California Limited Stationery

The California Limited began operating as Santa Fe’s premiere train in 1892 and continued on the timetable until 1954–though superseded as the railway’s top train by the Chief in 1926. The California Limited was an all-Pullman seven-car train aimed at elite travelers, but Santa Fe had enough equipment to run several sections at a time, once running as many as 23 in one day.

The Kachina dolls are a nice touch on this graphic. Click image to download a PDF of this letterhead.

Wikipedia says the 1892 version of the train had all-compartment sleepers, but that seems unlikely as the vast majority of Pullman cars at the time were sections with, perhaps, one drawing room. The 1900 booklet below, which someone scanned from the Library of Congress collection, confirms that most of the sleepers on the train had at least 10 sections, which Wikipedia’s editor must have confused with compartments.

Click image to download a 2.0-MB PDF of this 36-page booklet.

This booklet can be downloaded from, but I removed extraneous pages and OCRed the booklet. Santa Fe apparently put out a booklet like this each “season,” which for California travel at the time was November through April. The 1900 booklet notes that, for the first time that year, the train will go to both San Francisco and Los Angeles.

This edition of the booklet is enhanced by numerous multi-colored sketches of the train and sights travelers can see in and on the way to California. “Thousands of tourists know by experience that The California Limited embodies all that is most luxurious in modern railway travel,” says the booklet. “Those not thus informed will find full details herein.” It is possible that the stuffiness of the language was meant to reflect the quality of the train.

Click image to download a 9.4-MB PDF of this 24-page booklet.

The 1904 edition of the booklet (which someone scanned from the University of California, Berkeley, library) is completely different, with grey-scale drawings and much more text. The 1906 edition, below, uses the same drawings and mostly the same text, but the text has been completely reset in a different typeface, indicating the effort Santa Fe was willing to make for its first-class travelers.

Click image to download a 3.1-MB PDF of this 22-page booklet.

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