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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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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Alfred A. Hart Stereograph Collection Relating to the Central Pacific Railroad
    Date (inclusive): circa 1866-1869
    Collection Number: BANC PIC 19xx.141--STER
    Photographer: Hart, Alfred A., 1816-1908
    Extent: 74 stereographs; 9 x 18 cm. 74 digital objects
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: Includes views of the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad in California, Nevada, and Utah, including the driving of the Golden Spike.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is available for use.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Alfred A. Hart Stereograph Collection Relating to the Central Pacific Railroad, circa 1866-1869, BANC PIC 19xx.141--STER, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

    Digital Representations Available

    Digital representations of selected original pictorial materials are available in the list of materials below. Digital image files were prepared from selected Library originals by the Library Photographic Service. Library originals were copied onto 35mm color transparency film; the film was scanned and transferred to Kodak Photo CD (by Custom Process); and the Photo CD files were color-corrected and saved in JFIF (JPEG) format for use as viewing files.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
    Hart, Alfred A., 1816-1908. Central Pacific Railroad610 10 Central Pacific Railroad Company--Pictorial works
    Railroads--Design and construction--West (U.S.)--Photographs
    California--Pictorial works
    Nevada--Pictorial works
    Utah--Pictorial works

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Alfred A. Hart Stereograph Collection Relating to the Central Pacific Railroad photographs are of unknown provenance.


    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.

    Scope and Content

    The Alfred A. Hart Stereograph Collection Relating to the Construction of the Central Pacific Railroad consists of 74 stereographic prints taken by Alfred A. Hart from circa 1866 to circa 1869. The Central Pacific Railroad hired Hart as its official photographer to record progress on the California end. The collection consists of views made along the line of the Central Pacific Railroad in California, Nevada and Utah during construction, and includes scenes in the Sierra Nevada mountains, in the Sacramento Valley, on Donner Lake and near Great Salt Lake. Also included are scenes depicting the celebration following the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad and the driving of the final spike at Promontory, Utah on May 10, 1869. The stereographs are arranged by and numbered with the photographer's number.
    Printed captions are reprinted in the container listing. Captions in parentheses appear in manuscript on the stereographs. Captions in brackets have been supplied.