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  • | Book

    The Congressional Globe [excerpts]

    In these excerpts from a Senate debate over regulations for a District of Columbia street railroad, many typical arguments for and against public segregation are aired in language that also reveals attitudes towards race and equality as the Civil War continued.

  • | Book

    Beyond the Mississippi; from the Great River to the Great Ocean

    Albert D. Richardson's Beyond the Mississippi; from the Great River to the Great Ocean is a detailed and exciting account of life and travels in the West and Far West in the years before the transcontinental railroad was completed. From Native American life, to gold fields, to emigrant trains, Richardson's portrayals of the region are interesting and informative. In this section, he describes the building of the transcontinental railroad in Nebraska - "the Conquest of Nature moving toward the Pacific."

  • | Book

    Woman's Work in the Civil War:

    Published to celebrate the work of women during the Civil War, Woman's Work in the Civil War features the efforts of nurses, reformers, fund-raisers, and wives and mothers. In the section excerpted below, Miss Brayton of Ohio vividly describes the interior of a hospital train and recounts her experiences on one.

  • | Book

    A Manual of Etiquette with Hints on Politeness and Good Breeding

    Manuals of etiquette and behavior were incredibly popular during the 19th Century and covered every aspect of life from infancy to mourning. In this excerpt, some of the gendered expectations placed on a well-bred traveler are recounted in detail.

  • | Book

    Strikers, Communists, Tramps and Detectives

    In this excerpt from Allan Pinkerton's Strikers, Communists, Tramps and Detectives, Pinkerton gives his opinion regarding the origin of America's Great Railway Strike of 1877.

  • | Book

    Democracy, An American Novel

    An excerpt from Henry Adams' Democracy, An American Novel.

  • | Book

    Leaves of Grass

    An excerpt from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. Whitman salutes the locomotive as a symbol of progress and writes of the hallmarks of a Western journey.

  • | Book

    Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, Written by Himself

    In this excerpt, Douglass relates the details of his dangerous escape from slavery. Traveling the railroad with borrowed papers, he flees to New York.

  • | Book

    A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains

    Isabella Bird, a peripatetic traveler, recounted her adventures in the American West to her sister in letters published as A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains. In this excerpt, she writes about part of her 1873 train journey, describing the parlor car and conditions on the train.

  • | Book

    Manners, Culture and Dress of the Best American Society

    Manuals of etiquette and behavior were incredibly popular during the 19th Century and covered every aspect of life from infancy to mourning. In this excerpt, some of the highly gendered expectations placed on a well-bred traveler on the railroad or on a steamboat are explained in detail.

  • | Book

    A Voice From the South: By A Woman of the South

    Anna J. Cooper, the first African American woman to earn a PhD, worked as a speaker, educator, and reformer. In this excerpt from Voice From the South Cooper addresses the contrast between the expectations of any middle-class, well-dressed woman traveling and the realities of the experience for African American women. Read with Richard Wells' Manners, Culture and Dress of the Best American Society, also featured on this site.

  • | Book

    The Reason Why the Colored American is not in the World's Columbian Exposition

    Ida B. Wells, Frederick Douglass, Irvine Garland Penn, Ferdinand L. Barnett, and Frederick Loudin published The Reason Why in response to the exclusion of Afircan Americans and their contributions to American life from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The excerpt included here is part of Wells' contribution and includes the Tennessee separate coach law.

  • | Book

    The Awakening

    An excerpt from Kate Chopin's The Awakening.

  • | Book

    Sister Carrie

    An excerpt from Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie.

  • | Book

    The Marrow of Tradition

    In this excerpt from Charles Chesnutt's novel, the African American doctor protagonist faces the reality of segregation on Southern railroads.

  • | Book

    The Road

    An excerpt from Jack London's The Road.

  • | Book

    Education of Henry Adams

    The Education of Henry Adams is a personal account of the vast changes wrought on civilization over the course of the 19th century; technology, politics, economics, cultural, and intellectual transformations drive Adams' reflections. In the following excerpts, Adams addresses the transportation revolution.

  • | Book

    My ┴ntonia

    An excerpt from Willa Cather's My ┴ntonia.

  • | Book

    The School Days of an Indian Girl

    ZitkalÓ-Sa (Gertrude Bonnin) writes about her sense of dislocation on the railroad as she was taken to boarding school and the feelings she had on her return home.

  • | Diary

    Rutherford B. Hayes Comments on the 1877 Railroad Strike

    In this 1877 excerpt from Rutherford B. Hayes' diary, the President notes the positive qualities of the railroad men who are on strike, but sees their actions as detrimental to those who wish to work. He also wonders what actions could be taken to "end or dimish the evil" of strikes.