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A. A. Hart Stereographs of the Central Pacific Railroad: Finding Aid
photCL 184  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection contains 372 stereographic photographs (including some variants and duplicates) by photographer A. A. Hart (1816-1908) that document the construction of the western half of first transcontinental railroad by the Central Pacific Railroad between 1864 and 1869. Hart served as the Central Pacific's first official photographer, and his images chronicle the advancement of the railroad over 742 miles from Newcastle, California, through the Sierra Nevada Mountains and into Nevada and Utah.
Background
Photographer Alfred A. Hart (1816-1908) was born in Norwich, Connecticut, on March 28, 1816. In the late 1830s, he studied art in New York City, and later worked in Connecticut and along the East Coast as a portrait painter and panoramic artist. In 1857, Hart made an initial foray into photography in a partnership with daguerreotypist Henry H. Bartlett in Hartford, Connecticut. Hart and his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in the early 1860s, and by 1863, Hart had begun operating as a traveling photographer in various California mining towns. The Central Pacific Railroad Company (CPRR), led by president Leland Stanford and vice president Collis P. Huntington, was incorporated in Sacramento, California, on June 28, 1861. The Pacific Railroad Act, signed by President Abraham Lincoln on July 1, 1862, authorized the CPRR to build a railroad and telegraph line east from Sacramento and the Union Pacific Railroad Company to build west from Omaha, Nebraska. On January 8, 1863, the CPRR held the ceremonial groundbreaking in Sacramento, and the first track was laid in October 1863. Construction progressed eastward for the next six years, with track completed to Auburn, California, in May 1865; Cisco, California, in late 1866; and Reno, Nevada, in June 1868. On May 10, 1869, the eastern and western lines met at Promontory Summit, Utah, with the ceremonial final "golden spike" driven by Stanford.
Extent
372 photographs in 2 boxes : prints on card mounts ; mounts 9 x 18 cm (stereograph format) + 20 copy prints in 1 additional box
Restrictions
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
Availability
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.