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Z. Taylor Vinson collection of transportation ephemera, Series XX. Pictorial - Albums


This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Published Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Published Collections
Vinson, Z. Taylor
Z. Taylor Vinson collection of transportation ephemera, Series XX. Pictorial - Albums
Call Number:
2 linear feet
English, Italian, French, German, and Russian
This series consists of photograph albums Z. Taylor Vinson both assembled and collected or received as gifts.
PDF Version:

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For over sixty years, Zachary Taylor Vinson (1933-2009) amassed a large and comprehensive collection of printed material documenting on the history transportation, particularly automobiles.

Born and raised in West Virginia, Vinson was a 1955 graduate of Princeton University. He served in the U.S. Army in Germany, then moved to New York City to work in advertising until he graduated from the University of Virginia Law School in 1961. Vinson practiced law with O’Melveney & Meyers in Los Angeles, California and the International Finance Corporation in Washington, D.C. until 1967 when he began working as a senior lawyer with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a position he held until his retirement in 2003. Vinson played a significant role in the drafting of federal safety regulations governing tires and those requiring high-mounted brake lights in the rear window of automobiles, which began with the 1986 model year.

At the age of four, Vinson was introduced to automobile literature when he was given a 1938 Ford trade catalog. Vinson began attending automobile shows to actively collect by the time he turned seven. He would ask that his parents drive him to Huntington’s “Automobile Row,” where Vinson would collect literature from the dealerships located there. By the age of fourteen, Vinson was writing to the British, French, Italian, and Czech embassies in Washington, D.C. to request the addresses of automakers in those countries from whom he could obtain literature.

As he grew older, Vinson collected trade literature from additional sources, including, but not limited to, automobile manufacturers, fellow collectors, memorabilia dealers, auto shows, and auctions. He eventually amassed so much material that he built an addition to his Virginia home to store it all, which he referred to as his “Autotorium.”

In addition to collecting, Vinson was an active member of automobile organizations. He was president of the Society of Automotive Historians from 1993 to 1995 and served as the editor of Automotive History Review from 1995 to 2009. Z. Taylor Vinson passed away at the age of 76 on October 25, 2009.

Scope and Contents

The albums consists of photographs, postcards, envelopes, and other promotional materials. Albums pertain to zeppelins, flight, and the Apollo Missions; travel destinations and historic events; trains and rail travel; automobiles and flight; the Excalibur series; and JA Gregoire designs or prototypes.


Original order was maintained.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Published Collections

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Emily Cottle, Laura Muskavitch, Robin Valencia, Nicole Watts, Kenton Jaehnig, Alison Kreitzer, Annalise Berdini, and Vicki Wasserman in 2013.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may apply.

The collection is housed in off-site storage. Please allow 24 hours notice to view the materials. Advance notice is not required for books and periodicals.


Gift of the Z. Taylor Vinson Estate, 2010.

Processing Notes

The collection was processed with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant.

Processing Notes

Pages were removed from the albums themselves, where possible, and placed in acid-free folders.

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Related Materials

Related Material

Automobile reference collection, Free Library of Philadelphia

National automotive history collection, Detroit Public Library

Revs Institute for Automotive Research, Inc., Library, Naples, Florida

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder
Air travel, Charles Lindbergh, ships, Apollo missions, travel destinations, 1905-2007, undated.
Scope and Contents note

Envelopes and stamps, airmail, pamphlets, baggage slips, postcards, promotional cards, a piece of the unburned outer cover of the Hindenburg, and a large set of historic envelopes with silk prints. In English, Italian, French, German, and Russian.

20-1 1-3

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Seasonal greeting and travel postcards, history, travel destinations, businesses, American scenes of life, 1889-1997, undated.
Scope and Contents note

Includes promotional cards, silk advertisements, cigarette trading cards, postcards, stamps, envelopes, and a British coin. Included are postcards from the World's Columbian Exhibition. Materials are in English, French, and German.

20-2 1-2

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Travel destinations, flight, rail, automobiles, 1909-1978, undated.
Scope and Contents note

Includes promotional materials, stickers, postcards, envelopes, stamps, and rail passes.

20-2 3

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Excalibur series, 1975.
General Physical Description note
Scope and Contents note

Custom made for Vinson by SS Automobiles Inc. President David B. Stevens.

20-2 4

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