Exploring Healthcare Practices of Chinese Railroad Workers in North America

Author(s): Sarah C Heffner

Year: 2015


Chinese laborers on the North American transcontinental railroads performed dangerous and labor-intensive work, and many died or were seriously injured as a result of explosions, cave-ins, and severe and unpredictable weather. These workers received meager wages and may have faced additional health risks from ethnic violence and malnutrition. Little is known about how these individuals treated their injuries and ailments and, to this date, not a single document written by a Chinese railroad worker has been discovered. Analysis of medicinal artifacts recovered from railroad sites in Idaho, Nevada, and Utah, dating from 1869-1910, combined with research on existing documentary and archaeological sources on Chinese medicine in 19th-century North America, can provide us with a better understanding of the healthcare practices of Chinese railroad workers.


Cite this Record

Exploring Healthcare Practices of Chinese Railroad Workers in North America. Sarah C Heffner. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433889)


Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 151