Andrew J. Russell (American, 1829–1902), Supply Trains, 1868, Plate 27, “The Great West Illustrated,” albumen silver print, courtesy Union Pacific Railroad Museum

From 1864 to 1869, thousands of Chinese workers toiled to complete the western portion of the Transcontinental rail line.  They worked through the formidable terrain of the High Sierra.  They bore tunnels through granite, worked continuously through treacherous winters in the mountains, laid down track at a record pace through the Great Basin, and set the last rails before the driving of the golden spike at Promontory Summit, Utah. This talk draws on years of research by Chang, the Olive H. Palmer Professor in Humanities at Stanford University, and presents the most documented account of this dramatic history.  Photographic images from Alfred Hart and A.J. Russell featured in The Race to Promontory: The Transcontinental Railroad and the American West will help illustrate the story.  

Exhibition Programming & Lecture Sponsor: The Hal R. and Naoma J. Tate Foundation