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  • Writer's pictureBecky Fifield

Transportation Tuesday: A Moment on the Baltimore and Ohio

I was inspired by this salted paper print from the 1850s of people posing for a photograph on a Baltimore and Ohio engine. I thought about the women in their stays and hoops, and wondered if they were boosted up onto that ledge, or if they walked out from the cab to rest upon their perch. Either way, it’s not easy with your torso confined (I had to crawl up into a 5 ton troop transport in eighteenth century stays to be transported for a reenactment once – a National Guardsman planted a hand square on my fanny and up I went). The image was taken in Oakland, a Garrett County town almost all the way to West Virginia (then Virginia). While rail fans could talk a lot more about the technology of this locomotive, I love the moment the photograph captures.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1991.1151.

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