Boudoir Card of Chain Gang at Swannanoa Cut, North Carolina, ca 1885

T.H. Lindsey: Asheville, North Carolina, n.d., ca 1885. Boudoir card presenting a group of convict laborers, many of whom are African American men, standing to one side of a set of train tracks. The men wear striped prison uniforms, and some hold shovels, buckets, and other tools, while more shovels are partially submerged in the ground at right. Two men, possibly overseers or other prison officials, are visible in the background further down the tracks. Captioned, "613. Convicts in Line at Swannanoa Cut," with mount reading in part, "Lindsey's Views of Western N.C. / Round Knob and Vicinity." Verso printed with information concerning the Blue Ridge Mountains and other views along the Western North Carolina Railroad. 

Beginning in the Reconstruction era, working on a chain gang became the standard sentence in North Carolina for any able-bodied man serving a prison term of less than ten years. The state's use of chain gangs coincided with a rapid expansion of its infrastructure, including the repair and construction of railways and highways.


Light toning with wear to mount edges/corners.

Estimate: $800 - $1,200
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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