Robert A. Witbeck Collection


Robert A. Witbeck (1928–2017) was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Robert Raymond Witbeck of Moscow, Idaho and Ruth Atkins of West Hartford, Connecticut. He was graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, in 1950 and served in the US Army from 1951 to 1953. He was a tank platoon leader and aide-de-camp, and he was honorably discharged as a Second Lieutenant.

After a brief stint with the New Haven Railroad as a locomotive fireman, Witbeck began working at Rockland Atlas National Bank of Boston in their bond department. He continued to work in Boston in the Municipal Bond market for Estabrook & Son, Colonial Management, Bank of Boston, and Kidder Peabody, until he retired in 1990. He served as president, Municipal Bond Club of Boston, 1965–1966.

He photographed the late steam era extensively, traveling throughout the United States on several extended road trips. He was also a talented artist and made several well-executed drawings of locomotives, often based on his photographs.

Witbeck was married to Amy Elliott from 1954 until her death in 1964 and they had four daughters: Amey Witbeck Witherbee of Concord, Massachusetts, the late Ruth Witbeck Somerville, Parsons Witbeck Clark of South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, and Martha Witbeck Chamberlain of Palo Alto, California. He was married to Patricia Bright from 1964 until her death in 2007. He died in 2017.

Robert A. Witbeck, courtesy of the Witbeck family

Witbeck Collection Overview

  • Gift of Robert A. Witbeck
  • 1,000 black-and-white negatives
  • 1950s action shots of steam locomotives
  • Coverage includes railroads throughout the United States

Reproduction Requests

  • High resolution scans from the Witbeck Collection are available for print and electronic reproduction
  • To make requests, visit the collections page or send an email to