Renowned Railroad Historian, H. Roger Grant, Has Died

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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Clemson, S.C. –– Clemson history professor and prolific railroad historian, H. Roger Grant, has died.

Any readers who study railroad history are likely familiar with the work of H. Roger Grant. Grant, one of the most prolific railroad historians and the author of over 40 books, died on Friday, Nov. 17. Grant was 79 years old, and was in his final semester of teaching history at Clemson, planning to retire at the end of it.

Clemson University released a statement about Grant’s passing this weekend:

“Clemson University mourns the death of H. ‘Roger’ Grant, Professor, History. The University was notified on November 17 that Dr. Roger Grant had passed away. Grant was hired at Clemson on August 15, 1996, and he was in his 27th year at the University.

“Roger was one of the leading historians of American railroads with an amazing record of having published more than 40 books, but what his colleagues will remember is his kindness and generosity, especially to new faculty,” said Stephanie Barczewski, Acting Chair, Department of History and Geography. “Beyond his academic accomplishments, Roger was instrumental in building community within the department and university, and he will be greatly missed.”

“Grant, who intended to retire at the end of the semester, was continuing his research, with two more books in development when he died. He was recognized as the University’s Centennial Professor in 2004. He was also honored as one of 75 people worthy of praise in the 75th anniversary of Trains magazine. Grant is survived by his wife, Martha.”

I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Dr. Grant on several occasions, usually during meetings of the Lexington Group in Transportation History. He was always kind, friendly, and helpful. The railroad history community lost another giant on Friday.

Here are just some of the books Grant authored during his career:

Sunset Cluster: A Shortline Railroad Saga, Indiana University Press (2023)

The Station Agent and the American Railroad Experience, Indiana University Press (2022).

A Mighty Fine Road: A History of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company, Indiana University Press (2020).

Transportation and the American People. Indiana University Press (2019).

John W. Barringer III: Railroad Legend. Indiana University Press (2018).

Rails to the Front: The Role of Railroads in Wartime (with A. J. Veenendaal, Jr.) , Karwansaray Publishers (2017).

Electric Interurbans and the American People, Indiana University Press (2016).

Railroaders without Borders: A History of the Railroad Development Corporation, Indiana University Press (2015).

The Louisville, Cincinnati, & Charleston Railroad: Dreams of Linking North and South, Indiana University Press (2014).

Railroads and the American People, Indiana University Press (2012).

Twilight Rails: The Final Era of Railroad Building in the Midwest , University of Minnesota Press (2010).

Visionary Railroader: Jervis Langdon Jr. and the Transportation Revolution, Indiana University Press (2008).

Rails Through the Wiregrass: A History of the Georgia and Florida Railroad. Northern Illinois University Press, (2006).

The Railroad: The Life Story of a Technology, Greenwood Publishing (2005).

Follow the Flag: A History of the Wabash Railroad Company. Northern Illinois University Press, (2004).

Getting Around: Exploring Transportation History, Krieger Publishing (2003).

Iowa Railroads: The Essays of Frank P. Donovan, Jr. University of Iowa Press (2000).

Ohio on the Move: Transportation in the Buckeye State, Ohio University Press (2000).

The North Western: A History of the Chicago & North Western Railway. Northern Illinois University Press, (1996).

Erie Lackawanna: Death of An American Railroad, Stanford University Press (1994).

Living in the Depot: The Two-Story Railroad Station, University of Iowa Press (1993).

Brownie the Boomer: The Life of Charles P. Brown, An American Railroader, Northern Illinois University Press (1991).

Spirit Fruit: A Gentle Utopia, Northern Illinois University Press (1988).

The Corn Belt Route: A History of the Chicago Great Western Railroad Company, Northern Illinois University Press (1984).

Self-Help in the 1890s Depression, Iowa State University Press (1983).

Insurance Reform: Consumer Action in the Progressive Era, Iowa State University Press (1979).