Steamboat Illustrations, Page 7


This painting is of the ROB'T E. LEE, by Louisiana artist August Norieri. An enlargement of this painting serves as the backdrop for Jim Waddell's Mark Twain performances at MARK TWAIN CAVE in Hannibal, MO (see the photo below of Jim performing for grade school students).


August Norieri 1860-1898

The following information courtesy of Neal Auction Company:

The inspired career of August Norieri was tragically ended by his untimely death in 1898 at the age of thirty-eight. Norieri's paintings reflect his fascination with the waterways of New Orleans and the variety of boats that traversed them.

The picturesque steamboats along with the hard working tugboats of the Mississippi River, the sailing boats on Lake Ponchartrain and the steam launch pleasure boats on Bayou St. John all attracted the interest of the artist.

Norieri studied painting with local artist Andre Molinary, participated in the Creole Exhibit of the American Exposition of 1885 and was an active member of the Art Association of New Orleans.

Born into a middle class New Orleans Italian-American family, Norieri's brother Baptiste became a tugboat captain and bar pilot.


An image gallery containing thumbnail images of Norieri's steamboat paintings can be seen here:

recent acquisitions

One of my favorite reprints made by the Mississippi Lime Company (Alton, Illinois) of the sheet music cover for the

"Martha Jewett Polka."

Beautiful graphics and lettering.

In 1852 the Martha Jewett was built in the Soap Hollow boat yard north of Holliday's Hill [1852] above Sam Clemens hometown, Hannibal, Missouri. She was burned and lost at Cairo, Illinois on January 3, 1859.
Captain David H. Silver
She ran on the Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers.

- From Way's Packet Directory No. 3774

In April 1856 she ran bi-weekly between St. Louis and St. Joseph. 39 years after she burned (1895), her roof bell was installed in the belfry of a Presbyterian church at Cairo, Illinois.

recent acquisitions

6.80 x 8.40 inch cover of the 14th from the series of 17 "Zig-Zag Journeys" national and International-themed travel books by Hezekiah Butterworth.

I found this copy in a quaint little book shop in the French Quarter in October 1989.

The illustrations all apparently came from many previously published books, including Mark Twain's LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI.

ZIG-ZAG JOURNEYS ON THE MISSISSIPPI; or, From Chicago to the Islands of Discovery 1892

Dana Estes and Co., Publishers, BOSTON

recent acquisitions

Beautiful illustration on page 117 by F.C. Yohn for a story set Down South with steamboats & African Americans.

"Down River" on pages 307-319
By James B. Connolly
Illustrated by F. C. Yohn (Frederick Coffay Yohn 1875 - 1933)
From Scribners Magazine, Sept. 1916

recent acquisitions

Photo of Captain Cooley's cotton packet AMERICA was the inspiration for one of artist John Rose's illustrations in a 1982 edition of Mark Twain's ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN. Looks like the crew of roustabouts were carrying sacks of grain up the "stage" to the deck of the AMERICA. The Mississippi looks like pink lemonade . . . such a rosy shade. Handling of sky and smoke is nice.

recent acquisitions

An illustration of Captain Sellers' grave from Mark Twain's LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI and a photograph of it taken during the 1930's.

Clemens claimed to have "stolen" the pen name "Mark Twain" from Captain Sellers but no surviving newspapers published in St. Louis or New Orleans during Sellers' lifetime have articles on "River News" that were signed "Mark Twain." Why Clemens would accuse himself of purloining another man's nom de plume if it wasn't true is puzzling although he was prone to invent things in his "non-fiction" and autobiographies to make what he must have assumed "made a better story."

Below are the first and last paragraphs from Chapter 50 of Mark Twain's LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI, {1883}. The paragraphs in-between the ones below include more about Sellers' life and Clemens' supposed "borrowing" of the pen name "Mark Twain" from the veteran riverman.
"We had some talk about Captain Isaiah Sellers {1802 - 1864}, now many years dead. He was a fine man, a high-minded man, and greatly respected both ashore and on the river. He was very tall, well built, and handsome; and in his old age-- as I remember him--his hair was as black as an Indian's, and his eye and hand were as strong and steady and his nerve and judgment as firm and clear as anybody's, young or old, among the fraternity of pilots. He was the patriarch of the craft; he had been a keelboat pilot before the day of steamboats; and a steamboat pilot before any other steamboat pilot, still surviving at the time I speak of, had ever turned a wheel. Consequently his brethren held him in the sort of awe in which illustrious survivors of a bygone age are always held by their associates. He knew how he was regarded, and perhaps this fact added some trifle of stiffening to his natural dignity, which had been sufficiently stiff in its original state.

. . . The captain had an honorable pride in his profession and an abiding love for it. He ordered his monument before he died, and kept it near him until he did die. It stands over his grave now, in Bellefontaine cemetery, St. Louis. It is his image, in marble, standing on duty at the pilot wheel; and worthy to stand and confront criticism, for it represents a man who in life would have stayed there till he burned to a cinder, if duty required it."

recent acquisitions

Beautiful vintage lithograph of Ralph DuPae's hometown on L.O.C. site.

La Crosse, Wisconsin. 1873

Digital ID: (digital file from original print) hdl.loc.gov
Library of Congress
Prints and Photographs Division
Washington, D.C. 20540

recent acquisitions

George Fuller: A Steamboat Race on the Mississippi, (that took place between the Baltic & Diana in March of 1858)

Created by A. Weingartner Lithography NY. Published by M. Knoedler, New York, Goupil & Co., London and Paris in May of 1859

This image source:

Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc.
La Jolla, CA

recent acquisitions

Robert William Addison (1924-1988) was a busy artist who produced many illustrations including this one of a mounted redcoat looking down at a sternwheeler paddling on a Canadian river. robertaddisongallery.com

recent acquisitions

Mississippi Lime Co. of Alton, Illinois 1970 reprint of J.C. Wild's SOUTH VIEW OF ST. LOUIS, 1840.

Some of these early boats had what amounted to a ship's mast amidships, mostly to fly huge flags from apparently and there may have been a crow's nest as well where someone used to smoking tobacco might have some tolerance for black sooty smoke from the stacks when the wind blew it aft.

The brace attached to the pilot house and anchored on the hurricane deck is a feature which I've seen in other graphics of boats from this era including one of the MISSOURI from 1850. The later system of tying them down with guy wires may have been a little more effective in gale force winds.

recent acquisitions

City of Alton (Packet, 1860-1883)
Built in 1860 at Madison, Indiana
Dismantled at St. Louis, Missouri in 1883
Captain Mitchell; Captain Barnes (master, 1861)
Traveled on the Mississippi River; Tennessee River

Fred Way's Packet Directory No. 1045;
First home port, Alton, Illinois. Ran St. Louis-Alton. One of the first acts of derring-do in the Civil War was when 10,000 muskets and other munitions were removed from the St. Louis Arsenal under cover of night and taken to Alton, Illinois aboard this boat in April 1861 while sympathy for the South was running high in St. Louis. The boat landed at Alton before daybreak, the munitions were transferred to awaiting freight cars of the Chicago and Alton Railroad and delivered to Springfield, Illinois where the Illinois troops got their arms. She was with Grant's fleet during the Tennessee campaign and ran between St. Louis and Memphis after the war.

novel illustration with steamboat

A cover illustration for Le Grand Henderson's 1953 novel HOME IS UPRIVER

Description by Dave Thomson:

Pulp novel cover with hunky hero Buck and his sultry wife Martha for Le Grand Henderson's 1953 novel HOME IS UPRIVER, which was published under the pen name Brian Harwin. In the novel Buck names his little Stover gas engine towboat Martha after his wife.

Biographical material gathered from Wikipedia:

Le Grand Henderson (1901 - 1964) was born in Connecticut and attended the Yale School of Fine Arts. After graduating from Yale he designed heating and ventilating equipment, switchboards for submarines, and window & interior displays for Macy's and Bloomingdale's in New York City. After moving to St. Paul, Minnesota Henderson began a year-long journey on a houseboat down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.

He wrote and illustrated over a dozen children's books including these two books set on the Mississippi River:

Augustus and the River 1939
When the Mississippi Was Wild 1952

Home Is Up River, 1953 written by Le Grand Henderson and published under the pen name Brian Harwin by Signet Books

EXCERPTS - from pages 48 - 50:

When Buck decided to live on a houseboat on the Mississippi, he had been ingenious in persuading his bride to agree to it.

Martha's brother, Ramsey, heard about it, back home in Indiana, and he wrote a letter that began,

"The damn man's crazy."

Sister Jen added a postscript:

"All I say is, Martha, you're no lady if you go off amongst those riffraffs and river rats. I knew you shouldn't never have married that man. Always roaming from job to job."

Martha's widowed mother accepted it without comment. She lived with Jen, but she liked Buck.

The attitude of the other two was understandable: the Grants had been small farmers in middle-Indiana; then, when industrialism came, they had become steady, sober, and reliable holders of jobs in middle-Indiana.

Buck Sanjamon was a Louisiana Cajun. The name had been St. Germaine originally, and old Amedee St. Germaine had been among those forest-loving voyageurs from Canada who, with rollicking spirits and small canoes, tripped the Mississippi, singing lustily all the way to the Gulf.

The joy of motion was in Buck's blood, and he was a man who followed the joy where it led. Once it had led him to middle-Indiana, and that was how he had met Martha.

In the course of his wanderings, Buck had become an all-around good mechanic. The last of his many jobs ashore had taken him to the maintenance department of a machine shop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

And that was where he had the vision:

"I was working there, at the plant," he had told Kip, "and all of a sudden that old brick wall just faded away. And I could see, just as plain, the Mississippi River coming round a bend, all sparkly in the sun, like when I was on the river before. And I could see a shantyboat drifting on downriver. I could hear those little waves go wunk ga-lunk against the hull of that shantyboat. And I could smell that smell of wind and water and wet wood that ain't maybe as sound as boat wood ought to be."

Buck's blocky face was alight with the wonder of his vision.

"I was a riverman long before I got to be a land tarrapin, and I knew, right then, I had to go back to the river. I had some money saved up, and went down and bought the boat off old Nooky Rowe. . . .

. . . the boat Buck bought from Nooky Rowe was not a houseboat. She was an old and very small stern-wheel towboat about forty feet long. Most of the buckets were gone from her little paddlewheel, but she had a big old Stover engine in her cabin. It was rusty and needed overhauling, but it was a towboat's engine, and it could be fixed up.

And such an engine was more suited to river roving and river working than to lying tied to the bank . . .

from pages 54 and 55:

". . . nothing to hold us here now. The boat's all ready to go. We'll head out on the river, away from such damn' outfits as this." His voice was like a song. "You hear, Martha? We're going to travel the river."

Martha's eyes were glassy.

"I got it all planned out." Buck went on. "We'll tow timber rafts to the mills. There's good money in it. That old Stover engine will do it. It runs pretty good now, and I can fix it up later so's it'll purr like your sister Jen at feeding time." His eyes glowed. He patted Martha's shoulder with a touch that was an accolade.

"And you'll be engineer, Martha. Think of that. First damn' woman engineer on the whole Mississippi River."

"Buck," Martha said, "how much money do you have?"

. . . "Well, it all depends on how you look at it. We got the Martha. We got the little gas boat. We got, anyway, two weeks' groceries. We'll make a lot of money on the next rise of the river. Course, the river's low now, but when a rise comes there'll be a lot of drift timber floating down. Always is. It's those caving banks does it. Whole forests fall into the river. We'll catch that drift timber and make it up into rafts. We'll tow it to the mills. There's big money in that."

"Buck," Martha said. "How much money now?"

"Oh, you mean cash money. Well, right now we got more opportunities than cash money." He pulled a damp-looking wad of bills out of his pocket. "Forty-three dollars."

"Buck! How we going to get along on that?"

Buck looked pained. "Get along? We got the whole Mississippi River to get along on, ain't we? Look, Martha, I didn't go at this thing half-cocked. Just as soon as we get a little money out of that drift timber we'll go to buying up timber all along the river. Every old shantyboater's got a pile of drift tied up. We'll make it all up into rafts. We'll tow it to the mills. There's big money in it."

"But Buck, how we going to get along now?"

"Well, we'll catch the drift ourselves, first, like I said. We don't need money for that."

"But you said the river's low now," Martha reminded him. "You said there wouldn't be any drift timber until the river rises."

"Sure, that's right," Buck agreed amiably. "I guess we'll have to go to fishing for a while. Until a rise comes. They're getting good prices for fish these days."

Buck managed to get a few towing jobs, in addition to his fishing, by the time Storm was born. . . .


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