A Legislative and Corporate History
From the Files of Bill N. Muster
and Richard C. Simonton

Muster & Simonton Delta Queen documents index - click here.
Delta Queen legislative and coroprate timeline - click here.

Summary: EJ Quinby decided to dedicate more time to the Delta Queen and began winding up his affairs at Shepard Laboratory in Summit, New Jersey. He requested a pay increase from $100 a month to $200, rode the Delta Queen frequently to play the calliope, conducted management, and won free publicity for the boat.

Simonton continued as the majority stockholder, but limited his involvement to writing letters and smoothing over difficult management situations. Because of other engagements, he could not become more involved. His letters speak of parties at his Toluca Lake home and promoting the Delta Queen in his social circle. He also wrote a great deal about various theater organs, and about his family.

Midway through the year, he and Quinby had an offer to become involved in the Georgian Bay Lines, a company that owned two ships on the Great Lakes. They refused the offer because of the problems facing the company.

The Delta Queen captain, Paul Underwood, resigned in the middle of the season, and arrangements were made to hire Captain Wagner of the Avalon [Belle of Louisville] (he would begin in the 1962 season). Simonton hired William Muster to work for The Pacific Network, Inc., Simonton's California company. Muster did not take an active role in Greene Line Steamers at that time.

Read the highlights for this year or Skp to 1962

Jan. 1961:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby encouraging him to become more active in GLS management ("I have unbounded confidence in your judgment and ability, and I feel that we can make money, make history, and have a good time, and what more can anyone ask? How soon will you be through at Shepard Labs?"), ASTA promotion, annual GLS meeting.

Perry-Brown with Simonton regarding edited DQ film; with Quinby regarding TV game shows, other promotion tie-ins, other TV engagements; to airlines, enclosing press release for "Visit USA" promotion.

Simonton with friends, acquaintances, DQ personnel.

Feb. 1961:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby regarding date of annual meeting, DQ model, old films; to Greene regarding Captain Underwood, annual meeting. Greene to Underwood regarding personnel. Simonton to Perry-Brown regarding his itinerary, old films; to friends regarding media (Simonton in Time magazine for organ); to Hartwig Moss Insurance regarding DQ policy.

March 1961:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby regarding travelogue about Mississippi River, recent PR, date of annual meeting; to Greene (three letters) regarding arrival details, DQ model, DQ movie. Perry-Brown to Simonton regarding PR engagements, recent media coverage, Delta King. Simonton to friends, acquaintances.

News Clippings: Cincinnati Enquirer, "Calliopes Duel Again."

April 1961:

Correspondence: Simonton to Greene regarding DQ tickets for friends, cruise on Georgian Bay Line; to Perry-Brown regarding PR, Delta King; to friends, acquaintances, DQ personnel, media.

News Clippings: Courier-Journal, "Kentucky River Steamers"; Calliope, reprints of various articles.

May v:

Correspondence: Simonton to Greene (three letters) regarding Georgian Bay Line, reimbursement for expenses, DQ model (arrived damaged), DQ movies; to Perry-Brown regarding riverboat films; to other friends, etc.

News Clippings: Washington Star, regarding low bridge legislation; Cincinnati Auto Club, "Enjoy a Riverboat Vacation on the Historic Ohio River"; magazine supplement, "Steamboat's Still Coming."

June 1961:

Correspondence: Simonton to Greene (three letters) regarding personnel, cancel Georgian Bay Lines, his itinerary; to Quinby (two letters) regarding Shepard Labs, upcoming DQ trip, DQ model kit, management.

Quinby to Simonton regarding outside offers to buy GLS stock, charter cruises, bridge legislation, Shepard Lab, Greene and other personnel concerns, DQ model kit; to Perry-Brown regarding DQ model kit, other PR. Perry-Brown to Greene regarding framed painting reproductions for gift store. Simonton to friends, etc.

July 1961:

Correspondence: Quinby to Greene regarding recent DQ trip, publication of new Calliope, winding down at Shepard Lab and $100 raise for himself. Greene to Quinby (two letters) regarding calliope certificates, authorizes raise, 1962 schedule. Quinby to Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce regarding steamboat ocean liners, to Streckfus Steamers regarding calliopes, answering inquiries about calliope and DQ, Waterways Journal, to author Sterling North regarding a new book. Georgian Bay Lines to Greene offering to sell back the wheel of the Gordon C. Greene.

Aug. 1961:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby (three letters) regarding Georgian Bay Lines, Captain Underwood leaving, bridge legislation. Quinby to Simonton (three letters) regarding Georgian Bay Lines or Mexican passenger rails. Quinby to Greene (two letters) regarding advertising, Captain Underwood. Greene to Quinby regarding Captain Underwood ("Capt. Paul. . . said he heard that someone called him the 'Castro of the Tennessee River.' . . .and is generally demoralizing the crew against the company."); to Simonton regarding his recent visit, Underwood resignation, 1962 schedule. Simonton to Greene (four letters) regarding proposals to invest in Georgian Bay Lines, Underwood's resignation ("I am glad it's over and done and I hope we can start with Wagner next year, and attract some young blood like Doc Hawley."), promotional films. Quinby to Underwood regarding his resignation.

Other correspondence: Simonton to media, friends, etc.; with Bath-O-Lett company; to former DQ passengers regarding Underwood resignation; to Georgian Bay Lines about helping reorganize the company. Quinby to people in Washington, DC, regarding bridge legislation; to Perry-Brown regarding promotion, 1962 cruise brochure.

Sept. 1961:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby regarding "Showboat of Progress" promotion scheme, his itinerary. To Greene (two letters) regarding "Showboat of Progress" and other PR scheme, GLS indebtedness, DQ books, records, and brochures, Captain Wagner agrees to work for GLS in 1962. Other correspondence with friends, family, media, others.

Oct. 1961:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby (three letters) regarding calliope recording, Georgian Bay Lines, framed painting reproducions for gift store; to Greene regarding framed painting reproductions, travel agencies. Other correspondence with media, Georgian Bay Lines, travel agents.

Nov. 1961:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby regarding itinerary; to Greene (two letters) regarding pullman-type bathrooms for DQ, finances, personnel; to Georgian Bay Lines.

Dec. 1961:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby regarding Simonton ancestors in Florida, his first car accident; to friends.

Perry-Brown to Greene regarding PR.

Docs: Financial statements.

News Clippings: Full-page spread in New York World-Telegram.


Correspondence: Simonton to Mr. Phillips of Calcutta, regarding film about Mississippi River and DQ.

Docs: Press release: "Oak Allee Remains: But Spot [the dog] is Gone."

News Clippings: Steamboat Bill, "Low Bridge Squeeze" regarding bridge legislation.

Summary: In April Greene Line Steamers hired Betty Blake to handle promotion. She formerly worked for the Avalon [Belle of Louisville] selling passage and charter cruises. Because of her full-time attention to PR matters, she was able to increase media coverage of the Delta Queen four-fold. She also attended an ASTA convention in Las Vegas to increase travel agents' interest.

After hiring Blake to organize an internal PR department, Perry-Brown publicity was fired. They continued as advertising agents only. The Jack Douglas Organization filmed a TV show about the Delta Queen. Letha Greene questioned the film crew's free passage, apparently not clear that the trip was to be comped.

Former Avalon captain Ernest Wagner becomes captain of the Delta Queen. He replaced Paul Underwood, who quit the previous year. Jefferson County, where Louisville, Kentucky is located, purchased the Avalon at an auction and renamed her the Belle of Louisville.

At the end of the year, Simonton brought some of his neighbors from Beverly Hills and Toluca Lake for a ride. They took the final five-day journey from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh where the boat went into drydock.

Read the highlights for this year or skip to 1963

Jan. 1962:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby (three letters) regarding his ancestors in Florida, his itinerary, QFD, annual meeting, recent PR mentioning Quinby as DQ owner; to Greene requesting more brochures, framed painting reproductions, his itinerary; to Perry-Brown regarding his itinerary; to other friends, acquaintances; to lawyer Hoover declining purchase of the Avalon [Belle of Louisville]; to Doc Hawley regarding employment; to Old Island Restoration Foundation regarding his ancestors in Florida.

Feb. 1962:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby regarding his ancestors, Time article, his itinerary; to friends; to Georgian Georgian Bay Lines.

Docs: Steam Vessel Survey.

March 1962:

Correspondence: Dorothy Simonton to Greene requesting props for a women's club presentation. Greene to Simonton regarding finances, Betty Blake joining GLS in April.

News Clippings: General articles from local papers.

April 1962:

Correspondence: Quinby to Simonton regarding Avalon [Belle of Louisville] steamboat. Simonton to Quinby enclosing termination notice for Perry-Brown; to Greene (two letters) regarding finances, 10 percent rate increase in 1963, termination of Perry-Brown, misc. PR; to Perry-Brown regarding change in relationship. Greene to Simonton regarding 1963 schedule. Perry-Brown to Greene enclosing news clippings; to Quinby enclosing news clippings.

Docs: Perry-Brown Advertising Schedule, press release on cruise availability.

News Clippings: Clippings about Blake joining GLS; numerous general articles; poster: "Wanted Steamboat Willie" with picture of Quinby and article in Courier Journal Magazine.

May 1962:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby (five letters) regarding Perry-Brown and current PR situation, Blake, Eifert books, recent PR, Avalon steamboat calliope, British man's drawing of steamboat, drawing enclosed. Quinby to Simonton (two letters) regarding British steamboat drawing, Avalon auction (with enclosures). Simonton to Greene (two letters) regarding DQ film, Perry-Brown, recent PR, Avalon auction, reimbursement for annual meeting. Greene to Simonton regarding Blake, Perry-Brown ("I am in favor of paying them for one month's notice and forget the time to June 30, as he mentioned in his letter. He certainly is not doing $1,800 worth of good to Greene Line over that period of time, and I do not think we are obligated.")

Other correspondence: Simonton with friends, acquaintances, media, British man regarding his paddlewheeler. Perry-Brown to Greene (two letters) regarding recent PR.

Docs: Press releases on Blake.

News Clippings: The Washington Post, "A Letter from the Mississippi," mentions in newsletters.

June 1962:

Docs: Letter and press release to travel agents; balance sheet.

News Clippings: Calliope newsletter (various clippings); various photo/caption stories; other stories.

July 1962:

Correspondence: Letter from disgruntled passenger.

News Clippings: Chicago Tribune, "Paddlewheel Trip to Kentucky Lake," by Blake.

Aug. 1962:

Correspondence: Simonton to Greene (two letters) regarding Delta King, 1963 brochure, DQ films, Gordon C Greene wheel. Perry-Brown to Quinby regarding Eifert's manuscript, promotion for Chattanooga cruise, other advertising.

News Clippings: Photo stories on DQ, Doc Hawley; story about Quinby/railroads.

Docs: Press release on Kentucky Lake cruise; balance sheet.

Sept. 1962:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby regarding Delta King; to Greene (two letters) regarding drydock, Delta King, personnel, ticketing friends; to Blake (two letters) regarding DQ documentary. Blake with Justin Byers regarding DQ documentary; to Chicago Tribune; to Simonton, Quinby regarding PR. Simonton to acquaintances regarding the Delta King; to DQ personnel regarding ticketing friends.

News Clippings: Various stories in small papers with photos; Calliope newsletter with clippings.

Docs: Balance sheet; DQ schedule.

Oct. 1962:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby (three letters) regarding Delta King, other steamboats, DQ drydock, possible PR, other riverboat films, his itinerary. Quinby to friends regarding enclosed article by William Faulkner, "Mississippi." Simonton to Greene regarding Jack Douglas show, his itinerary, neighbors' DQ itinerary. Blake to Simonton, Quinby, Greene regarding Byers filming, press release materials, Popular Mechanics reprints, summary of PR contacts and resulting coverage; to potential charter customer. Simonton to Railway Historical Society with poster; DQ hostess regarding his neighbors' DQ trip.

News Clippings: St. Louis Globe-Democrat Sunday magazine, "Going Places the Slow Way"; Minneapolis Tribune Sunday magazine, "Last Sternwheeler Visits Minnesota."

Docs: Balance sheet; press release on filming aboard DQ.

Nov. 1962:

Correspondence: Greene to Simonton regarding fees to Jack Douglas TV crew. Blake to media; Muster to Minneapolis Tribune.

News Clippings: Various articles about DQ drydock; two about Simonton's neighbors on DQ; ASTA Travel News article by Blake on DQ.

Docs: Balance sheet; press release about the DQ in drydock; advertising program.

Dec. 1962:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby (two letters) regarding his travels, organs, etc.; to Greene regarding drydock ("hearing the inspector say that the hull was good for another 25 years was encouraging."), Jack Douglas costs, his daughter working for GLS, 1963 brochure; to Perry-Brown thanking him for Christmas gift; with acquaintances and friends; with Jack Douglas regarding rights and copies of the film. Blake to Jack Douglas regarding broadcast times.

Docs: Financial statement, balance sheet; press release to The Record magazine about DQ using Cutler Hammer equipment.


Docs: Cover letter, DQ fact sheet, list of promotional materials.

News Clippings: Cincinnati Post, article by Jack Simcox.