Digital Resource Materials of the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford University

At Stanford University, our Chinese Railroad Workers in North America project is publishing in print and digital form a wide range of original scholarship. We are also providing access to and curating a selection of digitized resource materials of historical interest. Our research has included searching widely and comprehensively in libraries and archives in North America and Asia. We have also devoted extensive resources to locate rare, non-digitized, and underutilized privately held materials. We have worked with archivists of such smaller and heretofore lesser-known private collections to enrich our historical analysis. We are pleased to make available through Stanford library’s digital repository a selected set of such rare items related to the history of the Chinese who built the CPRR.

The Stanford Library Digital Materials Repository of the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project

We have focused the Digital Materials Repository on items that are rich for historical study, and that are generally unavailable to the general public before now. We are pleased to have worked with local archivists and rights holders to create high resolution digital images and verify the details that are important for researchers.

Access to these selected items is through the Stanford library search portal Searchworks. These items from the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford have been accessioned into the collection of the Stanford library. These repository items are curated to highlight the context and special features in an online Spotlight exhibit.

For Further Study — 

List of Print, Visual, Primary, and Secondary Materials

This extensive list gathers in one convenient list the vast range of types of materials from our project’s multiple publications, as well as additional items of interest. Included are books, essays, newspaper articles, theses, conference papers, and films and other visual materials. These items are already digitized in public and private libraries and historical and genealogical services. Where possible we provide links in the list to the rarer and more hard-to-find items. All items with and without links are available through the search portals of the collections that hold the items. We encourage researchers, teachers, and the interested general public to consult these rich sources.

Multimedia Interpretations

This sample of media presentations provides a view of the international interest in the subject of the Chinese migrant laborers and their experience building the Central Pacific Railroad.

Artistic Representations

This sample of artworks offers a view of the recent and also historical creative interpretive representations of the subject of the Chinese role in the building of the Central Pacific Railroad.

For Teachers

With our partners at the Stanford Program International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) we are making our research available to K-12 teachers and students. The experienced curriculum developers at SPICE relied on our project’s research to create these teaching and learning modules.

Oral History Interviews Collection

We have also built a collection of oral history interviews with descendants of Chinese who participated in building the CPRR. We are currently curating these interviews with an introductory essay, and with transcripts for enabling the study of these interviews. The interviews, their transcripts, and our curated introductory essay, will be available on our site, and through the Stanford Library Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project Digital Materials collection.


The Archaeology Network of the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford is a transnational collaborative research endeavor based out of Stanford University. The Archaeology Network of the Chinese Railroad Worker History Project was created at the request of the project organizers, Gordon H. Chang and Shelley Fisher Fishkin, to connect the project with the large community of archaeologists who have been researching Chinese railroad workers and who are involved in managing the sites, collections, archives, and other materials that evidence that history. Dr. Barbara L. Voss, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University, is coordinating the network as a service to the project. Archaeological evidence and research plays a key role in reconstructing the lives and histories of those who built and maintained the railroads.

The Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford provides access to the Archeology Network’s items in the project’s digital materials library repository, and publications list.

If you are an archaeologist who would like to be a part of the Archaeology Network, please email Professor Barbara Voss at