SRM To Present at ‘Seminar on American Railroads’

Inspired by the upcoming sesquicentennial observance of the Golden Spike Ceremony (celebrating the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869), the Georgia Gwinnett College History Discipline is sponsoring a Seminar on American Railroads, March 26-28, 2019. This will be a multi- disciplinary venture, with presentations by history faculty and also by professors from other disciplines, including art, chemistry, geography, music, and political science. In addition, there will be an evening dedicated to a presentation by the Southeastern Railway Museum of Duluth, Georgia.

Students will be engaged in several ways, including giving presentations. Through various media, students and the general public will be made aware of and invited to attend this event.

All the Seminar events are free to the public. Click here for an event flyer.

The Seminar will be held in the Daniel J. Kaufman Library & Learning Center, Heritage Room on the campus of Georgia Gwinnett College. The College is located at 1000 University Center Lane Lawrenceville, Georgia 30043.

Attendees will need to have a Visitor Parking Pass to park on campus in designated visitor areas. Please E-mail to request your free Parking Pass and Campus Map before the event.

In addition, a display of 12 photos of railroad locomotives in the Atlanta area, taken by former AP and CNN photojournalist Henry Durand, will be on display starting March 18th and continuing through April 5th. The display will be on the third floor of the Student Center at Georgia Gwinnett College. The Student Center is located in the next building to the west of the Library.


Tuesday, March 26th , 2:00-3:15 PM,  “American Railroads: The Story of a Transportation Industry”

“The Romance of the Rails” (an overview of railroading and its significance) (Dr. Frank J. Smith)
“Tracks and Trunk Lines” (illustrating the growth of the railroad system) (Dr. Todd Lindley)
“‘I Think I Can! I Think I Can!’: How a Steam Engine Works” (Dr. Patrick Coppock)
“The Golden Spike Ceremony and the Native Americans” (Dr. Luke Ryan)
“American Railroads and National Parks” (Dr. Michael Gunther)

Wednesday, March 27th , 12:00-1:15 PM, “American Railroads: Politics, Law, and Labor”

“American Railroads: Politics and Legislation” (Kansas-Nebraska Act; Gadsden Purchase; Pacific Railway Act; Amtrak; Conrail; etc.) (Dr. Richard Cook)
“American Railroads and the Constitution” (corporation as a “person”; interstate commerce clause; post roads) (Dr. Scott Boykin)
“American Railroads and Labor Unions” (Eugene V. Debs; Adamson Act; etc.) (Miss Ji Su An)
“‘I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad!’: Job Opportunities in the Railroading Industry” (NS representative)
“Accelerating Social Change and Globalization: Blame It On the Railroads!” (Dr. Edward Simmons)

Thursday, March 28th , 2:00-3:15 PM,  “American Railroads: Social and Cultural Aspects”

“American Railroads and Music” (“The Wreck of Ol’ 97”, “Casey Jones”, “The City of New Orleans”, et al.) (Dr. Marc Gilley)
“American Railroads and Art” (art deco; posters; calendars; paintings; etc.) (Dr. Janet Stephens)
“Operation Lifesaver” (Dr. Melinda Cline)
“American Railroads and the African-American Experience” (Pullman porters; etc.) (Dr. Erica Metcalfe)

Thursday, March 28th , 7:00-8:30 PM,  “American Railroads: Movies, Meals, and Memories”

“Dinner in the Diner: American Railroads and Food” (Mr. Lloyd Neal)
“Pullmans, Streamliners, and Vista-Domes: A Pictorial History of the American Passenger Train” (Mr. Lloyd Neal)
“American Railroads and Literature” (Mr. Nicholas Gerhardt)
“American Railroads and Film” (Mr. Lloyd Neal and Miss Sarah Pearson)

All of the sessions will be held in the Heritage Room of the Kaufman Library.

The Southeastern Railway Museum‘s book, When Atlanta Took the Trainwill be on sale during the seminar.



Cover: The Last Spike, painting, Thomas Hill, artist, 1881, collection of the California State Railroad Museum (public domain)

Text:  “East and West shaking hands at the laying of the last rail” of the Union Pacific Railroad, photograph, Andrew J. Russell, photographer, May 10, 1869, collection of Yale University Libraries (public domain)

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