The Railroads and the Making of Modern America site has updated its collection with a range of new and rare documents on railroad history. The Railroads database includes letters, diaries, newspaper accounts, court documents, photographs, illustrations, and other materials related to the expansion of railroad technology in American society. The latest update of new materials features a number of rare objects.

Some of these rare objects came to the project through the 2010 History Harvest held at NET Television in Lincoln, Nebraska. Dozens of participants brought their railroad history materials to the Harvest, and the project digitized hundreds of objects, including a rare 1880s map of Adams County produced by the Union Pacific Railroad, timetables from the 1880s and 1890s, and letters regarding the incorporation and operation of several historic Nebraska railroads.

In particular, we have included four stereoscopic photographs of the aftermath of the Strike of 1877 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The photograph images of the destruction of Pittsburgh were taken by S. V. Albee, and are almost entirely unavailable on the Web. Although the University of Pittsburgh has indexed the images, the size and quality of these reproductions are limited. We have released four of these important images on Railroads and the Making of Modern America, with the support of a generous private collector. We have placed these images in Zoomify, to give readers the opportunity to zoom in on specific high resolution views.

For example, here is the image of “28th St. and Upper Round House, citizens shot here.”

Other documents brought into the collection include letters and accounts of the Strike of 1888 on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad transcribed from the original archival materials in the Newberry Library. Few histories have examined the Strike of 1888 on the Burlington lines, but the strike spread quickly and prompted the Burlington to recruit laborers from the East. The “Great Burlington Strike,” as it was called, reveals in these documents the ways the Burlington’s “blacklist” system operated, and how it was used by management. The records of dismissal from the Burlington and from the Union Pacific Railroad have also been added in easily searchable maps and timelines.