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Valued Railroad Photographs Donated To C&O Society

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CLIFTON FORGE — A valuable batch of historical photographs from a well-known pillar of publishing has been donated to the Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society, the 52-year-old non-profit organization that preserves, studies, and publishes the transportation history of the C&O Railway.

Many railroad enthusiasts will be familiar with the name of J. David Ingles, who was very notably with Kalmbach Publishing for 47
years. In addition to that long career, after a time as a newspaperman in Springfield, Ill., Ingles joined the Trains magazine staff in 1971 as associate editor and succeeded David P. Morgan as editor in 1987, completing his career from 1992 until his death in 2020 as senior editor.

He was born in Dearborn, Mich., and his career was at Kalmbach headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Now being scanned
into the C&O Historical Society’s electronic database, many of Ingles’ donated slides are of Chesapeake & Ohio Railway operations in Michigan.

Unlike the large slide collections of so many rail enthusiasts that do not end up with archival groups, Ingles’ photos were sorted out by some of his railfan friends at the request of his daughter Susan and donated to appropriate historical organizations for each piece of subject matter.

The C&O Historical Society received the C&O Railway-related portion of his collection several months ago, and the organization is now scanning and entering the donation’s approximately 3,000 slides into its digital archive.

Because most of the images are taken on C&O Railway lines in Michigan and Ohio, their addition to the C&OHS collection is very welcome since that region has the least coverage in their indexed photo collection. According to the C&O Historical Society, images taken of other railroads have been sent to their historical organizations as well.

The C&O Historical Society is most grateful to Susan Ingles for these images, and for her understanding
of the importance of these photos to the history of railroading, especially during the decades of the 1960s
and 1970s. C&O Historical Society Founder and Chief Historian, Thomas W. Dixon, Jr., expressed a
combination of relief and excitement at the donation.

“We hear of so many collections that are discarded by heirs, or are sold to commercial interests where they are not available for public use, but as part of our mission as a 501(c)(3) organization, the C&OHS will make these images available to all interested
people at reasonable prices,” Dixon said.

Commenting on the donation of material so suited to the organization’s research needs, C&O Historical Society President Mark Totten stated, “This is an exemplary example of cooperation within the historical community. It was with a great deal of foresight and respect for the subject matter that Mr. Ingles’ daughter Susan saw fit to oversee organized dissemination of her father’s work, identifying historical groups nationally and making many separate contacts. We are incredibly grateful that Mr. Ingles’ family
recognized the importance of this material and invested so much time with their volunteers. Our collection is richer because of this vision, and we will be honored to preserve and publish J. David Ingles’
magnificent photography of C&O Railway subjects.”

Dixon concluded with comments on the meaning of this acquisition, “The donation of these photos to C&OHS ensures that they are and will be available to anyone interested, member or public, as long as the society exists, and at a reasonable cost. They can prove a further lasting legacy to a gentleman named J. David Ingles as well. I never knew him well, but I did have a few contacts with him in the mid-to-late 1970s, and he was always a considerate and helpful person for me, a virtual unknown in the august company of railfans in that period. Dave Ingles is gone, but some of his camera work will remain for future use and enjoyment.”

The C&O Historical Society’s business office and archive is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and may be contacted by telephone at (540) 862-2210 or by email at cohs@cohs.org. The C&OHS archive database is available online at archives.cohs.org. Updates and additional information can be found on Facebook under @cohs.org.

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