Iron Muse: Photographing the Transcontinental Railroad

Iron Muse: Photographing the Transcontinental Railroad

by Glenn Willumson

Hardcover(First Edition)

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The construction of the transcontinental railroad (1865–1869) marked a milestone in United States history, symbolizing both the joining of the country’s two coasts and the taming of its frontier wilderness by modern technology. But it was through the power of images—and especially the photograph—that the railroad attained its iconic status. Iron Muse provides a unique look at the production, distribution, and publication of images of the transcontinental railroad: from their use as an official record by the railroad corporations, to their reproduction in the illustrated press and travel guides, and finally to their adaptation to direct sales and albums in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Tracing the complex relationships and occasional conflicts between photographer, publisher, and curator as they crafted the photographs’ different meanings over time, Willumson provides a comprehensive portrayal of the creation and evolution of an important slice of American visual culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520270947
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 04/12/2013
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 254
Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Glenn Willumson is Director of the Graduate Program in Museum Studies and Professor of Art History at the University of Florida.

Table of Contents



1. Preparing the Ground
2. Making the Photographs
3. Curating the Archive
4. Reproducing the Image


Selected Bibliography
List of Illustrations

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