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  • | Broadsides

    General Superintendent S.T. Smith's General Order Implementing Standard Time, November 14, 1883

    This General Order from November 14, 1883, circulated by S. T. Smith, General Superintendent of the Kansas Division of the Union Pacific Railroad, notifies all stations on the Kansas Division that "standard time" will begin at exactly 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 18, 1883. This order coincides with the establishment of time zones throughout the United States, a development necessitated by the speed of railroad travel.

  • | Broadsides

    Boston and Worcester Railroad Circular Regarding Pay Cuts, October 30, 1857

    In this October 30, 1857 circular, Ginery Twichell, Superintendent of the Boston and Worcester Railroad, describes the reasons for a ten percent pay cut for all employees. He cites the recent reduction in receipts from passengers and freight, as well as the "sudden and unexpected financial storm" as the basis for the change.

  • | Broadsides

    Broadside Publicizing the Town of Nevin, Iowa, April 15, 1856

    This April 15, 1856 broadside details the benefits of the "New England Colony of Iowa," in the town of Nevin. This community, "consisting of persons from the New England States," has two railroads, a school, a hotel, and, of course, tracts of land and town lots for sale.

  • | Book

    Railroad Strike Violence at Martinsburg, WV

    In this excerpt from The Story of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Historian Edward Hungerford offers an account of the violence at Martinsburg, WV during the 1877 railroad strike. This selection also includes Allan Pinkerton's vivid description of the event.

  • | 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.

  • | 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 Road

    An excerpt from Jack London's The Road.

  • | 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

    Sister Carrie

    An excerpt from Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie.

  • | Book

    The Awakening

    An excerpt from Kate Chopin's The Awakening.

  • | 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

    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

    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 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

    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

    Nemo, King of the Tramps: A Story of the Great Railroad Riots

    This Dime Novel, written in 1881 by Captain Fred Whittaker, offers a popular, fictional account of the Great Railway Strike of 1877.

  • | 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

    Democracy, An American Novel

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

  • | 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.