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Charles in Wonderland

E. H. Harriman scored a solid coup over arch adversary Jim Hill in 1904, when he stole away Charles S. Fee, Northern Pacific's general passenger and ticket agent, to become Southern Pacific's passenger traffic manager. Henceforth until his death (still under SP employ) in 1923, his name was found on just about every piece of literature that came out of his department. He was quite popular with his fellows, and his obit in the SP Bulletin lauded him as, "the dean of western railroad passenger traffic men and probably no individual has done more to make western scenic wonders known to the world."

Charles S. Fee

"Wonders" may have been a calculated choice of words, for during his later tenure with NP, Fee generated a series of annual promotional booklet under his own copyright entitled Wonderland '[year]. They were indeed excellent promotional items in terms of the times, but to today eyes some of their graphics, while sometimes gorgeous, nevertheless have an air of the patently goofy about them, to wit:

(click on the image below for a several-years-worth Google Books Wonderland compilation, reduced in file size from 149 megs to 47 megs for downloading ease by thoughtful Wx4 technicians)


(click on the image for a splendid 1000 pixel wide version)

Of all the editions of Wonderland, our favorite article by far highlights Fee's true promotional genius - 1901's highbrow "The History of a Trademark" (PDF HERE) which traces the Northern Pacific's monad logo "back to more than 3,000 years before the Christ child was cradled in the manger at Bethlehem". Heady stuff, more-so because its origin was Chinese, and Fee was sorta "in your face" with Chinese Exclusion Acts supporters, who were most of white America. (a significantly reduced-in-file-size copy of the full Google Wonderland PDF is HERE)

The piece was so inspirational to Wx4 staff that, we decided that, in the absence of Mr. Fee, it was incumbent upon us to update the monad for modern times:

If you squint, this looks like an executive summary for Precision Scheduled Railroading.