Chris Panetta '16
This summer I had the honor of being named the Samuel L. Waldschmidt Fellow in American Railroad Labor Studies by the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. This fellowship was one of five competitive fellowships that the museum sponsored in 2015. I chose to focus my research on the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 and the B&O management’s response to it. Over the course of the summer, I made numerous trips to the archives at the B&O Museum and other repositories in the area. The B&O archives include the personal papers of company president John Garrett, the corporation’s yearly reports, and railroad industry periodicals dealing with the strike. I was also able to examine the papers of Maryland state leaders who responded to the strike. At present, I am transforming my research notes into a paper that will be published on the museum’s website and that may potentially be used for exhibits in the museum. Through this project, I have been able to gain experience handling original documents and using them to synthesize ideas about the subject. Working alongside a professional archivist has also enhanced my understanding of the best strategies for sorting archival materials and weighing the value of primary sources. These skills will be invaluable for future research.