Steamboat Illustrations, Page 19


This is an original ad for one of Cap'n Leathers' series of boats all named NATCHEZ. Jim Hale thought thinks this is probably the 6th boat by that name. There's no date on this piece which was yellow with age. I cleaned it up in this hi con version.

The reduced scan produced a "moray pattern" in the sky which of course the original doesn't have.

steamboat illustration

When I was bidding on a piece of calendar art on eBay I recognized the boat right away as having been based on a photo of the CITY OF ST. LOUIS.

I double exposed that art with a post card of the C of SL and managed to improve the color scheme and detailing on the calendar graphic; the name on the paddlebox came through nicely and the stacks look better as well. Feels a little more like Dean Cornwell* might have done it although he'd have painted a better riverscape . . . I'll have to see if I can improve on that also. Will send an uncropped version of the composite as well.

Then the green/brackish lookin' water was gettin' to me so I subdued the palette. You convert the whole image to grayscale, tint it blue green then double expose it over your color version.

steamboat illustration

You probably have all the old DQ brochures. I got this on eBay because I liked the quaint styling of the cover with graphics and text done in an old timey way including the "guarantee" at the bottom assuring passengers of top notch service and staff.

I subdued the red lettering in Photoshop a bit, seemed a bit too bright to me. The effect caused the color to taper off pretty much to black and white at the bottom which is OK since it leads you eye to the courtesy guarantee.

From the looks of the stateroom interiors this would have been early on in the DQ's career back East since the headboards on the beds look non descript and inexpensive and the old Professor of Cally-ope is featured in a photo also and I gathered he was an early member of the crew.

steamboat illustration

A flour sack label.

steamboat Illustrated Weekly cover

On the cover of the January 12, 1884 Frank Leslies' Illustrated Weekly. Not the greatest illustration of a pilot house. Kind of a skimpy pilot wheel. Lumpy human figures. Whoever did the original sketch may have been poorly served by the engraver, hard to tell.

steamboat Yank Magazine cover

Detail of cover from August 1945 YANK magazine. (U.S. Army publication). Nostalgic scene taken near Owensboro, Kentucky. Nice pix of the Greenes in the article . . . (see next two pages).

steamboat Popular Mechanics cover

Old Popular Mechanics magazine cover, March 1913, documents the opening of the lock and dam in 1913.

Kelly Tires ad steamboat illustration

This is a detail from a 1953 Kelly Tires ad by an artist named Wainwright (first name not legible). It's based on a photo of the Piasa taken on the St. Louis levee I sent a while ago. The painting is certainly idealized from the photo with everything cleaned up, smokestacks made higher, bridge made grander. Nice job of idealization and nostalgia.

Hiram Walker Imperial Wiskey advertisement with steamboat illusration

Detail of a Hiram Walker Imperial Whiskey advert. Even more emphasis on idealized nostalgia here.

colorized steamboat postcard

I have it on good authority from Jim Hale that this scene shows Yazoo City, Mississippi not Vicksburg. La'rn somethin' new ever' day.

Irvin S

Irvin S. Cobb was the humorist from Paducah, Kentucky who played "Cap'n Eli" in STEAMBOAT ROUND THE BEND opposite Will Rogers.

Cobb's 1924 novel (quoted below) was his "Tom Sawyer" story based on his boyhood years in Paducah on the Ohio River when he was 13 "goin' on 14."

When the boy hero runs away from home he talks to Cap'n Mike Goddard of the steamboat RAPIDAN about joining the crew so he can escape his hometown that way.

Goddard proceeds to offer the boy a berth on the boat but frightens him by exaggerating the privations and difficulties of being low man on the totem pole.

The boy does not return to the boat when it leaves but instead watches wistfully from shore as she departs.

The attached illustration from the book is by Worth Brehm who also illustrated later editions of Mark Twain's TOM SAWYER and HUCKLEBERRY FINN for Harper & Bros.

Goin' on Fourteen
by Irvin S. Cobb

George H. Doran Co.

Closing paragraphs from Chapters 18:

"At eleven o'clock the RAPIDAN sent a roaring signal up the wharf and the clamor of it scattered the pigeons feeding on scattered grain upon the graveled incline.

It roused five or six persons of the leisure class, one of them plain, the rest colored, who had been drowsing in sunny spots behind bales and hogsheads awaiting shipment, and it brought tardy travelers hurrying down the slope.

At eleven-ten, to an accompaniment of starting bells jangling in the engine room and the scrape of gangplanks being drawn in, she whistled once again in final warning.

From a hastily tunneled retreat well back in the sawdust pile of Langstock's mill a quarter of a mile away, the refugee did not stir.

He had been there for quite a while; he would continue patiently to lie there until all peril had passed.

Better be slow and safe than to be precipitate and sorry.

He waited until the diminishing bucketty-bucketty of paddle-wheels and the sighing, tired-sounding exhalations of her 'scrape pipes told him the packet had swung out into the current and was really off, beyond possibility of recall, on her winding course through the lower bends.

Even so, his manner of emerging from his fastness showed caution.

He sat on a saw-log in the shelter of the planing shed to dig itchy particles out of his neck-band and his ears and take stock of matters in general.

One thing was sure: the glamorous aspect of steamboating had been exposed for a false and misleading thing."


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