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(Early Cuban Railroads). A collection of two letters and four printed forms relating to the Compañia de Caminos de Hierro de la Habana and the Compañía del Camino de Hierro entre las Ciudades de Puerto Principe y Nuevitas. Havana & Puerto Principe: , 1834–40. Letters: 4to (25 x 20 cm, 9.875" x 8"). 16 pp., 7 pp. (last blank). Printed documents: Folio (30.5 x 21 cm, 12" x 8.25"). 4 leaves. $2,500.00
In the earliest period of railroad technology, Cuban leaders became interested in a rail line to carry sugar and coffee from inland to the port in Havana. In 1837 the railroad was launched, one of the first in the world and beating Spain by more than a decade. Civil engineer Benjamin Hall Wright (1801–81), son of Benjamin Wright, chief engineer for much of the Erie Canal project, was hired to consult on the Cuban rail project. These two letters (dated 8 January and 17 May 1834), written in fluent Spanish and addressed to Wenceslao de Villa Urrutia, discuss the supplies and funds needed for the road from Havana to Güines in the interior, as well as for an additional proposed road to Rincon, also describing the necessary grading work.
The four printed documents are stock certificates issued by the "Compañia del Camino de Hierro entre las Ciudades de Puerto Príncipe y Nuevitas." They are partially printed and completed in manuscript, issued with the appropriate (and interesting) stamps to members of the Betancourt family, and signed with flourishes by multiple officers. The Betancourts were deeply involved in the development of early railroads in Cuba.
=> The letters have all the characteristics to be expected of copies retained in a bound volume maintained by Benjamin Hall Wright.
Zanetti & Garcia, Sugar & Railroads: A Cuban History, pp. 18–33. All documents overall in excellent condition with only some age-toning; all leaves loose. Letters with evidence, as above, of having been in a sewn volume. (40980) Please RESHELVE This.
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