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Thomas Reese Railroad and Printing collection

Identifier: AC-491

Scope and Contents

These records contains Thomas Reese's collection of railroad photographs, ephemera, and memorabilia as well as papers relating to the printing industry, specifically Hickory Printing Group and Stone Printing & Manufacturing Company. Railroad companies well represented in the collection include: Norfolk & Western Railway Company, Southern Railway Systems, Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company, and Seaboard Air Line Railroad; however, ephemera, timetables, and other materials from many other railroad companies are also in the collection. Among the artifacts are several examples of 20th Century cameras, model trains and accessories, Lionel train lamps, and examples of printing equipment. The railroad photographs and drawings are also particularly extensive.


  • 1883-2009, undated
  • Majority of material found within 1930 - 1990


The materials are in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading Room without restrictions. An appointment for research is recommended.

Biographical Note

Thomas William Reese was born October 17, 1924 in Hickory, North Carolina to William Marvin and Myrtle Settlemyre Reese. Reese was Chairman of the Board of Hickory Printing Group, Inc., the company started by his parents in 1917. He was active in the community and served on many boards including Appalachian State University Board of Trustees, Printing Industries of the Carolinas, and National Association of Printers and Lithographers.

With a strong interest in both trains and photography, Reese was well known for his annual train calendars featuring his own photographs. Reese was a nationally recognized conservationist and early innovator of these practices applied in the printing industry.

Reese established the Thomas W. Reese Graphic Arts and Imaging Technology at Appalachian State University, where he received an honorary doctorate degree in fine and applied arts in 2009. Fulfilling his commitment to conservation, the Reese Institute for the Conservation of Natural Resources was established at Lenoir-Rhyne University, his alma mater.

Thomas Reese died at his home in Hickory on November 26, 2009.

Historical Note

Hickory Printing Company, Inc. was founded in 1917 by William M. Reese and Sheriff George Bost. They began with a 10 x 15 hand-fed press, a paper cutter, some metal type and one helper. Reese bought out his partner in 1919. Reese's son, Thomas, entered the family business in 1948 and the company was incorporated in 1950. Thomas Reese assumed the presidency in 1966 after the death of his father. In 1976, Hickory Business Forms, Valdese Printing Company, and Gilbert Printing Company merged with Hickory Printing Company to form the Hickory Printing Group. In December 1977, Hickory Printing Group acquired Stone Printing and Manufacturing Co. in Roanoke, Virginia, which greatly broadened the company's market base and added accounts such as Norfolk & Western Railway. HPG's first train calendar was published in 1985.


55 Linear Feet (60 boxes, 3 photograph boxes, 10 record cartons, 2 oversize manuscript boxes, 5 flat file boxes, 11 framed photographs/art)


The Thomas Reese Railroad and Printing Collection contains information about trains, the printing industry, and Thomas Reese, president of Hickory Printing Group and an avid railroad enthusiast. Highlights of the collection include the train photographs, railroad time tables, and printing equipment as well as correspondence regarding the printing industry in relation to railroad companies.


This collection is arranged into 4 series: Railroad Records, Hickory Printing Group Records, Photographs and Artwork, and Artifacts. Subseries are primarily arranged alphabetically. For more detailed arrangement information, please read the series descriptions.

Acquisitions Information

Thomas Reese bequeathed his collection to Appalachian State University and it arrived in 2010, accessioned as AC.2010.050. This collection was opened to the public on June 17, 2011.

Processing Information

Processed by Cynthia Harbeson, June 2011.
AC.491: Thomas Reese Railroad and Printing Collection, 1883-2009, undated
Cynthia Harbeson
June 7, 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Appalachian State University Special Collections Repository

218 College Street
Boone U.S.A. - North Carolina 28608-2026 United States
8282624975 (Fax)