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: The Delta Queen won the annual steamboat race by several miles when the Belle of Louisville's new boilers failed to work properly. Simonton, Quinby, and Greene decided not to race again because of the poor attitude of the losers. By the end of the year, however, Quinby and Simonton decided to try to convince Greene to go along with it if St. Louis officials would agree to certain concessions.

Simonton was not able to participate as much in Greene Line Steamers management, due to two surgeries during the winter. Although he kept up regular correspondence as before, more of the management shifted over to Blake, Quinby, and Greene.

Simonton arranged to purchased engine parts from the Delta King in 1964, but by the end of 1965 the deal remained unfinished, with the parts in California.

The Shriners group could not carry through with their contract for scheduling a charter. By the end of the year, GLS initiated legal action to realize part of their loss.

Mary Greene, Letha's daughter, became a Jehovaha's Witness and tried to promote her evangelical beliefs while working on the Delta Queen.

Much of Simonton's correspondence speaks of theater organs, his operations, his family and friends, and his travels. He inherited a vintage Rolls Royce from a deceased friend and Quinby also bought one. There was also talk about building a second steamboat to handle charter cruises. The letters mention various newspaper and magazine articles. However, these have been lost and are not included in the documents.

Read the highlights for this year or skip to 1966


Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby regarding GLS 75th anniversary calendar; to Greene regarding Delta King parts; to Blake regarding Universal Pictures short subject film, other PR.

Docs: Balance sheet.


Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby regarding publicity, annual meeting; to Greene (two letters) regarding her daughter's wedding, advertising, Delta King parts, annual meeting, his itinerary, DQ films; to Blake (two letters) regarding proposed fuel tax, Senator Magnuson, other Washington contacts, his itinerary, DQ press kit, art show; to friends regarding PR, his itinerary. Blake to Fred Way enclosing press kit, regarding 75th anniversary art show on DQ.

News Clippings: Sunday magazine cover story, "The Delta Queen, 75th Anniversary of a River Tradition."

Docs: Balance sheet.

March 1965:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby regarding his itinerary to visit Key West.

Docs: Balance sheet; financial.

April 1965:

Correspondence: Simonton to Greene (three letters) regarding steamboat race, Delta King parts, DQ darkroom, his itinerary, Mississippi flood, steamboat race (DQ wins). Greene to Simonton regarding Delta King parts, darkroom. Simonton to Blake regarding Shriner cruise, DQ films, steamboat race; to Waterways Journal regarding steamboat race, Cairo incident, annual meeting, building a second boat ("We have exhausted the possibilities of converting existing boats to our requirements, and no boats exist which would meet the stringent requirements and still qualify for the federal subsidy."); to Hoover regarding construction of second boat; to acquaintances; to Fulton Shipyards regarding Delta King parts. St. Louis shipyard to Simonton regarding construction of steamboat. CPA firm to Greene regarding financial, taxes.

News Clippings: Calliope newsletter with various clippings; numerous articles on steamboat race, including one Sunday magazine cover story, one full page.

Docs: Balance sheet; Steamboat Times, poster, greeting card.

May 1965:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby (three letters) regarding steamboat race, Waterways Journal editor Donald Wright ("He seems to think we owe him a great debt for something or other, and I'm puzzled about it."), DQ jigsaw puzzle, St. Louis Shipyard and building new boat; to Greene regarding steamboat race ("The thing that disturbs me most is the lack of sportsmanship which is so evident, and it ceases to be fun under these circumstances."); to Waterways Journal regarding steamboat race, St. Louis shipyards. Fred Way to Blake (two letters) regarding photos, recordings.

News Clippings: Several articles on steamboat race.

Docs: Balance sheet.

June 1965:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby regarding tuning of calliope, his itinerary; to Greene regarding boat physician; to Waterways Journal regarding his itinerary; to GLS personnel regarding ticketing friends, his arrival, boat physician.

Docs: Balance sheet.

July 1965:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby regarding possible Tennessee River towing venture, his DQ cruise, DQ bookings and financial position, new boat construction ("Imagine the tremendous publicity we can get by having the first modern riverboat built in 25 or 30 years or even longer, one which can probably contain a swimming pool and all of the modern facilities found in a first class hotel ashore."), personnel; to Matson Navigation Company about building new boat.

News Clippings: Cover story, "Rendezvous with a Riverboat," Cincinnati Alumnus.

Docs: Balance sheet; "welcome aboard" greeting card.

Aug. 1965:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby (three letters) regarding tuning calliope, other calliopes, old riverboat films, his itinerary, second surgery, Matson Line and unions; to Greene (two letters) regarding friends coming to DQ, management, PR; to Waterways Journal recapping his travels on DQ; to Blake regarding calliope recording, Shriner charter cruise, river widths and bridge heights, Back Porch Majority album. Blake to Simonton regarding Shriner charter, other PR, Back Porch Majority album, SATW convention.

Docs: Balance sheet.

Sept. 1965:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby (four letters) on steamboat films, DQ waltz song, management, recent PR, new boat, to friends regarding new boat, steamboat race, Rhine River steamboats, management.

News Clippings: Dallas Morning News, 200 SATW members cruise over night on DQ; Calliope newsletter, various clippings; Island Tug and Barge Ltd. ad with story of Delta King.

Docs: Balance sheet.

Oct. 1965:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby (five letters) regarding riverboat film, second boat, Mary Greene ("Several passengers. . . tipped me off as to the sort of thing which happens every afternoon on deck when Mary comes around with her books and pamphlets and starts in on her missionary crusade."), Shriner cruise ("The Shrine group got themselves into a lot of trouble with one of the travel agents who really sabotaged the whole deal in a deliberate attempt, and it is too bad for all concerned, but I don't intend that we should be the victims, at least not without a struggle."), lecture by Commander GF MacMullen on "California's Inland Fleet."

Simonton to Greene (four letters) regarding Shriners cruise, Blake's promotion award, cub pilots certificate, PR, Back Porch Majority record, financial statements, taxes, MacMullen lecture.

Misc.: Simonton to Blake regarding Shriners group; to DQ head waiter and Captain Wagner thanking them for helping his mother; to Fred Way regarding MacMullen lecture; to acquaintance regarding ship builders; to Stoll regarding MacMullen lecture, steamboat race.

News Clippings: Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Delta Queen Rides the Wave of Prosperity."

Docs: Balance sheet; manuscript: MacMullen lecture notes: "California's Inland Fleet"; advertising program.


Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby.

News Clippings: Cover story, Mid-South Sunday magazine, "The Lower Mississippi."

Docs: Balance sheet.

Dec. 1965:

Correspondence: Blake to Shriners regarding broken contract.

Docs: Shriner contract; corporate papers.

Docs: Shriners' brochure; deck plan; advertising and promotion packet; misc.

Summary: In May, the Safety at Sea Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives and came before the Senate. The Act, if passed by both branches, would force the Delta Queen out of operation. After consulting with lawyer William Kohler, Simonton, Muster, and Quinby traveled to Washington, DC, to try to save their boat. As chairman of the board of Greene Line Steamers, Quinby testified before the Senate.

Quinby successfully persuaded legislators to add an amendment to the bill granting the Delta Queen a two-year delay in enactment. The company promised to either bring the Delta Queen up to modern construction standards or build a new boat to replace her.

Muster conducted a financial analysis, consulting with the accountant and CPA firm, to study the feasibility of building a new boat. One proposal was to completely rebuild the Delta Queen to comply with the Safety at Sea Law. Thus preliminary steps were taken to finance and build a new boat.

MISC.: During the last months of the year, Greene Line Steamers confronted other stipulations of the Safety at Sea law involving insurance and safety disclosure requirements.

In September, Simonton, Muster, Quinby, and others announced plans to build a new boat at the annual meeting of the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen, at Marietta, Ohio. After the meeting they held a slide show aboard the Delta Queen.

In October, GLS was invited to attend the Seven Seas Revue, an event, held in Seattle, Washington, as part of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) World Travel Congress. Blake and Quinby shipped a steam calliope to the exhibition and attended in period costume to promote the Delta Queen among travel agents.

Read the highlights for this year or skip to 1967

Jan. 1966:

Correspondence: Simonton to Greene (six letters) regarding Mary Greene's resignation, finances, layup improvements, his itinerary, deck chairs and furniture, Delta King parts, boat physician, personal taxes, publicity, new boat, personnel, advertising, DQ organ.

Feb. 1966:

Correspondence: Simonton to Quinby regarding fuel tax legislation, senators, new boat, old steamboat engines; to Greene regarding DQ remodeling, fuel tax legislation, new boat.

March 1966:

Correspondence: Simonton to Greene regarding his itinerary, bank loan. Fred Way to Simonton regarding old steamboats, building new boat.

News Clippings: Calliope newsletter, including various clippings.

Documents: D & B report on GLS; proposal to build new boat; report on the Yarmouth Castle fire; promotional materials for Second Annual Invitational Art Show.

April 1966:

Correspondence: Simonton to Greene regarding Bill Muster ("Bill is a whiz at this sort of thing and works much faster at it than I do, so I feel that we will gain time by having Bill dig out the necessary facts and figures to see if it all adds up."), insurance, 1966 brochures.

News Clippings: Friends, Chevrolet ad.

Save DQ: Testimony by EJ Quinby (draft).

May 1966:

Correspondence: Simonton to Greene (two letters) regarding Bill Kohler, Washington, DC, hearings, Rhododendron engines, lawyer fees, Muster. Greene to Simonton regarding accountants, misc.

Quinby to Simonton regarding steamboat engines, Annual Whistle Blow ("More than 36 whistles from famous steamboats of the past were connected up to the factory steam line, and one after the other adjusted, voiced and sounded for posterity."). Quinby to boat store regarding old steamboat engines and parts. Quinby report on Rhododendron and other old steamboats in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Save DQ: "Washington Report," a summary of activities in Washington pertaining to the Senate subcommittee on Merchant Marine printed in the Steamboat Times, IMCO Report about Safety at Sea; letter from William Kohler to Simonton.

News Clippings: New York Times,"Stricter Fire Rules at Sea Predicted."

June 1966:

Correspondence: Quinby to Simonton (two letters) regarding old steamboats, sonar equipment. Letter, corporate meeting agenda, and notes regarding Muster's financial analysis. Letter regarding Cincinnati riverfront project. Marketing research proposal.

News Clippings: Calliope, including various clippings; New York Times, "Senate Unit Sets Ship Law Inquiry"; one on steamboat race; one on Doc Hawley.

Save DQ: Statement by Quinby; joint statement by Quinby and Goebel (Georgian Bay Lines) before Subcommittee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries (Safety at Sea Act).

July 1966:

Correspondence: Regarding purchasing Showboat Rhododendron, marketing research proposal, financial projections, to media; meeting agenda; upcoming ASTA convention, misc.

Aug. 1966:

Correspondence: Regarding building new boat; bridge clearances, river depths; ASTA presentation; passenger residency tabulations. Meeting notes regarding Safety at Sea Act, Cincinnati riverfront, DQ operations. Request for quotations for Showboat Rhododendron.

News Clippings: Calliope, including various articles; Cincinnati Post, article on proposed GLS wharfboat; London Daily Telegraph, article on Cincinnati/DQ.

Sept. 1966:

Correspondence: Regarding shipping calliope to ASTA convention, layup at Avondale Shipyards, new boat, federal ship mortgage and loan insurance, advertising, finances, resignation letter, misc.; advertising schedule.

News Clippings: Calliope, including various news clippings; "It shouldn't, But it Does: And How!" color feature article; article on Hanseatic fire; "Steamboat Business on Upswing" and other article on DQ new boat renovation; Waterways Journal, article on Sons and Daughters presentation; other articles on GLS proposals.

Oct. 1966:

Correspondence: Regarding financing, Seven Seas Revue, personnel, redesign brochure and ticket, loan information, misc. operations.

Docs: Safety at Sea House Conference Report; D & B Report on GLS; layup information; press release regarding available space.

News Clippings: Calliope, including various news clippings; assorted clippings on ASTA convention; Stockton Record, "Delta King Sale Delayed."

Nov. 1966:

Correspondence: Regarding layup repairs, USCG, Federal Maritime Commission, HR 10327, legal technicalities, federal ship mortgage insurance, new boat, 1967 brochure and tickets,

Docs: PL 89-777, HR 10327 (public notification and financial responsibility acts).

News Clippings: One article on Delta King.

Dec. 1966:

Correspondence: To Senate regarding PL 89-777; regarding new boat, fuel, publicity, ASTA, stock transfer, operations and management.

Docs: GLS reply to PL 89-777; application for ship mortgage.

News Clippings: Several about postponed steamboat race; Blake on "To Tell the Truth" TV show; several articles on how the Safety at Sea Law affects DQ, including Cincinnati Enquirer; Dutch article.

Docs: Drawing and deck plan, "The New Delta Queen"; passenger comment sheets; memo regarding Cincinnati riverfront; press release, "What Every Travel Agent should Know About Booking a Steamboat"; DQ schedules; memo on GLS phone lines; reservation form; legal disclaimer for passenger safety requirement; notes on feasibility study; balance sheet; river depths, widths, bridge clearance.

Save DQ: GLS statement and cover letter to senators regarding Safety at Sea requirements, with mailing list; legal explanation of safety disclosure requirements.

News Clippings: Articles on Safety at Sea Law, "Mail Station for Delta Queen"; clipping on Princess Louise in Los Angeles.