Home Page     Table of Contents     Next Chapter

Notes on the Collection of Transfers

W. J. Sidis




        134. File Numbers for Transfers. A fairly complete record and identification of a transfer can be made by putting on its back, in any available unprinted space (though indeed there may be little enough of such space) the fare rate represented by the transfer (including transfer fee, if any), and, below it, a file number arranged under any convenient method, so long as that file number completely identifies the transfer form in question.

        In Sections 25, 26, 67, 76, were indicated a mode of notation for the issuing units of transfers. Besides the issuing unit, generally speaking, all that will be needed in any case to define a transfer form will be (1) the class of transfer; (2) the issue; (3) the form number; (4) the color. There may be other item; also, such as the half-day, which if they deal directly with conditions of issuance or acceptance, whether of time, of place, or of circumstance, should be included with the class of transfer. The class of transfer, as well as any items included with it, should be denoted by a code which represents each class, or each half-day, or each of any of the other necessary items, by some letter or number; we would suggest the use of initials of names as far as convenient. These letters or numbers may be placed following the code number of the issuing unit, or, if more convenient, inserted into that code number, as for instance directly following the number of the system or sub-system, the notation for the rest of the issuing unit following. Thus, if the transfer in question is a two-cent transfer on an outbound 15th Street car of the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system (this line belonging to the Nassau Electric sub-system), we note that the issuing sub-system is denoted in Appendix B by 2Avi(3). There being no company numbering of the routes, we proceed to make up one for that sub-system, according to which the 15th Street line is, let us say, line 10. Since we represent out by "o" and in by "i," the issuing unit will be denoted by 2Avi(3) 100. The class of transfer is Cash Ticket A, which we will denote by tA. Inserting this after the sub-system number, the file number which we put on the transfer will be: 2Avi(3)tAI0o. Above this will be put 5+2 to denote five-cent fare and two-cent transfer fee. We suggest that regular form transfers should contain no class notation, if that class predominates to a great extent.

        In Section 33, we suggested a code notation for the various issues of transfers incorporated in the collection. The number for the issue, included in braces as indicated in Section 33, should be placed after the file number, but not before form number or color. We should recommend, in order to avoid putting this issue number on every transfer in the collection, especially where there may be only one issue collected, that issue [I] should be understood if the code issue number is omitted. Thus transfers from that issue will contain no issue number on the endorsed file number, while all other issues will contain that item.

        As for the form number, that will be found on many transfers, and, in the case of transfers where it is printed, it should form part of the recorded file number. It should, however, be separated from that number by some special character; we have used for such a separating mark the character II, though, of course, the collector may suit his own taste in such matter, just as in the general devising of a file number code. Thus, the file number 1Ai (1) II 822 on the back of the first transfer of our collection means: District 1 (New England), sub-district A (Boston and vicinity), system "i" (Boston Elevated Railway), sub-system 1 (surface lines), division 1, company form number 822, that is, the form issued from Division 1 of the surface lines of the Boston Elevated Railway, bearing form number 822. If it had been from Issue II, the [II] would have been inserted before the mark II. The color should only be recorded as part of the file number when it is essential to identify the form, that is, when there are, or there are likely to be, several forms differing only in color. We suggest that the color be then inserted following everything else, and in words, not in code.

        As a sample of the combination of these various items, we may instance such a file number as 2Ax II 1 [V] green, meaning green form numbered 1, of Issue V from system 2Ax. Or, again, 2Mi4 [II] white, meaning the white form in Issue II from line 4 of system 2Mi, in other words, the white form of the Broadway line, Buffalo, II N. Y., after the date code surcharge was adopted.

        For fare rates, a code notation is comparatively simple, and the reader will find such a notation suggested in Section 11. So that, for example, when it comes to endorsing the file record of the Buffalo transfer form mentioned above, we will set on the back of it:

2Mi4 [II] white

         The first line of this means that the transfer was issued t for a seven-cent fare, or for a fare of 4 rides for 25 cents. In counting the fare represented, only local fare should be considered within the fare zone where the transfer is issuable and valid, even though it may be issued from longer rides or cover longer rides. Two-zone transfers should , be endorsed with the two-zone fare only if they are not issuable on the payment of less than a two-zone fare.

        Although the file record endorsed on a transfer is not intended to be temporary, we recommend that such endorsement be made in pencil rather than ink, since transfers are commonly made of unsized paper, and many derelicts are in rather bad condition, and in either case the use of ink is likely to spoil the transfer form.

        135. Record of File Code. A file number code for transfers being a complete system of notation, we suggest that a record of the key be kept. This may be divided into several parts, as follows:

        (1) Notation for systems and sub-systems. If the file number of the systems represented be kept, as we have suggested, on the corners of the envelopes, that constitutes a record of the notation for systems; but, in order to keep clear the meaning of the districts and sub-districts, we suggest a series of district maps, such as the one shown at the end of Appendix A. The back of the map forms a convenient place to record the notation for the systems and sub-systems of each district and sub-district.

        (2) Company numbering and lettering of stations, routes or divisions. This is a matter for the observation of the collector, and he might find it out either from local exploration, in case the lettering or numbering of routes shows on the car, or else directly from the transfer forms. Where this affects issuing units (or, in rare cases, transfer-receiving unit), a special record should be kept of this company numbering and lettering. Appendix D will show enough examples of how such a record may be kept. Naturally, a separate record will have to be kept for each system; the records for the various systems may all be kept on the same sheet, but each should be separated by lines from the others, and each should be headed with the name or file number of the respective system.

        (3) File code fur each system, outside of what the company itself provides. This will include code notation for classes of transfers, and for other similar items; notation for issues; and a supplementary notation for issuing units where company lettering or numbering is absent or unknown to the collector. This record should be divided by systems in the same manner as part (2) of the code mentioned above. out should be kept on a separate sheet, to avoid confusion. The notations N, S, E, W, o, i, for the directions need not be noted. The following will serve as an example:

        2A vii: Subscript o―Shuttle; a―Agent's ticket (numbered by station on t'fer); c―Continuing Trip; f―feeder; s-Special; C, D, E―Conductor's Transfer Forms. [II] forms affected November 12, 1922; [III] forms affected by 14th St. Subway, July, 1924.


      Line numbers:
  1―Flatbush Ave. 16―65th St.―Ft. Hamilton
  2―Nostrand Ave.  17―Richmond Hill
  3―Bergen Beach 18―Putnam Ave.
  4―Crosstown  19―Greenpoint
  5―Fulton St.  20―Third Avenue
  6―Nassau Ave.  21―Hamilton Ave.
  7―Graham Ave.  22―Court St.
  8―Bushwick Ave. 23―Myrtle Ave.
  9―Cypress Hills  24―Holy Cross
10―Grand St. 25―Calvary
11―Lorimer St.  26―Union Ave.
12―Tompkins Ave.  27―Grand St. Shuttle
13―Avenue C  28―N. Beach Shuttle
14―Flushing Ave.  29―Meeker Ave.
15―Flushing-Ridgewood  30―Bay Ridge Ave.

        To economize space and paper, the kinds of records mentioned under (2) and (3) should be written as close as possible, and in ink. Spaces left vacant can be boxed of and used for systems to be covered later.

         136. Order of Filing Transfers. It is most desirable to have a definite order for the transfers in each envelope of one's collection, and this order can well be made in approximation to the order of the file numbers endorsed, on the back of the transfers. Of course, this leaves many questions open, such as whether letters or numbers come first in order, or the respective precedence of small and capital letters used in the file code, etc. Such questions should be settled by the collector for each case separately, and he should be guided by simple convenience. Also, for convenience, it may be advisable to depart from strict file number order, so as, for instance, to group together transfers from the same issuing unit, or of the same class, or of the same issue. In the latter case, it has been our rule, irrespective of file number order, to separate transfers of different issues if and only if there is some major distinction of form and arrangement between them. Also it is well to group together transfers differing in color only, arranging them in the order of the names of the respective colors.

        Such matters being for the collector's convenience, are naturally to be guided by that convenience, and there can therefore be no general rules laid down on the subject, beyond the suggestion that the file code supplies a good basis for such ordering.

        137. General Index. A general index of the entire main collection of transfers, listing each transfer separately, is a good way to keep track of exactly what is or is not in the collection. We could hardly advise the use of a card index for this purpose, since the collection itself is not much different in its nature from all actual card index, and the latter would be practically no abbreviation, if any. Of course a card index might group a number of transfers, or even whole systems together, somewhat after the manner of the envelopes in the collection, so that each envelope might be represented by a card in the index; but such an index would have few advantages over a plain list, and would be more unwieldy to handle. Therefore we recommend that the collection be listed on one or more sheets of paper, according to the size of the collection.

        In the index as little reference as possible should be made to anything in the file code; for the index should be sufficiently self-explanatory without any file code. The classification should he by systems; but the classification of the systems, and the classification of listed forms under the systems, need not be at all the same as in the envelopes, though some geographical basis for classifying the systems is recommended. Under each system, classes of transfers and different issues may conveniently be indexed separately; but systems, as well as classes, issues, etc., should be referred to by name or by some easily comprehensible abbreviation. In the case of issues, the date or occasion of the issue is probably the best way to refer to it; as forms introduced beginning 11-2-22. Systems should also be referred to by name, even if abbreviated, as: "N. Y. Rys. System." The regular code notation for fares, however, may well be used after the proper heading, whether it be the system, or some sub-classification, or some individual form.

        To prepare such an index, a sheet of ordinary typewriter paper may be ruled into seven or eight columns on each side, leaving a little space at the top for general headings. General geographical headings may be put at the top half a page or a page to each heading. Columns, portions of columns may be headed With smaller geographical notations or systems (sometimes one system may take up two or more columns). Any such headings taking up only part of a column may be separated from others In the same column by a line across the column; sub-headings may be separated by a shorter horizontal line. In the case of every sort of heading, whatever it may represent, there should be allowed considerably more space than is actually taken up, to make room for new acquisitions in each system, region, etc.

        Under each heading or sub-heading should be listed by some convenient identifying name the various transfers actually in the collection under that heading, these names being listed on the left side of the column; on the right side of the column, the respective dates, preferably in such form as: 2-7-25. This dating serves as a check on the issues, should it he difficult to describe these properly.

        A transfer is best described by the issuing unit plus any information such as class, issue, color, etc. If issue and class are in the headings or sub-headings, it is not necessary to repeat them in the description, which should be in as small a space as possible. A name should be given to the issuing unit, wherever possible; if there is a company number or letter also, this can conveniently be added in parentheses. The abbreviations N, S, E, W, for the points of the compass are sufficiently well known to be used in the index.

         By keeping general transfer index of this sort, one can always see what is in the collection, almost at a glance.

        As a type of general geographical headings, we may mention our present headings (of course, constantly changing): N. Y. City and Vicinity; New England (excepting Massachusetts, and subdivided into. Connecticut and elsewhere); Massachusetts; California; Philadelphia and Vicinity; Washington and Baltimore; Upper Lake States (subdivided into Ohio and West of Ohio); Upper Lake Region East of Ohio; Miscellaneous Atlantic; Elsewhere.

         In the above sample index columns, note the empty spaces left for possible future additions to the collection. Note further that, as new transfers are added, each such new one should be registered in its proper place in the index, together with its date (or the notation "no date," if the date is unknown). If a transfer in bad condition is replaced by a better one, the date registered in the index should be changed; this can usually be done by writing the new date over and covering the old one; occasionally, however, the ink eradicator will be required.

        138. Index of Hints. To aid in the search for new forms to add to the collection, the collector should keep an index of hints for new forms, classified by systems, though such an index will generally be compact enough not to require that the systems be arranged in any particular form. These hints may be by the reversibility of fares rule (see Section 14), or by any other information as to the nature of the transfer-issuing units, color schedule, etc., or as to the general transfer regulations (whether universal privilege or not, or how nearly universal the transfer privilege is). Section 14 gives a fair idea of how to keep such an index. Another sample extract from a "hint index" may be shown here:

     In Norristown: DeKalb or Bridgeport Division to Main St. In Pottstown: King or     Hanover to Chestnut Hill car.

     Harrison or Franklin to Beach.

        Middletown, Vine, Lingleston, Capital, Pembrook Square, Rockville, Riverside to Reservoir Park.

        On the acquisition of new transfers, any listed in the "hint index" should be removed; the same should be done with any "hint" in the index that is found to be incorrect. Also, when new transfers are acquired, they may give additional hints for new forms, which should be entered in the "hint index" for future reference.

        This "hint index" is permanent enough to be kept in ink, and all necessary erasures should be made with ink eradicator. When a new issue of transfers is made on any system, the hints for that system should be thoroughly revised accordingly; and frequently a rearrangement of the index should be made when it is necessary to provide more space for new entries, or consolidation is possible where the eradicator has left empty spaces.

        In some cases, with a variable color schedule compounded with issuing units, it may be desirable to have a separate hint sheet for such a system, ruled into rows and columns, the rows headed with names of issuing units, and the columns with the colors. All transfers already in the collection or acquired may be indicated by a cross in the proper space; empty spaces are forms to be looked for.

        We have adopted this in several cases, and an entry in the main "hint index" may be made in somewhat the following form:

    See special "Connecticut" sheet.

         139. Index of Duplicates. Where a duplicate collection is kept, the index of that collection will not take up much space, and need not be very carefully arranged. Alt sorts of abbreviations, short of using the file code, are permissible, and it is even as well to use the file number for the systems to head the group of duplicates from each system.

        Rearrangement may be required but not often. Where there are extra duplicates, whether kept separately or not they may be indicated by following the name of the form ,vith the number of duplicates of that form, separated from the name by a uash to avoid confusion. The following sample extract of a duplicate index will show sufficiently how it may properly be kept:

9Ev: River-Bayside E
1Li: H: Franklin Ave. (white)
       NH: General form (pink)
               State St. (pink)
               Wallgfd (pink)
9Bi: 1921 issue: A out
                             R out
        1924 issue: H in    Bus ticket
                             H out  D in
                             M out  L in
                             R in―87

         In the above instance, the indication is that there are 86 extra duplicates of the last form listed (87 altogether), not including, of course, the original form in the main collection, which the duplicate index should not take into account.

        140. "Bad Condition" Index. This index has been fairly well described already in Section 117. It may well be kept in a way similar to the index of duplicates, except that there should be parallel columns, the left side for the transfer, and the right side for some notation as to the condition of the transfer. When a transfer in had condition is taken into the main collection, its condition should be noted in the index with a view to possible replacement by one of the same form in better condition. In case such a form is replaced by one in better, but not very good condition, the notation may be altered accordingly. In case of replacement by a good-condition transfer, the form in question should be removed from the index, preferably by ink eradicator. The same should be done when the form in question becomes obsolete (as when it is no longer issued, or replaced by a new issue): for then there is no further chance of replacement, and it would be confusing to leave it on the index and have the collector continue to look for a chance to replace it.

        141. Summary of Transfer Indexing. A complete indexing of a transfer collection thus includes:

    (1) A general index (Section 137).

    (2) A "hint index," with supplementary schedule sheets where needed (see Section 138).

    (3) An index of duplicates (Section 139).

    (4) An index of forms in the mail collection in bad condition (Section 140). .

    ( 5) A score or count of the collection (see Section 133) ; this may well be kept on the back side of either index 3 or 4.

    (6) A list of company number and lettering arrangements.

    (7) A record of the file code, in two parts, one part for the systems and sub-systems, the other part for the forms from each individual system (see Section 136 for both indexes 6 and 7).

         Also a score or count on the back of each envelope in the collection.

         On acquisition of any new transfers, whether duplicates or new forms, the proper listing in each index should be made before filing away the transfer. If the transfer is a duplicate, it should be listed in the index of duplicates, and need not be considered further, except to add the number of such duplicates which are not extras to the number on index 5. If the transfer is in bad condition, it should be listed, with a statement of its condition in index 4 (it should be thrown away if not for the main collection). If the transfer is for the main collection, replacing one already there in bad condition, the date should be changed in index 1, and the proper alteration or erasure should be made in index 4. If the transfer is a new form for the main collection, it and its date should be properly listed in index 1, the proper alterations, additions, and erasures should be made in index 2 or the supplementary schedule sheets, as the case may be, and the proper number of new forms added to the total number, as stated in index 5. If the transfers collected, or anything, during the exploration, should result in information affecting indexes 2, 6, or 7, the proper additions or alterations should be made; and, if the acquisition necessitates making out a new envelope or represents a new system, the proper number should be added to the "env" or "sys" count in the collection score. Also the proper changes should be made in the count on the back of each envelope affected by the new acquisitions, transfers acquired on the same day should be annexed to the collection together at the end of the day, and, before filing, the proper additions and corrections as above explained should be made in all the indexes.

        142. Special Type Index. As a special memorandum, the collector may keep an index of systems using certain types or certain prominent devices for transfers. Each type or device may be described on the left side of the sheet, and the list of systems may be made on the right side, using file numbers for the systems. Additions to such an index, if kept, should be made whenever a new system is represented in the collection (if its transfers represent some special type), whenever a new type or device is met with in a known system.


Home     Contents     Next