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California State Railroad Museum,
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The Central Pacific payroll vouchers are part of the Central Pacific Railroad Collection (MS 79) at the California State Railroad Museum Library. This series consists of construction payroll voucher sheets for the building of the Central Pacific Railroad from 1864 to 1866.

The payrolls are handwritten on printed forms and were issued by the railroad for “C[harles] Crocker, Contractor.”   Each lists the construction division for which the individual worked, rates of pay, and total pay received.  Vouchers were issued for a particular construction gang that worked together as a group. The collection includes some payroll voucher sheets for Chinese labor gangs, as well as payroll information for James Strobridge and other construction officials.

The payrolls are numbered consecutively for the period 1864 to 1865.  A new consecutive numbering system seems to have been instituted in 1866, starting again with the number one.  The payrolls are arranged by year and then by number.

The California State Railroad Museum Library does not have a complete set; there are missing numbers within each year. These payrolls were a gift from Southern Pacific Railroad in 1992.

For access to the original payrolls, or any other materials in the California State Railroad Museum Library, please contact staff in advance at or (916) 323-8073. The Library is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. For more information please visit our website at

The archive is under construction, and it will include photographs, texts, art, videos and other materials. Only a few samples are presented in this web site, but when the digital archive is completed we will provide access to the full archive for the public at that time.

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The captions accompanying photographs are provided by the holding institutions and are reproduced here as part of the historical record. They may contain descriptors and terminology that are offensive to us today. Similar issues of offensive language may arise in historical texts and place names on this website.

The identifying titles accompanying payroll records are those that appear at the top of the records themselves and are reproduced here as part of the historical record.