She Rode the Rails

Front Cover
iUniverse, 2005 - Fiction - 220 pages
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"She has gained a very flattering reputation as one of the finest artists in the county and her business is increasing to such an extent that the car is insufficient for her extensive work."-March 1, 1887, Nebraska Nugget

She Rode The Rails is based on the true life of traveling photographer, Mrs. Mary Jane Wyatt. A contemporary of J. B Silvis of the Union Pacific Railroad and pioneer photographer, Solomon Butcher, she was the only woman to own and operate a traveling photograph car on a Nebraska railroad in the late 1800s. She ran studios in Roseville, IL, and in Nebraska towns for over three decades. Mary Jane took many portraits of early pioneers and western landscapes, some of which are included in this book and published for the first time.

The story unfolds as her son, Charles Sears, remembers her life. He recalls how Mary Jane began as an unwed mother working as a lowly housemaid in Ohio to become a successful traveling photographer in Nebraska. With the support of her husband, sheriff and Burlington Missouri River RR engineer, Andrew A. Wyatt, she operated several galleries in a time when women were expected to stay home.

  

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Contents

Prologue
1
Mary Jane Sears
11
A Gentleman Caller
24
Housemaid
32
The Loss
38
Changes
47
The Art of Photography
55
Andrew Anderson Wyatt
62
The Traveling Artist
112
Prairie Chicken Stew
121
The Hazards of Travel
126
Tall Tales
135
The Strike
140
Sheriff A A Wyatt
144
Taking Images
151
Final Destination
155

The Memorial Ball
69
The Aurora Roundhouse
77
Mrs M J Wyatt
84
The Burlington Missouri River RR
93
Visit with the Past
105
Slang
160
Afterword
162
Photographs
191
Copyright

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