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When the Locomotive Puffs: Corporate Public Relations of the First Transcontinental Railroad Builders
Wood, Leland K.

2009, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Ohio University, Journalism (Communication).
The dissertation documents public-relations practices of officers and managers in two companies: the Central Pacific Railroad with offices in Sacramento, California, and the Union Pacific Railroad with offices in New York City. It asserts that sophisticated and systematic corporate public relations were practiced during the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, fifty years before historians generally place the beginning of such practice. Documentation of the transcontinental railroad practices was gathered utilizing existing historical presentations and a review of four archives containing correspondence and documents from the period. Those leading the two enterprises were compelled to practice public relations in order to raise $125 million needed to construct the 1,776-mile-long railroad by obtaining and keeping federal loan guarantees and by establishing and maintaining an image attractive to potential bond buyers. Also, relationships had to be established and maintained with members of Congress, the California state legislature, and federal regulators; with workers and potential workers; and with journalists. In addition, the companies‚ images among the general public also had to be established and maintained. The railroad leaders sometimes faced public-relations dilemmas in which the material produced to build relationships with one audience might damage relationships with another audience. The dissertation concludes that, despite the enormous challenges faced in the construction of the railroad, the companies‚ leaders persisted in their attention to public relations and developed practices that continue to be used.
Patrick S. Washburn, PhD (Committee Chair)
Marilyn Greenwald, PhD (Committee Member)
David H. Mould, PhD (Committee Member)
Gary Moden, PhD (Committee Member)
237 p.

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Wood, L. (2009). When the Locomotive Puffs: Corporate Public Relations of the First Transcontinental Railroad Builders. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Wood, Leland. "When the Locomotive Puffs: Corporate Public Relations of the First Transcontinental Railroad Builders." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio University, 2009. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 22 Oct 2018.

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Wood, Leland "When the Locomotive Puffs: Corporate Public Relations of the First Transcontinental Railroad Builders." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio University, 2009. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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