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Finding Aid to Alfred A. Hart Stereograph Collection Relating to the Central Pacific Railroad, circa 1866-1869
BANC PIC 19xx.141--STER  
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Includes views of the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad in California, Nevada, and Utah, including the driving of the Golden Spike.
Alfred A. Hart was born in Norwich, Connecticut on March 28, 1816. His father was a silversmith. Hart went to New York in 1838 to study art, subsequently returning to Norwich in 1840 where he married and began a career as an itinerant portrait painter. Hart moved to Hartford, Connecticut in 1848, where he painted portraits and large scroll-like panoramas of religious scenes and landscapes. Hart formed a partnership with the Hartford daguerreotyper Henry H. Bartlett in 1857. In the early 1860's, Hart moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he ran a store selling picture frames, engravings and photographic supplies. By 1863 Hart was working as a portrait photographer. By 1865 Hart was in California making stereographic views along the line of track under construction for the Central Pacific Railroad. After January 1866 Hart was named the official photographer for the C.P.R.R. and for the next three years he documented the construction of the railroad across the mountains and onto the high plains of Utah. Hart photographed the joining of the rails at Promontory Point Utah in 1869. The C.P.R.R. selected 364 stereopgraphs for their official series of the construction, and Hart sold additional views to Lawrence & Houseworth for publication and distribution. Hart probably made other views at Yosemite and elsewhere in California for Lawrence & Houseworth as well. In the early 1870's Hart lived in Denver, Colorado, where he returned to painting portraits and landscapes. He continued this activity in San Francisco from 1872 to 1878, then returned to New York. He apparently moved back and forth between New York and California during the later years of his life, working at a variety of jobs. He died in California on March 5, 1908.
74 stereographs; 9 x 18 cm. 74 digital objects
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