Camera and Locomotive: Two Tracks Across the Continent – Solomon Nunes Carvalho, Expedition Photographer

The following is the second in a series of guest posts by Micah Messenheimer, Assistant Curator of Photography, Prints and Photographs Division that discuss the parallel development of two technologies in the 19th century: railroads and photography. Picking up the story after John Plumbe’s successes as a daguerreotypist and his disappointments in plans for a […]

Camera and Locomotive: Two Tracks across the Continent – John Plumbe’s Dream

The following is the first in a series of guest posts by Micah Messenheimer, Assistant Curator of Photography, Prints and Photographs Division. Two defining technologies of nineteenth-century America—railroads and photography—largely developed in parallel and brought about drastic changes to how people understood time and space. Trains bridged considerable distances with great speed; photographs brought past […]

Pictures to Go: Viewing Trains as Metaphors

The following is a guest post by Martha H. Kennedy, Curator of Popular & Applied Graphic Arts, Prints and Photographs Division. Travel by train, or what some called the “Iron horse,” dominated other forms of transport in America for nearly fifty years. During this “golden age” of railroads that began in 1865, public fascination with […]

Pictures to Go: Sleeping Car Quarters and Sleeping Car Porters

One of the wonders of modern transportation that advertisers at the turn of the twentieth century communicated through pictures was the compact luxury of railroad sleeping cars, stressing how they offered the comforts of home and more.Äč Often shown as a side feature are the porters who tended to passengers’ needs. African-American sleeping car porters, […]

Caught Our Eyes: An Engineering Marvel

This item from the Popular Graphic Arts collection recently caught the eye of Phil Michel,  Digital Conversion Coordinator in the Prints & Photographs Division. Phil commented, “Early engineering marvels often catch my eye. Some of the ships, buildings, bridges, tunnels, etc., that were built in the industrial age were just phenomenal in their scale. I […]

The Buildings That Linked the Nation: New Book on Railroad Stations

In Railroad Stations: The Buildings That Linked the Nation, David Naylor chronicles the history and stylistic character of one of our nation’s most iconic building types. Prolifically illustrated with images from the collections of the Prints & Photographs Division, the volume is organized by geographic region. In addition to showing the exteriors of many stations, […]