Steamboat Illustrations, Page 4


Just arrived today: a novel copyrighted 1927 & '28 by Doubleday (it may have been serialized in a magazine) in '27 and printed as book in '28) about steamboating in the 1850's. The dust jacket is a bit worn so I restored it a bit in the attached file. I already had an undated reprint of this novel which with the strange title 'RIVERMEN DIE BROKE' which led me to search online for the hardcover edition of the original publication. The artist Frederick Blakeslee (1898 - 1973) who designed the dust jacket in the style of a poster but his specialty was more realistic illustrations of "Flying Aces" in World War I "dog fights" (aerial combat).

Old Father of Waters

A Vivid Novel of the Mississippi

Author of "Painted Ponies"

"Old Father of Waters" is a tale of the old, wild days on the lower Mississippi in 1858. Captain Arnold Huston is the central figure of the variegated throng of river-men, planters and merchants who march through the pages of the book. First with his boat the "Peter Swain" and later with the "Arnold Huston" Captain Huston opposes the force of the voracious stream. Duels, disaster, fire and flood play their parts in the story, through which runs a vein of mystery that comes to a crisis in a race of two rival steamers for a supreme stake.

Drawing on the actual history of the times, Mr. LeMay has written a powerful novel that carries the reader back to the picturesque days of old New Orleans.

A. L. BURT COMPANY Publishers - New York - 1928

RAILROAD March 49 Hannibal St JoWhiteMargins

This is a scan of the cover of the March 1949 issue of RAILROAD MAGAZINE by Frederick Blakeslee (same artist who created the dust jacket for OLD FATHER OF WATERS).

The cover art was entitled "First Run on the Old 'St. Joe' (Burlington)," so I gather the scene is intended to represent the shore of the Mississippi River at Burlington, Iowa. This same issue of RAILROAD MAGAZINE contains an article called "Burlington Route 1849 - 1949 A Photo Story," pages 12 to 43.

The very first mail car ever built was constructed in Hannibal, Missouri for the HANNIBAL & ST. JOSEPH RAILROAD in 1862. (Note the name of that railroad is on the mail car).

The name of the steamboat at the landing appears to begins with "SILVER" but the rest of the name is indecipherable. Two possible candidates for what Blakeslee intended as the name of the boat are SILVER LAKE which operated during the 1860's and SILVER MOON which operated from the 1850's to 1869.


Nice cover for this juvenile fiction book. Jonathan Dale on the dust jacket looks uncannily like Michael Jackson. The Jonathan is performing on the stage of the showboat JAMBALAYA.

THE BANJO PLAYER by Elizabeth Starr Hill dust jacket art copyright 1993 by Dennis Nolan

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1993 In a prequel to Street Dancers and Broadway Chances, Hill goes back to Clement Dale's grandfather, Jonathan, on a journey from New York to New Orleans and beyond. At 12, Jonathan Dale leaves the city streets where he's gotten along on his own for years, performing for passers-by. In 1887, he boards the Orphan Train, hoping to be selected from the line of ragged homeless children for adoption. Chosen by a hardscrabble Louisiana tenant family, Jonathan struggles to fit in and to please his new parents but remains emotionally detached from them and new sister Eugenie (also from the Orphan Train). Jonathan needs people, music, and the chance to perform; the silent hours of grueling farm labor drain him. After exchanging situations with another orphan, he moves to New Orleans, then to a touring showboat, where he's encouraged to perform once again. Hill's prose is sure and vivid. Though Jonathan's aloofness is somewhat distancing, the story hums with well-drawn characters and quiet humor, ably bringing history to life. (Fiction. 10-14)
Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-670-84967-7
Review Posted Online: May 20th, 2010


Finessed scan of a book cover painted by the authoress Madye Lee Chastain who also drew a sizable number of pen and ink illustrations inside the book as well. STEAMBOAT SOUTH

By Madye Lee Chastain
Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 1951
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Kirkus' Review
Another dainty, starched story for little girls by the author of "Loblolly Farm" with a sizeable amount of period charm. Amy Travis could hardly believe that she was to go by steamboat all by herself from Ohio to Texas, but her only relatives, Aunt Agnes and Uncle Will, had saved enough money for her steamboat fare, and she was thrilled to be taking the wonderful journey and becoming a part of a real family. There were gay and exciting goings-on on the steamboat with the explosive Beazies, a family for whom Amy worked as part-time nursemaid, kind Mrs. Binkle, under whose protection Amy was allowed to see the dancing, and good times aboard ship, two lovely French girls, a kind itinerant painter and others. A story of kind friends and gentle people and ladylike excitement with a realistic glimpse of the days just preceding the Civil War.


Calendar art, looks like circa late 40's, early '50's. It was captioned "Steamboat Round the Bend," size 6 X 10 1/4 inches. Ohio River setting apparently judging from the distant hills.

Nice painting technique, the artist was a practiced hand at controlling the medium. If compare to the photo of the City of Pittsburg (Neg. 10325, see below) at the Murphy site you will see see the many liberties the painter took while idealizing & romanticizing the boat, altering its style and many details.

C of P had a brief life span, only 4 years.

Built 1899 at Harmar, Ohio at Knox Yard
Burned at 4 a.m. on Sunday, April 20, 1902 along the Kentucky shore of the Ohio River in the Grand Chain, not far above Dam 53

Officers & crew: Captain John M. Phillips (commanding officer, 1899; master, 1902); Dana Scott (purser, 1899); James Rawley (pilot, 1899); Ed McLaughlin (pilot, 1899); Art Shriver (mate, 1902); Clayton Crawford (engineer, 1902); Harry Doss (pilot, 1902); Captain Wes Doss (senior pilot, 1902); Tom Smith (cub pilot, 1902) Ohio and Mississippi Rivers

Way Packet Directory- 1122; Much of her equipment was from the former City of New Orleans. Her first trip was a round trip Pittsburgh-New Orleans, after which she was entered in the Pittsburgh-Louisville trade 1899 and spring of 1900. Ran Cincinnati-Louisville briefly, then was entered in the Cincinnati-Memphis trade. When she burned in 1902, over 60 lives were lost including Captain Sylvester Doss, pilot and Tom Smith, cub pilot

Here's a photo of the real boat from the UW La Crosse Historic Steamboat Photographs


City of Pittsburgh. Photo Courtesy of Murphy Library at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Steamboat Collection Photographs

Tom Sawyer Cover Art by Javier Andrada 2008

Cover art for a 2008 Spanish language adaptation of "Las aventuras de Tom Sawyer," the ninth and last of a series of abridged literary classics for children published by La Galera in Barcelona, Spain as the 9th and last in their "pequeños universales" series.

Mark Twain's novel was adapted to 36 pages by Xosé A. Neira Cruz with 18 illustrations (including the cover) by Javier Andrada.


I recognized the source material that Javier Andrada referred to when painting this illustration and include the 2 photos:

They were from the 1973 musical film adaptation of TOM SAWYER with Jeff East (left) as Huck Finn and Johnny Whitaker (right) as Tom Sawyer. The steamboat was the JULIA BELLE SWAIN, was renamed the "River Queen" for the movie.

WESTERN Romances July 1958 steamboat OneThird

Some corny kitsch from 1958 . . . cover of the July issue of the pulp periodical WESTERN ROMANCES.

The cover painting of the brawny cowboy holding the "young filly" wearing modern "pumps" instead of the high button shoes which would have been worn in the Old West does not seem to illustrate any of the stories in this particular issue.

Immigrants who have just disembarked from the steamboat, perhaps somewhere along the Missouri River, must hope to establish homesteads on the frontier.

The cover served as part of the depiction of the nostalgic fantasy of Western life as a young girl of the 1950's girl would have imagined it to be, consistent with the genre of the short stories.

StobartCityOfKnoxvilleColor Adjusted by Lewis VerduynHALFsizeEXP

John Stobart's 2002 painting of KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE entitled "The 'City of Knoxville' arriving from Chattanooga in 1891"

The image area seen here is 18 x 28 1/2 inches.

Fred Way's Packet Directory lists 3 sternwheel steamboats who were named City of Knoxville, but no steamboat named City of Knoxville operating in 1891.

The first C of K's dates were 1854 to 1858; the second boat's dates were from 1875 to 1883; and the third boat's dates were from 1896 to 1901

Perhaps there was a 4th boat by that name that did operate in 1891 that is not listed in Way's Directory.

The J. Russell Jinishian Gallery, Inc. of Fairfield, Connecticut has the original painting listed at $250,000 jrusselljinishiangallery.com


Steamboat pilot house illustration for a story in the pulp magazine MAMMOTH ADVENTURE, May 1947. Sunken steamer in the distance on the river behind the pilot at the wheel.


Detail from a print of the painting NEW ORLEANS by ROY CROSS copyrighted in the United Kingdom by Felix Rosentiel's Widow & Sons Limited 1993. The steamboat PACIFIC (1857-1860) predominates in the right two thirds of the painting.


With the exception of images credited to certain institutions,
most of the images on this page are from a private collection.
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