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Voices on the River, by Dennis Brown
One journalist's interviews with fellow passengers over the course of twenty-two days on the Delta Queen Steamboat.

Hardcover $37.99
Paperback $26.99


The Streckfus Riverboat Dynasty: Jazz and the Big Smoke Canoe
by Arthur L. Smith.
"A thrilling story of the days of excursion riverboat glory on the great Mississippi and Ohio rivers."


Uncharted Currents: My Life Growing Up On Thee Mississippi River, by Jon Kukuk
The book is based on Jon Kukuk's life growing up in the small midwestern town of Dallas City, Illinois. As well as his 2008 musical CD of the same name, Uncharted Currents. It is a work of non-fiction, part auto-biography, part history book, part genealogy reference, and part musical. The book is 292 pages, with more than 200 black and white photographs and illustrations. Each chapter is based on a song on his CD.


Before We Were Yours, a novel by Lisa Wingate.
Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story. hardcover | audiobook | Kindle


Come Hell or High Water: A Lively History of Steamboating on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers

Steamboat to the Shore: A Pictorial History of the Steamboat Era in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Chesapeake Ferries: A Waterborne Tradition, 1636-2000


Wild River, Wooden Boats

Mark Twain Mark Twain books at this shop - click here.

A Treasury Of Mississippi River Folklore: Stories, Ballads and Traditions of the Mid-American River Country, by B.A. Botkin. This is a collection of river lore, described and preserved in this book.
Treasure in a Cornfield: The Discovery & Excavation of the Steamboat Arabia


One Man and the Mighty Mississippi: A Sixty-Year Adventure on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers

A Riverman's Lexicon


Steam: The Untold Story of America's First Great Invention

King and Queen of the River: The Legendary Paddle-Wheel Steamboats Delta King and Delta Queen

A Mississippi Family: The Griffins of Magnolia Terrace, Griffin's Refuge, and Greenville 1800-1950
Sternwheelers and Steam Tugs
Arkansas, 1800-1860: Remote & Restless
Steamboats on the River Coloring Book


Mississippi riverboat research: Way's Packet Directory 1848-1994

"Contains some 6,000 entries describing passenger steamboats by rig, class, engines, boilers, where and when built, and historical information, organized alphabetically by ship name. Includes black and white photos."
- Booknews, Inc.

I highly recommend this book. This is the bible of steamboat history for the Mississippi River system 1848-1994. If you want answers to your steamboat history questions, this is the primary source. Mississippi River system only.


The Steamer Admiral
by Annie Amantea Blum
Photos and history.
Paperback Amazon
Kindle Amazon

The book above has more pictures while the blue book is more definitive with some pictures and more historical text.


The Steamer Admiral and Streckfus Steamers, A Personal View
by Annie Amantea Blum
This book has fewer photos, but a more comprehensive history of the Admiral, and includes history of the Streckfus family.
Hardcover: Amazon

Buy directly from the author for a discount on these books - $15 each plus $3 each for shipping. Send cash, check, or money order to: Annie Blum, 6239 Westway Pl., St. Louis, MO 63109. For more information. For more information email Annie at barley.blum @


Men of the Inland Rivers: Interviews from the Age of Steamboats, Packets and Towboats
by John Knoepfle
cover by Megan Ryan, using photos from!

Amazon review: In the 1950s John Knoepfle set about interviewing some seventy workers who had spent their lives on steamboats, packets and towboats. They were captains, pilots, boat owners, show boaters, night watchmen, mates, roustabouts, lock masters, packet cooks, among others. As told in their own words, this is the true story of steamboating.

Books by Stuart W. Sanders


Murder on the Ohio Belle

In March 1856, a dead body washed onto the shore of the Mississippi River. Nothing out of the ordinary. In those days, people fished corpses from the river with alarming frequency. But this body, with its arms and legs tied to a chair, struck an especially eerie chord. The body belonged to a man who had been a passenger on the luxurious steamboat known as the Ohio Belle, and he was the son of a southern planter. Who had bound and pitched this wealthy man into the river? Why? As reports of the killing spread, one newspaper shuddered, "The details are truly awful and well calculated to cause a thrill of horror."

Drawing on eyewitness accounts, Murder on the Ohio Belle uncovers the mysterious circumstances behind the bloodshed. A northern vessel captured by secessionists, sailing the border between slave and free states at the edge of the frontier, the Ohio Belle navigated the confluence of nineteenth-century America's greatest tensions. Stuart W. Sanders dives into the history of this remarkable steamer -- a story of double murders, secret identities, and hasty getaways -- and reveals the bloody roots of antebellum honor culture, classism, and vigilante justice.


The Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky (Civil War Series)


Perryville Under Fire: The Aftermath of Kentucky's Largest Civil War Battle (Civil War Series)

Shop Amazon for more books by Stuart W. Sanders.



Delta Queen, by Charles Bowen. More than 30 years ago, Walker Raines lost the woman he loves. Now he has clandestinely orchestrated what he hopes will appear to be an accidental meeting in very romantic circumstances: aboard the beautiful Delta Queen during a leisurely four-day spring cruise from New Orleans to Natchez.

More Steamboat Books

Cajun Culture books by Shane K. Bernard, Ph.D.
The Steamboat Bertrand, by Jerome E Petsche, 1974 out of print, available used
Pacific Steamboats From Sidewheeler To Motor Ferry A Vivid Pictorial History of the west Coast's Boats and Boatsmen out of print 1958 photo book, available used
Steamboats and Modern Steam Launches 1973 out of print, available used
Long Day's Journey: The Steamboat and Stagecoach Era in the Northern West, by Carlos Arnaldo Schwantes. . . historical photographs, advertisements, posters, and contemporary accounts of . . . transportation and communication between the eastern United States and the new territories that became Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming . . . . including paddle wheel boats

nightingale moon 2014-08-25 at 2.33.44 PM

The Nightingale Moon, by Nicholas Sweedo. A novel set in the 1800s following the Civil War. Two boys enter a Hearts tournament on a Mississippi River steamboat and cross paths with Wild Bill Hickok and Mark Twain.


Ste-e-e-e-eamboat a-Comin'!, by Jill Esbaum, Adam Rex. Children's story about the excitement a packet boat brought to otherwise tranquil towns along the Mississippi River.


Chippiepierre's Magic Paintbrush Tail: A Steamboat Adventure, by Barbara Dietz, a tale of feline friendship, cooperation and adventure on the Chesapeake Bay. This book is richly illustrated with thirty pen and ink drawings by artist George Frayne. Visit the author's website:

Paddle Steamers: An Illustrated History of Steamboats on the Mississippi and Its Tributaries, by Ken Watson, 1985 out of print, available used


The Mississippi Steamboat Era in Historic Photographs: Natchez to New Orleans, 1870-1920, by Joan W. Gandy, Thomas H. Gandy

Steamboats on the Western Rivers: An Economic and Technological History (Dover Books on Transportation, Maritime)
The Evolution of the Mississippi Delta: From Exploited Labor and Mules to Mechanization and Agribusiness
Natchez: Landmarks, Lifestyles, and Leisure (Images of America: Mississippi)


Chesapeake Bay Steamers (MD and VA) (Images of America)


Steamboats: Icons of America's Rivers, by Sara Wright. The author is a member of the American Sternwheel Association (, for which she is a regular contributor to their newsletter. A professional artist and photographer, she has also been involved with the restoration of sternwheel houseboats.

Steamboat! The Story of Captain Blanche Leathers
Tidewater by Steamboat: A Saga of the Chesapeake
Steamboats on Louisiana's Bayous: A History and Directory
The Delta Queen Cookbook: The History and Recipes of the Legendary Steamboat
Black Life on the Mississippi: Slaves, Free Blacks, and the Western Steamboat World
A Journey into Florida Railroad History (Florida History and Culture)


When Steamboats Reigned in Florida, by Bob Bass, University Press of Florida (Sept. 2008) . . . history and stories of those who ran or established the steamboat routes along most of the major rivers in Florida - the Kissimmee, St. Johns, Ocklawaha, Suwannee, Apalachicola, and Caloosahatchee - as well as Lake Okeechobee and Ft. Myers. Through past historical accounts and his own family's personal experiences, Bass sheds new light on Florida's steamboat saga.


A-Rafting on the Mississip (Fesler-Lampert Minnesota Heritage Book Series), by Charles Edward Russell


Old Times on the Upper Mississippi: Recollections of a Steamboat Pilot from 1854 to 1863 (Fesler-Lampert Minnesota Heritage Book Series), by George Byron Merrick. Recollections of a Steamboat Pilot from 1854 to 1863 (Fesler-Lampert Minnesota Heritage Book Series), Read a review of these two books (at this site): click here.


A Fashionable Tour Through the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi: The 1852 Journal of Juliette Starr Dana


Second Age: A Recall of Things Gone By and a Bit of Now
by Carl A. Franson
paperback click here
Kindle edition click here


Views on the Mississippi: The Photographs of Henry Peter Bosse

Ways Packet Directory 1848-1994: Passenger Steamboats Of The
Steamboats Come True: American Inventors in Action


Steamboats in the Timber, by Ruby El Hult. If you want to look into the history of steamboats in Idaho, this is a good place to start. The author shares her knowledge of the paddlewheel steamboat era in her state. Includes numerous photos.

Plantations on the Mississippi River: From Natchez to New Orleans/Map
Portraits of the Riverboats
The Western River Steamboat (Studies in Nautical Archaeology, No. 8)
Steamboats A wild ride across a stormy Lake Michigan, Karl Zimmermann takes young readers aboard lakers, ferries, and paddle-wheelers for a look at steamboats past and present.
Death on the Mississippi - A Mark Twain Mystery, by Peter J. Heck
Historic Photos of Steamboats on the Mississippi


Live Steam: Paddlewheel Steamboats on the Mississippi System

The Green River country from Bowling Green to Evansville: Its traffic, its resources, its towns and its people, embracing a history of the improvement
The saga of the Delta Queen
Lake Erie, by Harlan Hatcher
The Great Lakes
The Mississippi River in Maps & Views: From Lake Itasca to The Gulf of Mexico


Upper Mississippi River History: Fact, Fiction, Legend

by Ron Larson.

Click here to buy it now.


The Material Culture of Steamboat Passengers: Archaeological Evidence from the Missouri River
The Springer Series in Underwater Archaeology
by Annalies Corbin


This data base on Missouri steamboats is an impressive piece of research and should prove invaluable to those doing research on the Missouri river trade. The writing style of the author allows easy and quick reading of this book. . . . historic archaeologists will find the artifact descriptions and figures useful. . . . this work will often be cited in the future by archaeologists working on mid-nineteenth century sites.
- North American Archaeologist

Anyone interested in frontier society will find this to be a very useful volume. It helps explain the development of the Missouri River route that was vital to western Iowa and other portions of the Midwest.
- The Annals of Iowa

Steamboat Disasters



Lloyd's Steamboat Directory and Disasters on the Western Waters
by James T. Lloyd

Lloyd's Steamboat Directory and Disasters on the Western Waters was first published in 1856. The new edition, by Land Yacht Press, includes a new introduction and an overview of steamboating during Lloyd's time.

We asked the publisher, Jay Richiuso, why he chose to reprint Lloyd's disaster directory and he said, "By profession I'm an archivist and a historian. I started Land Yacht Press to publish new history books, and to reprint out of print books that should be back in print. As for Lloyd's Directory, I work with a couple of guys who are interested in steamboating and they brought it to my attention, knowing that I'm interested in reprinting/republishing good books that are out of print. I tracked down a copy and here we are."

This is a must-read for anyone who loves steamboats. It's an excellent companion to Fred Way's Packet Directory because you can look up boats that have sunk and find out why, how and where it happened. The list price is $25 (US) plus $3.50 for priority shipping and handling (Tennessee residents should add 8.25% sales tax), for a total of $28.50. Send checks or money orders to Land Yacht Press, P. O. Box 210262, Nashville, Tn 37221-0262 or order it now through


Exploding Steamboats, Senate Debates, and Technical Reports: The Convergence of Technology, Politics, and Rhetoric in the Steamboat Bill of 1838, by R. John Brockmann

Find out why the steamboats are bent on destroying civilization as we know it and how a select Senate committee tried to stop them.

By 1838, over two thousand Americans had been killed and many hundreds injured by exploding steam engines on steamboats. After calls for a solution in two State of the Union addresses, a Senate Select Committee met to consider an investigative report from the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia, the first federally funded investigation into a technical catastrophe. Although the investigation report was well written by the top scientists of the day, and the authors included an effective bill to correct the technical problems of steam engines and stop the fatalities and injuries, the bill was drawn up with a key segment X-ed out. As a result, the wrong piece of legislation was passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Van Buren as the United States' first piece of interstate commerce legislation. The explosions and deaths aboard steamboats continued for another fourteen years before corrective legislation was passed. Exploding Steamboats investigates the rhetoric, politics, and technology of antebellum America, offering timeless insights into the nature of writing, reading, and public control of technology.

This is part of Baywood Publishing Company, Inc.'s Technical Communications Series. To read more about this title, go to Amazon or to Baywood Publishing Company, Inc.


Hudson River Steamboat Catastrophes
The History Press will release a new book by J. Thomas Allison that covers the great Hudson River steamboat disasters of the mid-1800s.
Click here to see the book at
Visit the publisher, click here.


Hell Gate of the Mississippi, the Effie Afton Trial and Abraham Lincoln's Role in It by Larry A. Riney
For fifteen days in September, 1857, the attention of both the United States and Europe turned to a rundown Chicago courtroom. The steamboat Effie Afton had crashed into a pier of the first railroad bridge thrown across the Mississippi River at Rock Island, Illinois. The controversial lawsuit that followed promised to change the economy and the social fabric of the vast Mississippi River Valley. Some of the sharpest legal minds practicing in what was called at that time the Far West tried the test case. One of those lawyers was Abraham Lincoln. Hell Gate of the Mississippi puts you in the jury box for an up-close, firsthand look at this highly charged trial.
Author's website:
Publisher's website:


Terrifying Steamboat Stories: True Tales of Shipwreck, Death, and Disaster on the Great Lakes


A Guide to Steamboat Boiler Explosions
In the United States of America: 1813-2003

Compiled by Jerry Canavit, ASN

The book includes a history of steamboat explosions, including how it all started. The government attempted to regulate steam engines, but they continued to blow up regularly until 1911 when Massachusetts established uniform boiler safety rules, which set the industry standard. The book lists the worst explosions, explosions by year, and the names of boats, locations where disasters happened, and numbers of fatalities. Spoiler alert: since 1920 there have been fewer than twenty steamboat boiler explosions. Contact the author to order a copy: jcanavit[at] $12.


A 23 page booklet with information on 31 sunken steamboat on the Mississippi River between Trempealeau, WI and Victory, WI. Booklet contains many photos, aeriel photos, and maps. Cost $10 for booklet plus $1.50 postage (U.S.).

Poster: Shows location of 31 steamboat sinkings on Mississippi River between Trempealeau, WI and Victory, WI (many boats were recovered and refitted). Poster 17" x 22". Contains photos of War Eagle and steamer Reindeer. Cost $8 for poster plus $3.50 postage (U.S.).

Send to: Patrick Rash
P.O. Box 931
La Crosse WI 54602-0931

Steamboating Accidents essay on steamboat accidents: "The age of the steamboat introduced an era of unprecedented speed into the American consciousness."



John A. Bernhardt III, Master of Arts, 2008 Directed By: Dr. Robert Friedel, Professor, History Department, University of Maryland.

(Author's errata note on p.191: "Engineers Dickey and Watson were NOT exonerated.")