Phoebe Snow

Phoebe Snow, Singer, NYC


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Phoebe Snow

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Phoebe Snow was a fictional character created to promote the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, and, in later years, the name of a pair of passenger trains.

Career

Rail travel around the year 1900 was a messy business. After a long trip on a coal-powered train, travellers would frequently emerge covered in black soot. The exception to that rule were locomotives powered by anthracite, a clean-burning form of coal. The Lackawanna owned vast anthracite mines in Pennsylvania, and could legitimately claim that their passengers' clothes would still look clean after a long trip.

To promote this fact, their advertising department created Phoebe Snow, a young New York socialite, and a frequent passenger of the Lackawanna. For reasons never explained, Miss Snow often travelled to Buffalo, New York, always wearing a white dress.

The first ad featured the image of Phoebe and a short poem:

Says Phoebe Snow
about to go
upon a trip to Buffalo
"My gown stays white
from morn till night
Upon the Road of Anthracite"

The campaign became a popular one, and soon Phoebe began to enjoy all the benefits offered by DL&W: Gourmet food, courteous attendants, an observation deck, even on-board electric lights:

Now Phoebe may
by night or day
enjoy her book upon the way
Electric light
dispels the night
Upon the Road of Anthracite

Phoebe soon became one of the United States' most recognized advertising mascots. During World War I, anthracite was needed for the war effort, and its use on railroads was prohibited, thus ending her career, but her legend remained alive among railroad fans.



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