We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Railroad Empire across the Heartland

Rephotographing Alexander Gardner's Westward Journey

James E. Sherow

Publication Year: 2014

Best known for his Civil War photographs, Alexander Gardner also documented the construction of the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division (later the Kansas Pacific Railroad), across Kansas beginning in 1867. This book presents recent photographs by John R. Charlton of the scenes Gardner recorded, paired with the Gardner originals and accompanied by James E. Sherow’s discussion. Like most rephotography projects, this one provides fascinating information about the changes in the landscape over the last century and a half.

The book presents ninety pairs of Gardner’s and Charlton’s photographs. In all of Charlton’s photos he duplicates the exact location and time of day of the Gardner originals. Sherow uses the paired images to show how Indian and Anglo-American land-use practices affected the landscape. As the Union Pacific claimed, the railroad created an American empire in the region, and Charlton’s rephotography captures the transformation of the grasslands, harnessed by the powerful social and economic forces of the railroad.

Published by: University of New Mexico Press

Front Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-iv


pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. v-vi


pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-x

read more

From Alexander Gardner to John R. Charlton

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-6

In 1934, Robert Taft, a chemistry professor at the University of Kansas and the president of the Kansas State Historical Society, delivered an address titled “A Photographic History of Early Kansas.” On that occasion, Taft celebrated the enormous accomplishments of famous Civil War and western photographer Alexander Gardner’s work in depicting “towns, scenes and ...

read more

"The New Pioneer of Population and Settlement": The Making of an American Imperial Landscape

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 7-22

Around nine o’clock during a warm mid-June evening in 1867, diners had just finished a sumptuous and elegant banquet in the Southern Hotel, one of the finest in all of St. Louis, Missouri. Sen. Richard Yates of Illinois, speaking for the indisposed president pro tempore of the United States Senate, Benjamin Wade, stood and addressed an audience of other U.S. senators, local politicians, and reporters from the...

read more

Imperial Photographic Pairings

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 23-164

Most of the Gardner photographs that follow in this section depict an area of Kansas that bears the marks of those people who inhabited the area prior to when Kansas became a state in 1861. Shown are roads surveyed and graded by the U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Leavenworth. The towns of Leavenworth and Kansas City, Missouri, initially served soldiers, overlanders,...

read more

Stereographic Pairings

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 165-194

Alexander Gardner took many more stereographic photographs than he made in the imperial format. Stereo photographs had immense popular appeal given their 3D effects, and Gardner, being the astute businessman he was, certainly understood the potential market for these photographs....

read more

Epilogue: What Kind of Empire?

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 195-198

An American empire has taken root, but it has not produced all of the fruits anticipated by its proponents nearly 150 years ago. Railroad building has had the most lasting effects on the urban contours of the state. Railroad executives determined which towns would eventually become market and cultural centers. Town boosters understood clearly that their efforts were doomed without a railroad link. Consequently,...


pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 199-202

Suggested Reading

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 203-206


pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 207-212

Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF

E-ISBN-13: 9780826355102
E-ISBN-10: 0826355102
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826355096

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 886116335
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Railroad Empire across the Heartland

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • West (U.S.) -- History -- 1860-1890 -- Pictorial works.
  • Gardner, Alexander, 1821-1882 -- Travel -- West (U.S.).
  • Frontier and pioneer life -- West (U.S.) -- Pictorial works.
  • Railroads -- West (U.S.) -- History -- 19th century -- Pictorial works.
  • United States -- Territorial expansion -- Pictorial works.
  • West (U.S.) -- Pictorial works.
  • Repeat photography -- West (U.S.).
  • Landscape photography -- West (U.S.).
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access