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: Muster became involved in dealings with Washington, DC, lawyers and government agencies. The Safety at Sea Act (PL 89-777) included various clauses defining safety disclosure and financial responsibility requirements. The law required ships to disclose safety hazards to potential customers and keep adequate funds on hand to prove financial responsibility in case of any emergency.

Thus Greene Line Steamers worked to comply with these requirements. Safety information was added to the Delta Queen reservation confirmation and boarding pass. To comply with the financial responsibility requirements, a surety bond and escrow agreement were established in May.

Negotiations were carried on with government agencies like the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), and the Maritime Commission. GLS worked closely with lawyers and groups like the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Georgian Bay Lines, and the Committee of American Steamship Lines.

At the same time, GLS laid plans to build a new boat and began contacting architects and consultants for estimates and advice. GLS's lawyers began lobbying for legislation that would make the Delta Queen eligible for a federally guaranteed loan. Legislation was finally passed that would help GLS get the loan.

In September, legislation for construction aid was introduced in the House of Representatives. Numerous congressmen and senators corresponded with Muster, Kohler, and Simonton in this regard.

The media and many legislators responded favorably to the Delta Queen and a bill was passed and signed by the president at the end of the year. Thus GLS became eligible for a government-insured loan to finance a new boat.

By the middle of the year, Muster became more involved in basic business and personnel operations at GLS. Muster and Simonton invested money in the business and acquired additional stock.

During winter layup, the Delta Queen received major repairs and improvements. The boat's two-year delay in enactment was due to expire the following November. With only one year to go, GLS officials doubted whether a new boat would be built or the Delta Queen would be altered to comply with the requirements of PL 89-777. Therefore plans were laid to lobby the government for another delay.

Read the highlights for this year or skip to 1968

Jan. 1967:

Correspondence: With lawyers, government agencies regarding passenger safety and financial responsibility clauses in PL 89-777; misc. operations; with naval architects on proposed steamboat.

Docs: Comments by Georgian Bay Lines regarding PL 89-777; legal documents concerning applicability of safety clauses in PL 89-777; auditor's report; other financial; passenger contract.

News Clippings: Louisville Times, Captain Underwood quits Belle of Louisville; DQ advertisement.

Feb. 1967:

Correspondence: Official letter regarding GLS position on PL 89-777; regarding safety disclosure regulations in PL 89-777; regarding shakedown cruise and art show; regarding old steamboats; misc. operations.

Docs: Proposed PL 89-777 rules; Congressional Record regarding water resource development; Proposed Rule Making, "Disclosure of Safety Standards of Passenger Vessels."

News Clippings: Modern Bride, "Travel Talk"; Cincinnati Enquirer travel article.

March 1967:

Correspondence: With lawyers, government agencies regarding PL 89-777; with lawyers regarding ship mortgage insurance; with naval architects, builders, and lawyers on new steamboat; with printers, etc., regarding travel folder.

Docs: Proposed Rule Making, Disclosure of Safety Standards; art show invitation; comments on PL 89-777 by the Committee of American Steamship Lines.

News Clippings: Several on proposed wharfboat and new boat with line drawing; several travel stories; "The Romance of the River," editor's column about postponed steamboat race and new boat; several on Cincinnati riverfront project; Blake "People" column.

April 1967:

Correspondence: Regarding PL 89-777; misc. operations; Muster and Greene; with architects regarding new boat; with lawyers regarding escrow account.

Docs: USCG press release regarding safety disclosure; corporate resolution regarding purpose of GLS.

News Clippings: Cincinnati Enquirer, Women's Club on DQ, Fashion show on DQ; Blake "People" columns including the Chicago Tribune; Waterways Journal, new boat; Holiday magazine on Deep South travel and DQ.

May 1967:

Correspondence: New boat; escrow matter; promotion; misc. operations.

Docs: Legal information on escrow and surety accounts; escrow agreement.

News Clippings: Cincinnati riverfront project; travel articles, including one in the Chicago Tribune (parts one and two, of three); Cincinnati Enquirer, "New U.S. Law Governs Safety Regulations on Cruise Ships."

June 1967:

Correspondence: New boat (steam; stern or sidewheeler?); convention folder; operations; insurance.

Docs: Federal Maritime Commission Certificate of Financial Responsibility for PL 89-777 requirements; Extended Management Meeting Minutes; Cincinnati landing space assignment; DQ company profile (memo by Blake); statement to introduce legislation for financing (attached to 6/14/67 letter Kohler to Muster).

News Clippings: Articles from Nashville and Clarksville visits; Calliope newsletter with various clippings.

July 1967:

Correspondence: New boat; operations; Rhine boats.

Docs: DQ photography contest announcement; DQ ticket with safety information added; insurance policies.

News Clippings: Sunday magazine color article, "Nostalgia on the River."

Aug. 1967:

Correspondence: Regarding DQ retirement, safety disclosure requirements, vessel financing, other legislation; operations; 1968 steamboat race; new boat.

Docs: HR 12235, S 2211 (regarding construction aid); press release from Rep. Murphy regarding safety disclosure requirements;

News Clippings: "Hanseatic Fire," USCG magazine.

Sept. 1967:

Misc.: Correspondence regarding DQ operations; new boat; government financing legislation; First Lady Johnson visits Quincy, Illinois; letter and press release to ASTA regarding available space/cruise schedule; Cincinnati riverfront.

Save DQ: Documents regarding Ship Mortgage Insurance; HRs concerning DQ, HR 13053; correspondence with congressmen on federal ship mortgage act.

News Clippings: Waterways Journal, Cincinnati convention; Marietta Daily Times, Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen gathering (including Quinby); Dinkerama magazine, "Her Majesty the Delta Queen," another profile article; steamboat race set.

Oct. 1967:

Correspondence: DQ operations; management (bonuses, job descriptions, management structure, etc.); corporate resolutions regarding stock.

Save DQ: (Federal Ship Mortgage) Subcommittee report: "Ship Mortgage Insurance"; Hearings on S 2211, S 2247; HR 13369; press release, "House and Senate Committees Hear Plea to Save the Delta Queen"; statement by Muster on S 2211; statement by Sen. Bartlett on S 2247 and S 2211; statement by Maritime Administration on S 2247; statement by Dravo Corporation on misc. House resolutions; Senate hearings; press release, "Reps Taft and Clancy Steam to Delta Queen Rescue; letters to Garmatz regarding pending legislation; correspondence with legislators.

News Clippings: Cincinnati Enquirer editorial favoring proposed legislation for DQ; Waterways Journal on hearings; Congressional Record, remarks of Rep. Taft; other articles about pending legislation and plans to build new boat; Cincinnati Historical Society Bulletin, editorial on importance of DQ; New York Newsday, travel story; Cincinnati riverfront.

Nov. 1967:

Correspondence: Bookkeeping; reservations; promotion;operations; layup information; Steamboat Times, river stories; press release regarding 1968 schedule; ship mortgage application; letter urging fight to save DQ.

Congressional: Reports on Ship Mortgage Insurance; Congressional Record, remarks on construction aid; correspondence with legislators thanking for support; letter to paint companies regarding flame resistant materials.

News Clippings: Misc. articles on legislation affecting DQ; drydock; Travel magazine and misc. others on DQ last season; new boat; plug in Travel Facts newsletter; Calliope newsletter including various clippings.

Dec. 1967:

Correspondence: Auditor's report; layup; correspondence: misc., DQ not for sale, flame retardant paint (replies); press release regarding last steamboat race (1968); insurance.

Congressional: Documents: PL 90-183 (construction aid); congressional correspondence and Christmas greetings.

News Clippings: Waterways Journal, "President Signs Measure to Aid Greene Line"; articles on DQ retirement; Beatty restaurants in Cincinnati; new boat.


Correspondence: Marketing program; schedules and fares; operations.

Save DQ: Action to save DQ; misc. congressional information; safety information.

News Clippings: Ads; travel stories; Cincinnati flood wall; Cincinnati magazine, "New Steamboat 'Round the Bend"; Budget Travel, "Ambling Down the Mississippi."

Summary: The original exemption from the Safety at Sea Act was due to expire in November, and plans for a new vessel were delayed and proceeding slowly. Hoping for more time to comply with the law or build a new vessel, the Greene Line Steamer executives began to lobby for another two-year exemption.

In January and February, Muster wrote numerous letters to legislators asking for complete exemption or at least a two year reprieve. In March, bills were introduced in both the Senate (S 3102-Sen. Bartlett) and the House of Representatives (HR 15714-Rep. Sullivan) asking for an operating extension of two years. Other bills in the House were HR 15950 and HR 15580.

The senate passed S 3102 and it went to the House in April; HR 15714 was passed by the House, then the Senate. In July, President Johnson signed HR 15714 into law (PL 90-435).

Plans to build a new boat were accelerated by PL 90-183, which made Greene Line Steamers eligible to apply for up to 87-1/2 percent financing. Other bills called for further financial assistance. Plans for the new boat were approved by MARAD and the US Coast Guard in March. In May GLS asked for bids for the construction.

MISC.: Bill Muster became president in April, Betty Blake vice-president in late 1967 - early 68. The old wharf boat sold in April. Further negotiations with City of Cincinnati for mooring space during stadium construction. Delta Queen joined the dedication ceremony at the newly-completed St. Louis arch. British writer and witch Sybil Leek initiated a scandal and cursed the boat during the early part of the season.

Read the highlights for this year or skip to 1969

Jan. 1968:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding liquor license, unions, insurance; press release announcing DQ's last season unless Congress grants an extension.

Congress: Two letters sent to legislators requesting assistance; list of congressmen and senators, other correspondence.

News Clippings: New York Times, Delta Queen asks Reprieve to Operate Beyond Nov. 1"; other "reprieve" articles; photo/caption on painting of paddlewheel; Weekly Underwriter, regarding future of DQ; book review on unrelated novel about steamboats.

Feb. 1968:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding insurance, employee/ union, DQ not for sale; union agreement.

Congress: Correspondence (to favorable congressmen: "Thank you for your letter. We are pleased that you want to help us get an extension or a reprieve for the Delta Queen"); recap of events in building new DQ; Steamboat Times article, "Save the Queen"; HR 15580 ("To postpone for two years"); S 3017 ("To change the provision with respect to the maximum rate of interest permitted on loans and mortgages").

News Clippings: Chicago Tribune and other articles on "Queen in Peril," "Queen Seeks Nautical Amnesty," "Tapps for the Queen," etc.

March 1968:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding sale of wharf boat, Public Health Department inspection, financial, DQ not for sale, stockholders meeting.

Congress/media: Correspondence ("I understand that two bills have now been introduced. . . We feel it is a worthwhile cause and your support is very welcome."); list of Commerce Committee members; letter to ICC; S 3102, HR 15714.

News Clippings: S & D Reflector, various photos of DQ; travel stories; Delta King photo/caption; Tijuana Brass on DQ; Delta King on cover of Stockton Record Sunday magazine.

April 1968:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding Sybil Leek, Discover America, Muster elected president of GLS, Maritime Administration, Beatty collision; wharf boat sale contract; press release on steamboat race; D & B report on The Centurion Corporation.

Congress: Correspondence (to Sen. Bartlett: "The Delta Queen sends you three long whistle salutes for your generous efforts in keeping her a vacation steamboat until 1970."); press release ("Senate passed a bill to exempt the sternwheel riverboat Delta Queen. . . [the bill] now goes to the House"); documents: HR 3017 ("To change the provision with respect to the maximum rate of interest permitted"), S 3102, report on S 3102 ("To postpone for two years the date"); two Senate Reports by Bartlett to accompany S 3102; Congressional Report, "Safety Standards on Inland Rivers and Waterways."

News Clippings: Pitt Boating, cover photo of DQ and editorial, "A Lady in Distress"; other "in distress" stories; steamboat race; Tijuana Brass; travel stories; Calliope newsletter with various clippings; stories on Beatty barges and restaurant.

May 1968:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding unions, insurance, valuation survey (US Salvage Association); request for new boat construction bids; wharfboat sale.

Congress: Correspondence; Congressional Record Sullivan reads New York Times article; HR 14796 ("the maximum rate of interest permitted on loans and mortgages").

News Clippings: DQ last trip stories; cover photo on The Harmonizer; The Weekly Underwriter, cover photo; stories on Sullivan; Waterways Journal and others on steamboat race (DQ wins); travel stories; "Not for sale" photo/caption; Vogue magazine; promotional poster; editorial "We Cannot Afford to Lose Her."

June 1968:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding Cincinnati landing, unions, management, escrow mortgage; D & B report on Holiday Inns of America, Inc.; St. Louis reception: correspondence, press release, invitation to Sullivan; press release on St. Louis visit.

Congress: Correspondence; documents: Muster testimony; Muster statement and discussion in Merchant Marnine Committee; House Reports by Garmatz to accompany HR 15714; HR 15714 ("To extend. . . the period for compliance with certain safety standards").

News Clippings: Waterways Journal on new propulsion system; cover of Sunday magazine; Holiday Inn magazine, "Riverboat Days"; New York Times on new boat; other general articles.

July 1968:

Misc.: Correspondence, misc., Cincinnati riverfront, and insurance documents.

Congress: Correspondence (To legislators: "We recognize the faith and confidence demonstrated by the Congress and we intend to fulfill your expectations for a continued and successful river passenger service."); PL 90-435; Congressional Record discussion about DQ; Congressional Record, "Extending Operating Life of Certain Inland Vessels."

News Clippings: Chicago Tribune travel article; articles on Cincinnati riverfront; DQ reprieve stories; Cincinnati riverfront articles; cover photo on Sunday magazine; Look magazine on DQ reprieve.

Aug. 1968:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding manning requirements, repairs; Cincinnati and St. Louis riverfront; Port Allen Marine Service court case; D & B on JJ Robinson and Company, Inc.

Congress: Correspondence; list of pending legislation through Congressional recess.

News Clippings: Several articles on DQ reprieve; travel story in Wayfarers Club newsletter; story on St. Louis in Holiday Inn magazine.

Sept. 1968:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding Cincinnati Historical Society cruise, DQ not for sale, Congress, layup, Memphis Mint Julip party (Oct. 1); press release regarding Memphis sailing.

News Clippings: Travel stories; DQ reprieve stories; Seagram executives on DQ.

Oct. 1968:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding financial, birth certificates, layup, construction bid addendum, Congress; D & B report on Holiday Inns of America, Inc.; document: HR 13368 ("to provide construction aid to certain vessels").

News Clippings: Sunday magazine, special issue on Ohio Valley.

Nov. 1968:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding layup, insurance, press releases about 1969 season; 1969 brochure copy; D & B report on the Centurion Corporation.

Save DQ: Correspondence regarding construction aid legislation going through House, layup repairs and hull inspection.

News Clippings: Travel stories.

Dec. 1968:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding layup, financial; construction proposals; Congress; D & B report on Centurion Corporation; auditor's report.

News Clippings: New York Times, "High Costs Trim Elegance"; other stories on trashed steamboat plans; magazine travel story.


Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding layup, corporate papers, financial information, list of people interested in buying DQ; proposal for merger of DQ and Holiday Inns; deck plans; marketing program; "History of the DQ."

Save DQ Outline of program to get legislation; list of House bills, letter to president, Muster speech, letter to Garmatz; Murphy testimony.

Mortgage Application and correspondence.

Summary: After layup repairs in December, the early part of 1969 was spent dealing with management problems and equipment failures. GLS disputed layup charges from Port Allen Shipyards.

Bids for a new boat exceed the resources of GLS, ranging between $8 - 10 million. In February, the Coast Guard agreed to allow less expensive fire proofing materials, but even this would reduce the cost of building a new boat by only several hundred thousand dollars.

Muster noted that the logical solution was to sell the boat to a sympathetic party. In May, he notified Congress that he had an offer to sell to Sacramento tourist operation. This evoked the sentiments of Leonore Sullivan (the boat's main congressional proponent), and she tried to help find a buyer who could keep the boat on the Mississippi.

Also in May, final negotiations to sell the boat to Overseas National Airways (ONA) began. ONA president Stedman Hinkley agreed to build the new boat and operate both boats on the Mississippi. Muster issued a letter to Congress about the pending sale to ONA. The letter pleaded for further extensions, considering the setbacks and unexpected high cost of building the new boat.

After receiving the letter, Sullivan declined to introduce further legislation. But in October, another congressman, Rep. Corbett, introduced HR 14002, meant to extend the life of the Delta Queen two years beyond the present deadline (Nov, 1970).

In December, the boat completed its season and went into layup for further repairs and hull inspections.

MISC.: Passengers on a July Kentucky Lake cruise demanded refunds when air conditioning failed. The ship's entertainers submitted their resignations after having to tolerate abuses of angry passengers.

In February, the Coast Guard tried to force GLS to go through costly drydock inspections midway through the season. Muster persuaded them to postpone such requirements (May correspondence).

Muster closed the sale with ONA in November and also announced his desire to resign after one year.

Read the highlights for this year or skip to 1970

Jan. 1969:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding Wurlitzer organ sale, equipment, operations, press release on Mardi Gras cruise, layup invoice, Cincinnati and St. Louis landing, congressional correspondence; D & B report on J.J. Robinson and Company; union agreement.

News Clippings: Calliope newsletter including various articles; ads; misc.

Feb. 1969:

Misc.: Correspondence with Sybil Leek, DQ not for sale, USCG, equipment, layup invoices and receipts; insurance documents.

News Clippings: St. Louis levee, "Executive Know-how" (on Muster); other "DQ is saved" articles.

March 1969:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding layup invoice and dispute, insurance claims, DQ not for sale, operations, wharf boat repairs, sale of DQ to Sacramento buyer; D & B report on Holiday Inns of America, Inc.

News Clippings: For Your Information magazine, cover photo; travel stories; DQ back to California; cover photo Sunday magazine with story, "A Boy's Dream."

April 1969:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding adjusted layup invoice, estimate to tow DQ to Sacramento, USCG inspection, ICC depreciation rates, personnel, US Salvation Association recommendations, insurance; press release on sixth steamboat race.

News Clippings: Steamboat race (Belle of Louisville wins); magazine article on Blake; promotional poster.

May 1969:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding USCG, postpone drydock, operations, layup receipts, equipment; document offer to sell DQ to Sacramento purchaser.

Sale to ONA: Documents regarding proposed sale of DQ to ONA.

News Clippings: Articles on steamboat race; DQ catches ride with tow boat; article on Captain Zang.

June 1969:

Misc.: Correspondence with ONA, fans, DQ operations; congressional correspondence regarding ONA purchase; US Salvage Association document; Cole organ agreement.

News Clippings: Travel & Camera, travel story; other travel story; photo/caption on boat's VW; USCG on race collision.

July 1969:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding air conditioning failure, layup invoice dispute, repairs, unions, operations, Vic Took resignation, equipment, insurance, supporters' letters to Congress; officers meeting notes mentioning refuse dumping.

News Clippings: Travel articles; nostalgia articles, end of an era, etc.

Aug. 1969:

Misc.: Correspondence with supporters, regarding air conditioner, supporters' letters, repairs, Cincinnati landing, Beatty matter; Hostelry Management lease; press release regarding New Year's party; article; boat itinerary.

Save DQ: Letter to legislators asking for further extension, other correspondence.

ONA Purchase: Documents and correspondence regarding sale of DQ.

News Clippings: German article; Chattanooga: wrong side of river, last visit; Calliope newsletter with various clippings; sale to ONA.

Sept. 1969:

Misc.: Correspondence with Congress, supporters; regarding equipment, supplies, operations, unions, daily engineer report, layup preparation.

News Clippings: Last season; ads; sale to ONA.

Oct. 1969:

Misc.: Correspondence regarding air conditioning, operations, equipment.

Congress: HR 15580, HR 14002 (both bills "To postpone for two years the date"); letter to Merchant Marine Committee (including Garmatz) regarding HR 14002.

ONA Purchase: Correspondence, ONA exemption and purchase documents.

News Clippings: "Queen's Reign Near End," St. Louis Post Dispatch; cover photo, The Electrical Workers' Journal.

Nov. 1969:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding layup preparation, equipment, supplies, ONA purchase; Muster employment agreement.

Congress: Congressional correspondence, negative letters to Muster and Sullivan from Garmatz; letter to congressmen regarding ONA purchase. News Clippings: Travel magazine reprieve newsbrief; Waterways Journal, "Towboat Helps DQ off Lower River Sandbar"; ad; brief mention in Shipping Week.

Dec. 1969:

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding Federal Maritime Commission (financing), supporters' letters, layup, congressional, operations, personnel, financial; correspondence and blueprints regarding hull plate thickness.

News Clippings: Two articles on "last chance" to ride DQ.

Misc.: Correspondence and documents regarding operations; balance sheet, press releases on sale to ONA, layup improvements; Cincinnati wharf agreement; "Help Us Save the DQ " by Muster; NBC news show transcript; ONA annual report; Port Allen Marine Service, Inc. vs DQ (court action).

News Clippings: Cover drawing on The Delta Review magazine; article on legislation affecting DQ.