Book Covers, page 1
Wrap around dust jacket for the catalogue for a 2004 exhibit at The Historic New Orleans Collection . . .
FROM LOUIS XIV TO LOUIS ARMSTRONG
A Cultural Tapestry Exhibition Catalogue
The following explanatory and descriptive caption for the cover art is transcribed from page 38 of the book:
Boyd Cruise: The Levee at New Orleans circa 1859
watercolor on paper painted in 1959
The Historic New Orleans Collection 1992.94
gift of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond H. Kierr in memory of Robert M. Kierr
Boyd Cruise (1909-1988), the first director of The Historic New Orleans Collection, is noted for his paintings depicting, with extraordinary detail, the streets and buildings of New Orleans as they appeared prior to the Civil War. In this painting Cruise shows the wharves of the city as they would have appeared in 1859. At that time, the wharves swarmed with sailing vessels, oceangoing steamboats, and, most impressively, tall-stacked riverboats, of which four thousand arrived at New Orleans in that year alone.
Cruise shows the hustle and bustle of business in the city; its wealth is evident in the merchandise piled on the wharf. By 1859, the wide-plank wharf shown here paralleled the river for miles. It was not simply a place for laborers; here one could meet businessmen, tourists, and fashionable promenaders.
This catalogue was published in conjunction with the 2004 exhibition at The Historic New Orleans Collection, "From Louis XIV to Louis Armstrong" presents six essays addressing various periods and themes in the history of Louisiana—the colonial era, the development of 19th-century New Orleans, the visual arts from 1870 to 1940, and jazz.
Underscoring the major areas of emphasis in The Collection's holdings, From Louis XIV to Louis Armstrong features full-color reproductions of works by Louisiana artists William Aiken Walker, William Henry Buck, Ellsworth and William Woodward, and Robert Wadsworth Grafton, among others, as well as black-and-white and color images of jazz funerals, second-line parades, and various jazz artists and brass bands.
2004 • 104 pp. • Hardcover • ISBN 2-85056-770-1 • $35
View excerpts from the essays examining jazz and the visual arts in the spring 2004 issue of the Quarterly (pdf, 582 KB).
Ordering: The Shop at The Collection
Attached scan of the dust jacket for the British Book Club edition of STEAMBOAT GOTHIC (1952 Julian Messner Publisher). Fans of Mrs. Keyes' novels will notice that the painting on the dust jacket in the British edition is a "mirror image" of the American edition which has a charmingly stylized representation of "San Francisco" plantation house on the right (front of the cover) and the Mississippi River landing with steamboat on the left (back of the cover). I found this edition on eBay and jumped at the chance to get a pristine dust jacket since the jackets on all the domestic editions I've seen are faded and worn.
The author Frances Parkinson Keyes (pronounced "Kize") lived in a New Orleans home on Chartres Street in the French Quarter that was build in 1826. The home's most famous resident was Confederate General Pierre Beauregard rented and lived in it with his two sons from 1865 to 1868. Frances Parkinson Keyes lived in the home from 1945 until her death in 1970. The home is now a museum known as the Beauregard-Keyes House that has been preserved as it was when Keyes lived there which includes the office where she wrote many of her novels set in Old Louisiana and New Orleans including STEAMBOAT GOTHIC.
Among the best known of her novels set in these locations are THE RIVER ROAD, 1945 - DINNER AT ANTOINE's, 1948 and MADAME CASTEL'S LODGER, 1962 based on the three years that General Beauregard lived in what became her house.
Fred Way was Mrs. Keyes historical consultant on the steamboats in the novel, especially the RICHMOND (1867-1870). Fred was among the guests invited to her New Orleans home to celebrate the publication of STEAMBOAT GOTHIC in 1952. No expense was spared in giving Mrs. Keyes' historical consultants the most lavish meal possible to show her gratitude for their assistance in assuring historical accuracy in the novel.
Below are several citations including the story of how the plantation house came to be called "San Francisco." It was a spin off of the French slang term "Sans Fruscin" (without a penny in my pocket) implying that the builder of the home spent everything they had to make the house one of the most unusual of all plantation houses in Louisiana. It has an Oriental flavor to me . . . I toured both "San Francisco" and the "Beauregard-Keyes House in October, 1989.
Steamboat Gothic is a true gothic novel set on Louisiana's famed River Road. The plantation home that inspired this novel is still in existence and open for daily tours. The plantation is called "San Francisco" and its mid-Victorian architecture is reminiscent of a steamboat. Set between 1865 and the Depression, Steamboat Gothic discusses the change in transportation methods from steamboat to railroad and the effect the change had upon the plantations along the River Road. In the UK, Steamboat Gothic was published as two volumes, Steamboat Gothic in 1952, and Larry Vincent in 1953. The first book covers a period from 1869 to 1895, and the second a period from 1897 to 1930. Eyre and Spottiswoode published both titles in the UK.
Brief history of the San Francisco Plantation house
On the banks of the Mississippi River, less than an hour's drive west of New Orleans, stands one of the most remarkable examples of mid-nineteenth century architecture in Louisiana.
Built in 1856 by Edmond Bozonier Marmillion, the house was originally named "St. Frusquin", a name derived from the French slang term, "Sans Fruscin," which means "without a penny in my pocket" (presumably, a reference to its high cost).
Confidence Man Cover Painting NORTON critical edition
Great painted illustration by artist Robert Shore (1924 - 2014) for the cover of the Norton Critical Edition ofThe Confidence Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville
Edited by Hershel Parker and Mark Niemeyer
Published by W. W. Norton, New York 2002
Shore's stylized characters on the steamboat FIDELE are a "motley crew" of unique types that including diverse nationalities and faiths. A fellow who looks like W.C. Fields stands between an Indian with a war bonnet and a frontiersman with a coon skin hat. There are a couple of suspicious looking gents who look like they could be conspiring to swindle gullible passengers.
Attached is the front of the dust jacket with pen and ink drawings by British artist Ronald Searle for the 1948 Chiltern Library Edition published in London of THE CONFIDENCE MAN: HIS MASQUERADE, a novel by Herman Melville (best known as the author of MOBY DICK). THE CONFIDENCE MAN was first published in New York City in 1857.
The top illustration depicts the title character on the left in one of his disguises, resembling Orson Welles playing a Mandarin. The character on the right is a frontiersman named "Pitch" wearing a coonskin cap and carrying a rifle who is described by Melville in Chapter 21:
"A rather eccentric-looking person, somewhat ursine in aspect; sporting a shaggy spencer of the cloth called bear's-skin; a high-peaked cap of raccoon-skin, the long bushy tail switching over behind; raw-hide leggings; grim stubble chin; and to end, a double-barreled gun in hand--a Missouri bachelor, a Hoosier gentleman, of Spartan leisure and fortune, and equally Spartan manners and sentiments; and acquainted, in a Spartan way of his own, with philosophy and books, as well as woodcraft and rifles."
The bottom illustration depicts the steamboat Fidèle, also attached is a larger file of that steamboat drawing by itself. Searle probably based his drawing on a steamboat in one of the Currier & Ives prints which this closely resembles in style.
In the summer of 1840 Herman Melville had traveled from the East to visit his Uncle, Major Thomas Melvill Jr. at Galena, Illinois. Galena was a prosperous town inland a short distance northeast of the Mississippi River which steamboats reached by a six mile passage up the Galena River to pick up and deliver passengers and freight.
Melville's 1840 journey was made by steamer on the Great Lakes, inland waterway canals and by a steamboat on the Mississippi.
Melville's CONFIDENCE MAN takes place on April Fool's Day aboard a steamboat departing St. Louis for New Orleans. The title character appears in seven disguises and personalities in which he cleverly "wins the confidence" of passengers and the boat's barber in order to persuade them to make dubious investments from which only the con artist will profit.
Melville wrote this novel in his characteristic style which is dense in content and the conversations that the con artist engages each potential victim in are riddled with snares and ambiguities that require concentration from the reader.
Whenever any of the would-be "suckers" express doubt as to his genuineness the Confidence Man in any of his guises always comes up with lofty sounding denials such as this in Chapter 21:
"If you mean that I can in any way dupe you, or impose upon you, or pass myself off upon you for what I am not, I, as an honest man, answer that I have neither the inclination nor the power to do aught of the kind."
From some of the individual chapters I selected excerpts that have been edited and abridged to provide glimpses of the setting aboard the boat and the cast of characters.
I have limited my quotations primarily to those related to the steamboat and have not attempted to address the complexities of Melville's characterizations and events within the novel which is a formidable one to tackle.
For an in-depth analysis of the novel I recommend Professor Barry Goldensohn's "Melville's The Confidence Man and his Descendants in David Mamet's Work" which can be found online at this link: Google
What follows is a preview of the microcosm that exists aboard the steamboat Fidèle in Melville's CONFIDENCE MAN. A virtual solar system is represented in the last chapter with lamps suspended from the ceiling in the gentlemen's cabin in the last chapter:
from Chapter 1
On the first of April, there appeared a man in cream-colors, at the water-side in the city of St. Louis. He stepped aboard the favorite steamer Fidèle, on the point of starting for New Orleans.
A peddler was selling money-belts, one of his popular safe-guards, while another peddler hawked in the thick of the throng, the lives of Samuel Mason, the bandit of the Ohio, John Murrell, the pirate of the Mississippi, and the two Harpe brothers, the Thugs of the Green River country in Kentucky -- creatures, with others of the sort, who had all been exterminated by this time, however where the wolves are killed off, the foxes increase.
A sketch of the barber shop aboard the steamboat RICHMOND (1867-74) from the La Crosse collection.
The barber of the boat, whose quarters, under a smoking-saloon, and over against a bar-room, was next door but two to the captain's office. This river barber, aproned and slippered, but rather crusty-looking for the moment, it may be from being newly out of bed, was throwing open his premises for the day, and suitably arranging the exterior. With business-like dispatch, having rattled down his shutters, and at a palm-tree angle set out in the iron fixture his little ornamental pole, jumping on a stool, he hung over his door, on the customary nail, a gaudy sort of illuminated pasteboard sign, skillfully executed by himself, gilt with the likeness of a razor elbowed in readiness to shave, and also, for the public benefit, with two words not unfrequently seen ashore gracing other shops besides barbers':--"NO TRUST."
from Chapter 2
Now the boat started on her voyage. The Mississippi amply flowing between low, vine-tangled banks, flat as tow-paths, it bears the huge toppling steamers, bedizened and lacquered within like imperial junks.
Pierced along its great white bulk with two tiers of small embrasure-like windows, well above the waterline, the Fidèle, might at distance have been taken by strangers for some whitewashed fort on a floating isle.
Fine promenades, domed saloons, long galleries, sunny balconies, confidential passages, bridal chambers, state-rooms plenty as pigeon-holes, and out-of-the-way retreats like secret drawers in an escritoire, present like facilities for publicity or privacy.
Her voyage of twelve hundred miles extends from apple to orange, from clime to clime, and at every landing, the huge Fidèle still receives additional passengers in exchange for those that disembark.
Staring crowds on the shore were now left far behind, seen dimly clustering like swallows on eaves; while the passengers' attention was soon drawn away to the rapidly shooting high bluffs and shot-towers on the Missouri shore, or the bluff-looking Missourians and towering Kentuckians among the throngs on the decks.
As among Chaucer's Canterbury pilgrims there was no lack of variety.
Natives of all sorts, and foreigners . . .
Here reigned the dashing and all-fusing spirit of the West, whose type is the Mississippi itself, which, uniting the streams of the most distant and opposite zones, pours them along, helter-skelter, in one cosmopolitan and confident tide.
from Chapter 10
In the cabin were stools, settees, sofas, divans, ottomans; occupied by clusters of men, old and young, wise and simple; in their hands are cards spotted with diamonds, spades, clubs, hearts; the favorite games are whist, cribbage, and brag.
Wikipedia: "Three card brag is a 16th-century British card game, and the British national representative of the vying or "bluffing" family of gambling games. Brag is a direct descendant of the Elizabethan game of Primero and one of the several ancestors to poker, just varying in betting style and hand rankings."
from Chapter 20
The boat sided up to a landing, two passengers went ashore through an open guard, then "The plank's in, we're off." The huge boat, with a mighty, walrus wallow, rolled away from the shore, resuming her course.
from Chapter 45 (the last one in the novel)
In the middle of the gentleman's cabin burned a solar lamp, swung from the ceiling, and whose shade of ground glass was all round fancifully variegated, in transparency, with the image of a horned altar, from which flames rose, alternate with the figure of a robed man, his head encircled by a halo. The light of this lamp, after dazzlingly striking on marble, snow-white and round--the slab of a centre-table beneath--on all sides went rippling off with ever-diminishing distinctness, till, like circles from a stone dropped in water, the rays died dimly away in the furthest nook of the place.
Here and there, true to their place, but not to their function, swung other lamps, barren planets, which had either gone out from exhaustion, or been extinguished by such occupants of berths as the light annoyed, or who wanted to sleep, not see.
By a perverse man, in a berth not remote, the remaining lamp would have been extinguished as well, had not a steward forbade, saying that the commands of the captain required it to be kept burning till the natural light of day should come to relieve it. This steward, who, like many in his vocation, was apt to be a little free-spoken at times, had been provoked by the man's pertinacity to remind him, not only of the sad consequences which might, upon occasion, ensue from the cabin being left in darkness, but, also, of the circumstance that, in a place full of strangers, to show one's self anxious to produce darkness there, such an anxiety was, to say the least, not becoming. So the lamp--last survivor of many--burned on, inwardly blessed by those in some berths, and inwardly execrated by those in others.
Steamboat Billy by Sanford Tousey 1935
Sanford Tousey wrote and illustrated STEAMBOAT BILLY 7 1/2 X 9 1/2 - 52 pages.
Published by Cadmus Books / E.M. Hale amp; Co. Chicago in 1935
The fictional names of the boats were apparently derived from actual steamers. The Senator Ordway from the SENATOR CORDILL - while the name Ordway may have come from John Ordway, one of the men who accompanied Lewis and Clark to the West. Betsy Greene must have been combined from the first name of the BETSY ANN and the last names of the many Greene family members who were Captains and had boats named after them.
Attached scans of cover, title page, fly leaf and the Ordway at a landing.
A synopsis before the story begins is a "kid friendly" introduction:
"The trip down the river on Uncle Bob's boat, the Senator Ordway, gave Billy the biggest thrill of his life. And it's no wonder, for he not only rode in the pilot house but he even took the pilot's wheel himself for awhile! Since Uncle Bob was the captain, Billy got to do lots of things that other boys weren't allowed to do. How Billy loved the stories of the old-time races between the river boats. In those days the captain sometimes ordered parts of the boat chopped up and burned, so as to give them more fuel and help them win the race.
You will get a lot of fun out of reading how the Senator Ordway got the better of her chief rival, the Betsy Greene. At one place the Senator Ordway stopped and took on a lot of animals. The horses and cows went on board without any trouble, but there was one mule that simply would not go on the boat. They worked and they worked, and finally they used one of the cleverest tricks you ever heard of.
After you read this story you will probably want to be a river pilot or a steamboat captain yourself. And you will certainly wish that you could have been with Steamboat Billy on his trip down the Ohio."
1948 STEAMBOAT BILL - an illustrated adaptation of the 1910 song
STEAMBOAT BILL by Charles Crowther
Collins Clear Type Press (1949)
Published by London amp; Glasgow
7-1/4 x 10 inches, brown cloth, illustrated fly leaves.
Based on the song STEAMBOAT BILL
Lyrics by Ken Shields
Music by Bert amp; Frank Leighton
First published as sheet music in 1910
by F.A. Mills Music Publisher, New York City
Abridged from the front flap of the dust jacket:
"We see the rivalry of two paddle steamer Captains and their crew which leads to a challenge race down the river. The odd odds are in favor of the powerful ROB'T E. LEE owned by Amos Hogg. The WHIPPOORWILL is under the command of Steamboat Bill which is not a powerful paddle steamer in comparison to the LEE.
The Artist has provided boys and girls of all ages with a charming and amusing book which they will treasure."
Peter and the Paddle Boat children's book
Peter and the Paddle Boat
Story by Garn
Illustrated by George J. Zaffo
Saalfield Publishing Co.
Akron, Ohio and New York, 1946
from back flap of dust jacket:
"You're on your way down the Mississippi!" said Captain Jim to his nephew Peter, who was going to New Orleans to visit his grandmother.
Peter met Kay on the boat and together they explored every corner from the "texas" to the engine room.
THE BELLE and THE QUEEN, a rival boat, joined in a race and brought plenty of excitement to the trip.
BILLY WHISKERS ON THE MISSISSIPPI
by Frances Trego Montgomery
The Saalfield Publishing Co.
Akron, OH, 1915
Illustrated by Frank J. Murch with 7 color plates and black & white line drawings accompanying the text.
8 X 9" 170 pages
The Billy Whiskers Series
1. Billy Whiskers: The Autobiography of a Goat
2. Billy Whiskers' Kids, Or, Day and Night
3. Billy Whiskers, Junior
4. Billy Whiskers' Travels
5. Billy Whiskers at the Circus
6. Billy Whiskers at the Fair
7. Billy Whiskers' Friends
8. Billy Whiskers, Jr., and His Chums
9. Billy Whiskers' Grandchildren
10. Billy Whiskers' Vacation
11. Billy Whiskers Kidnapped
12. Billy Whiskers' Twins
13. Billy Whiskers In an Aeroplane
14. Billy Whiskers in Town
15. Billy Whiskers in Panama
16. Billy Whiskers at the Exposition
17. Billy Whiskers on the Mississippi
18. Billy Whiskers Out West
19. Billy Whiskers in the South
20. Billy Whiskers in Camp
21. Billy Whiskers in France
22. Billy Whiskers' Adventures
23. Billy Whiskers in the Movies
24. Billy Whiskers Out for Fun
25. Billy Whiskers' Frolics
26. Billy Whiskers At Home
27. Billy Whiskers' Pranks
28. Billy Whiskers in Mischief
29. Billy Whiskers and the Radio
30. Billy Whiskers' Treasure Hunt
31. Billy Whiskers, Tourist
32. Billy Whiskers, Stowaway
Beautiful illustration by Marshall Frantz on the front cover of the Aug 26, 1939 Argosy magazine. Nice ferry boat in background for the "River Rogues (A Novel of the Mississippi)."
Beautiful cover illustration by artist Rudolph Belarski for a pulp fiction novelette featured in ARGOSY magazine Feb 17, 1940 Volume 297, Issue 1, pages 6-30
The pirate holding the derringer bears a strong resemblance to Vincent Price and the steamboat pilot reminded me of Ray Milland.
CALAMITY RIVER by Donald Barr Chidsey
Introductory text above the opening paragraph of the short novel on page 6:
"He knew by heart all the ins and out of the treacherous and twisting water - every little sandspit, every shifting shoreline. He knew too the deadly reputation of Filmer the pirate. By putting these two pieces of knowledge together he turned deadly perils into the victory that comes only to the brave. A vigorous tale of the Mississippi."
RUDOLPH BELARSKI (1900-1983) noted for "pulp fiction" and paperback detective images, was said to be "the perfect paperback artist" by art editor Ken Stuart, of The Saturday Evening Post in the mid-1950s.
A master at building suspense through figure, perspective and color, Belarski dazzled the newsstand browser with pictorial headlines of vital action scenes pertaining to the inside story.
In doing so, he sold magazines and books to a drama-craving audience, and propelled publishing's mass markets, thus infiltrating American minds with the trends and fashions of pop culture.
Belarski's career began in the 1920s, with the pioneering days of American aviation. His best-remembered subjects, however, came along with the crime story fascination in the 1930s: voluptuous dames in distress mixing it up with square-jawed detectives and thugs.
His science-fiction subjects of this same time are astonishingly convincing; his constructions of the 25th century adapted microphones, lawnmowers and hubcaps as elements.
In his usual timely fashion, Belarski veers in the 1950s away from the slick world of melodrama towards a more natural, realistic world.
A great lover of camping and fishing, Belarski also painted a number of covers for Outdoor Life.
Understanding medium, palette, subject and time, Belarski captures America's fickle ideals.
As his illustrations soar alongside the growth of our history of popular culture, so does the nostalgic trend that he spawned.
The Thrilling Adventures of Rudolph Belarski
Jun 14, 2015 by Mike Chomko
Rudolph Belarski grew up in the hardscrabble world of coal mines in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. He finished the sixth grade and then entered the work force with his classmates at the Pittston Mines, where he labored for ten years, while he subscribed to a correspondence art school to follow his dream to become a celebrated illustrator.
In 1922 he moved to New York City to study at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where his classmates included Walter Baumhofer, Frederick Blakeslee, and John Fleming Gould. In 1928, he entered the pulp industry through Dell Publications, doing interiors and covers for adventure pulps about World War I, such as WAR ACES, WAR BIRDS, WAR NOVELS, and WAR STORIES. In later years, he worked for Fiction House and the Munsey chain of pulp magazines, painting covers for ACES, AIR STORIES, ALL-AMERICAN FICTION, ARGOSY, DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY, DOUBLE DETECTIVE, RED STAR ADVENTURES, SILVER BUCK WESTERN, WINGS, and other rough-paper titles.
By 1935 Rudolph Belarski was one of Ned Pines' top artists at Standard Publications, where he painted covers for AIR WAR, THE AMERICAN EAGLE, ARMY NAVY FLYING STORIES, BLACK BOOK DETECTIVE, CAPTAIN FUTURE, DETECTIVE NOVEL MAGAZINE, EXCITING FOOTBALL, EXCITING SPORTS, GIANT DETECTIVE, G-MEN DETECTIVE, THE LONE EAGLE, MYSTERY BOOK MAGAZINE, THE PHANTOM DETECTIVE, POPULAR DETECTIVE, POPULAR WESTERN, RAF ACES, SKY FIGHTERS, STARTLING STORIES, THRILLING ADVENTURES, THRILLING DETECTIVE, THRILLING MYSTERY, THRILLING WONDER STORIES, WEST, and other pulps from the Thrilling Group.
Following the Second World War, Rudolph Belarski became one of Ned Pines' top paperback cover artists at Popular Library as well as a leading illustrator for the men's adventure magazines. He finished his career as a teacher at the world's foremost correspondence art school, the Famous Artists School of Westport, Connecticut. On Saturday, August 15th, at 8:45 PM, please join pulp art historian David Saunders for an exploration of the life and work of pulp artist Rudolph Belarski at PulpFest 2015.
Born in 1954, David Saunders is a New York artist. His work has been collected worldwide in museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Hirschhorn Museum of Art in Washington, DC. He has taught art at such colleges as, Yale, Oberlin, and the Kansas City Art Institute, as well as art schools in France, Korea, Mexico and Japan.
David's father was the legendary illustrator, Norman Saunders. His mother, Ellene Politis Saunders, worked at Fawcett Publications as Chief Executive Editor for WOMAN'S DAY. In 1972, David became his father's business secretary, which started a long project to catalog his father's 7,000 published illustrations. He spent the next seventeen years gathering published examples of his father's work from used bookshops and submitting each new entry to his father's inspection. What began as a sentimental hobby for a father and son grew into an impressive archive of 20th century American illustration. After his father's death in 1989, he completed the archive on his own. He interviewed his father's surviving associates to record their oral histories. These transcripts helped to broaden his viewpoint of the popular culture publishing industry and also documented vital information about the lives of other artists. Some of this material has been published as biographical profiles in ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE and several coffee-table art books on pulp artists.
David is, quite probably, the foremost scholar of American pulp illustrators. His free public website, Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists, has over three-hundred biographical profiles of these creators of popular culture. David continues to research, document, and promote a greater appreciation of pulp artists. To find out more, please visit davidsaunders.biz, normansaunders.com, and theillustratedpress.com.
(Rudolph Belarski's cover to the Summer 1944 issue of AIR WAR is one of many covers that the talented artist painted for Ned Pines' "Thrilling Group" of pulp magazines. To learn more about the artist, be sure to visit David Saunders' Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists where you will find more than 300 biographical profiles of American pulp artists. For a wider sampling of the artist's work, pick up a copy of John Gunnison's BELARSKI: PULP ART MASTER, available through Adventure House.)
The Wisconsin Historical Society has the following book (file on the cover attached) available to read in a facsimile at wisconsinhistory.org
George C. Nichols
Recollections of a Pioneer Steamboat Pilot: contributing to the early history of the Mississippi (La Crosse, Wis. : Tucker & Co., 1883)
A Mississippi Riverboat pilot looks back on his career, 1845-1883
Recollections of a Pioneer Steamboat Pilot
This short book contains the recollections of Mississippi steamboat pilot George C. Nichols, as recorded in the third person by an anonymous editor. Nichols was born in Ohio in 1824 and his family moved steadily westward until settling on the Black River in Wisconsin in 1840. Young George went to St. Louis that year to learn to be a riverboat pilot but soon returned north to work on the family farm for four years. In 1845, he returned to the river, beginning a decades-long career as a steamboat pilot for the Minnesota Packet Company; over the next 40 years he worked for many other firms on the upper Mississippi and its tributaries. Nichols' memoir discusses not only a pilot's duties and wages but also the early years of Fort Snelling, the fur trade, the Ho-Chunk, Sioux and Ojibwe Indians, lumber rafts, birth of Wisconsin river towns, and collisions and crashes between vessels. A long section describes the removal of the Ho-Chunk to Minnesota, in which he was personally involved.
A composite of title pages and spines of two steamboat books published in matching formats by the same publisher in the late 1920's.
"Mississippi Steamboatin', a History of Steamboating on the Mississippi and Its Tributaries"
by Herbert Quick & Edward Quick
Harry Holt & Co. 1926
"The Pageant of the Packets: A Book of American Steamboating"
by Garnett Laidlaw Eskew
Harry Holt & Co. 1929
With the exception of images credited to public institutions,
everything on this page is from a private collection.
Please contact Steamboats.com for permission for commercial use.*
All captions provided by Dave Thomson, Steamboats.com primary contributor and historian.