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All Aboard! Railroads and New Jersey, 1812–1930 - exhibition in Special Collections

Alexander Lyman Holley, American and European railway practice in the economical generation of steam. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1861. Lithograph by J. Bien.

Railroads had a pervasive presence and an immense influence in New Jersey during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They were both a product and an agent of the process of modernization. Many problems related to railroads in that era would be familiar today as well: fare increases, service disruptions, accidents, noise, and government regulation. But aside from their many problems, railroads were a key element in the development of the state and the nation. Railroads likewise influenced visual imagery, music, and literature.

Using a variety of media, the 'All Aboard' exhibition will explore the experimental phase of railroads in New Jersey, the pioneering era under the Camden & Amboy Railroad — the state-sanctioned monopoly that affected politics for decades; and the lively polemical campaign between opponents of the monopoly and its defenders. Other themes highlighted in the exhibition are technology, immigration, suburbanization, and the development of agricultural, bedroom, and resort communities. Among the visual images represented will be Thomas Edison's 1903 motion picture, The Great Train Robbery, which was filmed in New Jersey.

The exhibition features rare broadsides, pamphlets, and images documenting the history of railroads in the Garden State from Rutgers University Libraries' collections. The exhibition coincides with the publication of Railroads and New Jersey: A Bibliography of Contemporary Publications, 1812-1901 by the late Donald A. Sinclair and David J. Fowler (Rutgers University Libraries, 2011).

For more information on the exhibition please contact Special Collections exhibitions coordinator Fernanda Perrone at hperrone@rulmail.rutgers.edu or 732/932-7006, ex. 363.

By popular demand, the Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives exhibition, All Aboard! Railroads and New Jersey, 1812-1930 has been extended through Friday January 13, 2012. The exhibition features rare broadsides, pamphlets, and images documenting the history of railroads in the Garden State from Rutgers University Libraries' collections. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 to 5:00. The gallery is located on the lower level of the Archibald S. Alexander Library at 169 College Avenue in New Brunswick. Please note that the gallery will be closed December 24 through January 2.





Posted September 13, 2011; December 21, 2012