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Overview

The life and career of Collis P. Huntington, as reflected in this collection, are representative of the rags-to-riches stories of many men who helped build the United States.

Railroad magnate and pioneer developer of America's West, Huntington shaped public opinion from Washington, D.C. to the smallest town. He began his working career as an itinerant note collector in the South, and in the next 50 years his achievements included:

 

  • building the western end of the first transcontinental railroad as one of the original founders of the Central Pacific Railroad Company
  • founding California's Republican Party
  • building and financing the Southern Pacific Railroad system
  • influencing nineteenth-century politics as a powerful lobbyist
  • providing financial aid to Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute

By far the most important and voluminous part of this collection consists of Huntington's business and personal correspondence. Through it, researchers will gain insights into the infrastructure of power in business and government during this period. Among many notable correspondents were Susan B. Anthony, Andrew Carnegie, and Cyrus W. Field. Also included are records of civil suits and real estate transactions.

Scholars studying the life of Huntington and researchers tracing the influence of prominent entrepreneurs on American economic and political life will find this collection a valuable resource.

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