Rare Pullman Porters archive sells for $17,500 at Swann

An archive of material pertaining to the Pullman Porters achieved $17,500 at Swann Auction Galleries in New York on March 27.

The lot included playing cards, jackets and towels among a wealth of other items. The auction house described it as the most complete collection of Pullman memorabilia it has ever handled.

Pullman Porter archive Swann
The Pullman Porters developed a strong reputation for service

The porters were African Americans who were hired to work on sleeper cars in the restoration period (1860s onwards).

They developed a reputation for elite service and were paid relatively well, which in turn helped in the formation of a black middle class.

They founded the first all-black union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, in 1925 - a significant milestone in the civil rights movement.

The archive sold as part of an auction of African Americana, which also included a rare 1793 Banneker's Almanack.

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