The Center for Railroad Photography & Art has partnered with the Chicago History Museum to launch a new exhibition that highlights the Chicago railroad community as an important component of the “homefront” during World War Two. “Railroaders: Jack Delano’s Homefront Photography” opened April 5th and runs through to August 10th, 2015.

Image – / Click to Enlarge

Chicago, both historically and at the present, is an important Midwestern and North American railway hub for the transportation of people and goods and remains a gateway to the larger American West. In 1942, the US federal government commissioned photographer Jack Delano to document the important role of the nation’s rail community in the war effort. The new exhibition will showcase 60 of the images that Delano captured from 1942 to 1943 as part of the government’s initiative to rally support.

Delano’s photographs did include various railroad equipment and settings but his chosen focus was on railroading people themselves.  Of the some 3000 images Delano took, two-thirds were taken in Chicago.

Dorothy Lucke, engine wiper, C&NW yard, Clinton, Iowa, April 1943 / Image –

In addition to their support of the exhibition, The Center for Railroad Photography & Art has published a companion catalog which includes contemporary photos of descendants and family members of the portrait subjects originally taken by Delano. The newer images were photographed by Pablo Delano, Jack Delano’s son.

Further information about the exhibition can be found at Chicago Railroaders and/or Center for Railroad Photography & Art.

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)

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