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Howard Killam Collection

Call Number: RH MS 1381


This collection consists of photographic material including slides, negatives, and photographs of various train stations, engines, cars, and cabooses, as well as manuscript material about trains and railroads. The material was collected and documented by Howard Killam througout his lifetime.


  • Creation: 1908 - 1992


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Howard Killam (1918-1993)

Howard Daniel Killam, Sr. was born on November 1, 1918 near Springfield in Texas County, Missouri, to Daniel Drake Killam and Gertrude Belle Killam (nee Richards). He had two siblings, Ruth Knauss Bowler (April 6, 1906 – April 5, 1993) and Eva Killam (1910-1915), and the family resided in Mountain Grove, Texas County, Missouri throughout his childhood.

Howard married Eunice Ruby Clifton on September 19, 1940, and they moved to Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas where Howard worked as a railroad carman for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad. Howard and Eunice had 7 children together: Edith M. Houser (October 7, 1941 –), Howard Daniel “Dan” Killam, Jr. (January 13, 1943 – November 27, 2009), Raymond “Ray” H. Killam (May 29, 1944 –), Lois V. Sweatt (June 13, 1946 –), Ruth Esther Killam (1947 – 1948), Phillip “Phil” Richard Killam (May 17, 1950 – April 3, 2001), and Roy Eugene Killam (February 28, 1952 –). Howard and Eunice divorced sometime after 1963. On January 21, 1977, Howard married Lola Katherine Bush in Topeka. Lola and Howard remained in Topeka until his death on February 9, 1993 at the age of 74. He was buried in his hometown of Mountain Grove, Missouri.

Throughout his life Howard maintained an interest in photography as a pastime, particularly photographing train stations, trains, and railroads, aided by his profession. He mainly photographed MKT (Missouri-Kansas-Texas) railroads and depots. Howard’s photographs were donated by his sons to historical and archival collections across Kansas and Missouri after his death, including the Kenneth Spencer Research Library.

[Information retrieved from, federal and city census records, United States public records, WWII draft cards, and the "Killam, Howard D., Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Depot and Locomotive/Rolling Stock, Photographic prints, 1949-1979” finding aid from Pittsburg State University Special Collections.]


22.25 Linear Feet (26 boxes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Howard Killam collection has been organized into two series: indexes and other manuscript materials; and photographs, slides, and negatives.

The bulk of the collection consists of photographic material about railroad stations, engines, and other railroad cars (i.e. cabooses). Photographs, slides, and negatives have been separated out and are typically organized by rail company and by what is being photographed. Engines have typically been separated out by diesel and steam.

Notable railroad companies include the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe, Burlington Northern, Chicago Burlington & Quincy, Chicago Rock Island & Pacific, Kansas City Southern, Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy), Missouri Pacific, and Union Pacific, though several other lines and companies are also represented in the collection.

Physical Location

RH MS 1381

Physical Location

RH MS-P 1381

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Lola Killam, 1994.

Separated Materials

Marre, Louis A. "Frisco diesel power." 1984. Located at Spencer Research Library at RH D9568.

Isely, Malcom D. "Arkansas Valley interurban." 1977. Located at Spencer Research Library at RH D9569.

Isely, Malcom D. "Last spike is driven." 1969. Located at Spencer Research Library at RH D9679.

Douglas, Jack H. "Narrow gauge Silverton train." 1972. Located at Spencer Research Library at RH Ck437.

Douglas, Jack H. "Railroad station planbook." 1977. Located at Spencer Research Library at RH Ck438.

"The Official railway guide (North American travel ed.)." 1983. Located at Spencer Research Library at RH Ser D3244.


Guide to the Howard Killam Collection
Howard Killam Collection
Finding aid prepared by eear, 2016. Finding aid encoded by eear, 2016. Finding aid revised by kls, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written English.
Finding aid permalink

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States