with the company’s local business.”1

I’ve always thought of American Express in terms of their credit card – we’ve never had one from them –, but never thought about the express part of their name.

In 1852, American Express2 started as an express mail business in Buffalo, New York with the merger of express companies owned by Henry Wells, William G. Fargo, and John Warren Butterfield.  When Butterfield and other directors objected to the proposal that American Express extend operations to California, Fargo and Wells started Wells Fargo & Co. in 1852.

Night scene on the New York Central Railroad, American Express company’s special express train. © Apr. 11, 1884. Image retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2003674534/ (Accessed September 18, 2016.)

Copyright, 1884, by M.F. Berry, New York City

J.W. Pratt & Co., Publishers, 73 to 79 Fulton Street, New York City


  1. The Railway Age Monthly and Railway Service Magazine, Volume 3, page 27, Railway Age Publishing Company, 1882 (Accessed September 18, 2016.)
  2. American Express, Wikipedia (Accessed September 18, 2016.)
art, art on sunday, railroad

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