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William Rau (1855-1920) was a Philadelphia-based photographer, and a significant figure in the world of American photography in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was well known for his series of stereo cards of scenic views from around the world, as a sought-after portrait photographer for Philadelphia's elites, and as an official photographer for the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, and the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland.In 1895, the Lehigh Valley Railroad hired Rau as the company's official photographer to document scenic views along the railroad's route. To complete this mission, Rau traveled by rail from New York City to the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania and upstate New York in a customized passenger car equipped with a darkroom and other essential equipment. Over two hundred images from this appointment would later be placed in Lehigh Valley Railroad terminals and public sites along the railroad’s reach.This collection consists of forty-six lantern slides. While many of the lantern slides in this collection are undated and only partially identified, most can be definitively identified as originating from this 1895 appointment. Click here to view a finding aid.For more information, see William Rau Photographs of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.Image: William H. Rau, Hemlock Forest, ca. 1895. Click here to view this item in the collection.
Lantern slide no. 557 showing a gravity railroad established in 1827 to move passengers and coal from the mines at Summit Hill to a canal at Mauch Chunk. By 1840, stationary steam engines wre being used to haul cars up two inclined planes; one at Mount Pisgah, directly above Mauch Chunk, and another at Mount Jefferson near Summit Hill.