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  • | Letter

    Letter from James Shaw to Samuel B. Reed, January 9, 1860

    In this letter from January 9, 1860, James Shaw writes to Samuel Reed encouraging him to send samples of trilobite fossils from Joliet, Illinois. He also asks that Reed keep him in mind when he returns to Muscatine, Iowa and gets "among the 'coal plants.'" In return for Reed's efforts, Shaw promises to send him "packages as valuable as you may send me."

  • | Illustration

    Military Telegraph to Ackworth, Georgia

    This image from the July 9, 1863 issue of Harper's Weekly depicts Union soldiers under the command of General William T. Sherman constructing a telegraph line along railroad tracks in Georgia.

  • Letter from Sally A. Kendrick to Jennie Reed, August 2, 1865

    In this letter from August 2, 1865, Sally A. Kendrick writes to Jennie Reed, wife of Samuel Reed, discussing the war's end. She states that she is glad it ended "in the right way," with the abolishment of slavery. She also details her congregation's attempts to start a church hospital now that the military hospitals are all closed, and describes her work as a nurse during the war. Kendrick also notes that she has a nephew at Fort Laramie who is in charge of a company of former Rebels, and requests Mr. Reed make a visit if his work ever takes him out that far.

  • | Letter

    Letter from Artemus J. Mathewson to Samuel B. Reed, August 27, 1865

    In this letter from August 27, 1865, Artemus J. Mathewson writes to Samuel Reed discussing the advantages and disadvantages of running a railroad line through various areas in the mountains and valleys of Utah. He states that he has been reading the reports of Captain Howard Stansbury, who led an expedition in 1849 to survey and map the valley of the Great Salt Lake, and tells Reed "your operations last year and this will give more of real value - and mayhap twice that amt than Stansbury's whole operations." Mathewson also notes the increase in Indian hostility both on the plains and in the mountains. He tells Reed, "like you, I think you have been lucky to keep your scalp."

  • | Letter

    Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Thomas C. Durant, February 5, 1866

    In this letter from February 5, 1866, Samuel Reed writes to Thomas C. Durant, Vice President of the Union Pacific Railroad, requesting orders as to whether or not to employ the State Geologist of Illinois to "examine the country west of Omaha for coal ."

  • | Illustration

    The Snow Plow Clearing the Way

    This image from the February 10, 1872 issue of Harper's Weekly depicts a snow plow on the Central Pacific Railroad.

  • | Photograph

    Crane Recovering a Damaged Locomotive

    This image from The Modern Railroad(1911) captures two cranes removing a badly damaged Mogul locomotive from the site where it derailed.

  • | 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.