Southern Pacific Blotters

Here are five Southern Pacific blotters from the Dale Hastin collection. The first one, dated 1937, advertises “two famed trains to California,” the Sunset and the Argonaut. It lists SP agents in Birmingham and Chattanooga, neither of which were actually on the SP.

Click images to download PDFs of these blotters, which are 0.3 to 0.6 MB in size.

The second blotter doesn’t have a date but appears to also be from the 1930s. Directed to Austin residents, it advertises two trains a day to Houston, where travelers can meet the Sunset or Argonaut. The pitch, “Time is opportunity-Save it” appears ironic today as the 1936 timetable shows the midday train as having an average speed of under 33 mph while the overnight train’s average speed is about 25 mph.

The blotter for the Daylight is in better condition, suggesting it may be from after World War II. It advertises two Daylights, one in the morning and one at noon. The noon Daylight was cut from the timetable in 1949, so this blotter is from before then.

The San Joaquin Daylight began operating in 1941. Since this blotter says it is “new” and war restrictions probably would have prevented such elaborate advertising in later years, this blotter is probably from 1941. Note that it is directed to Fresno travelers.

Since the streamlined Sunset Limited was introduced in 1950, this is the newest of the blotters shown here. We’ve seen this picture before on other Sunset Limited advertising.

Confession: To maximize the number of Dale Haskin’s blotters that I could scan in the time available, I didn’t scan the backs of all of them. I did try to note the color and then used a generic back of that color in the PDFs for the blotters.

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