Ephemera - Postage Stamps, Envelopes



Attached art for the 2011 U.S. postal service FOREVER stamp dedicated to MARK TWAIN.

I believe that the artist based the steamboat on the little White River (Arkansas) steamboat MARY WOODS No. 2 that was on display at Jacksonport, Arkansas until she sank and nobody wanted to pay the cost of restoring her so she was scrapped in 2011.

The attached photo of the WOODS from the CAPTURE ARKANSAS photo site was taken by Marvin Barrow and copyrighted by him 2014.

Jacksonport site feature on the WOODS from back when she was still a tourist attraction.

The WOODS had the distinction of playing the "PAUL JONES" in the 1979 T.V movie MARK TWAIN BENEATH THE LAUGHTER in the sequence where Horace Bixby is "learning" the river to young Sam Clemens on the Mississippi.

Way's Towboat Directory Number T1764

Stw tb sh 1931-1949. b. Nashville, TN (hull) and completed at Memphis, 111x26x4.4. Engines, Gillett & Eaton, 123/8's-6 ft. stroke. Engines new but boilers, doctor and pumps from the FRANK E. WOODS. Capt. Clarence Moxley came out master.

Capt. Ed B. Warner, approaching 81, was pilot on her in White River, March, 1940. He once piloted the packet CHICKASAW to Memphis with her largest cargo of White River cotton. Capt. Charles Warner also was on the WOODS as pilot. Converted to diesel at Memphis in 1949. Owned by the Woods Lumber Co.. Memphis, until sold in February, 1960 to Potlach Forests, Inc., Clarendon, AR. Decommissioned in 1967. Potlach donated the MARY WOODS NO. 2 to the Arkansas State Publicity and Park Commission in 1967. She was restored and exhibited at Jacksonport State Park, a mile west of Newport, AR on Highway 69.


Towboat Mary Woods No. 2 when she was working.


32 cent stamps.


Dean Ellis painted 5 steamboats for a commemorative set of U.S. first class postage stamps in 1996. In the file with the 5 stamps I have simulated a postage cancel with some wave-like lines along the bottom of each.

In Dean's painting of the ROB'T E. LEE in the larger file his brush strokes are visible particularly in the sky, water, smoke and steam.

Have wondered if there might have been a sixth stamp intended for the commemorative set of the NATCHEZ that wasn't released because there is a print of a painting of the NATCHEZ to which were affixed the 5 commemorative stamps. I sent you a file on that print with the stamps attached that you'll come across when you make your next update.


Postal cancel envelope from Memphis for the Valley Queen (Packet, circa 1926-1934)

Post marked Memphis, Tennessee
on the back of this envelope Sept 15, 1931
1931 National Philatelic Exhibition
Sept 14. - 19 MEMPHIS, TENN
Sternwheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 5537
Built in 1913 at Jeffersonville, Indiana by Howard Ship Yard
Name was changed from JO HORTON FALL to VALLEY QUEEN when purchased by Captain Peters Lee and others around 1926.
She ran in short trades to Caruthersville, Missouri and elsewhere. She was also used for excursions. Sunk and lost at Omaha, Nebraska on May 17, 1934


In addition to the Disney - Twain themed stamps in 1985 (which was not only "International Youth Year" but also the 150th anniversary of Mark Twain's birth, November 30, 1835) there were also commemorative stamps issued for the Turks & Caicos Islands. The artist did a nice job depicting the steamboat GRAND TURK (probably based on the lithograph Henry Lewis made in 1848 that we have on one of the illustration pages) and Mark Twain riding Halley's Comet which was in the sky when he was born in 1835 and when he died on April 21st, 1910. Clemens had often predicted that he would pass on when Halley's comet returned 74 years, 4 months, 23 days after he was born.


The Turks and Caicos Islands , or TCI for short, are a British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago, north of the larger Antilles island grouping.

There is also a strong influence from Cornwell's ROB'T E. LEE painting in the depiction of the GRAND TURK which was different primarily in the design of the upper deck and pilot house etc. which is apparent in Henry Lewis' lithograph.

steamboat waybill

This is an envelope carried aboard Belle Lee.

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


With the exception of images credited to public institutions,
everything on this page is from a private collection.
Please contact for permission for commercial use.*

All captions provided by Dave Thomson, primary contributor and historian.