Pott Library Special Collections

The Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library is a special library within the St. Louis Mercantile Library, at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The Mercantile Library was founded by a group of businessmen who possessed a deep interest in the close relationship to the nation's inland rivers, particularly the Mississippi. Throughout its history, individuals active in waterways businesses have been associated with the Library. In 1985, the Mercantile Library built upon this long heritage of association with the rivers by greatly expanding its waterways-related holdings, and establishing the Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library. To see the full list of Pott Library collections, including those not available in digital form, please see the Pott Library Special Collections Directory.
Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library
P-003: Ruth Ferris Collection
The Ruth Ferris Collection is a large archival collection related to the inland rivers of North America. Included among the collection's many items are photographs, bills of lading, note cards, newspaper clippings, essays, and realia.
P-005: Dorothy Heckmann Shrader Collection
This collection consists of digitized photographs relating to the Missouri River, and often specifically to the family of Dorothy Heckmann Shrader. Phtoographs are often of river steamers and crew. The Heckmanns were the last great steamboat family on the Missouri River.
P-008 Ray Covington Photographs Collection
This collection of photographs consists largely of images of Motor Vessels taken by Mr. Covington in the 1950s while he worked aboard the dredge Ste. Genevieve. Additionally, there are some photographs of flooding and the dredging of the channel in the Chain of Rocks Canal.
P-011: Captain William F. and Betty Streckfus Carroll Collection
The Captain William F. and Betty Carroll Collection traces the history and development of Streckfus Steamers Inc., as well as its antecedent and descendant companies through correspondence, financial documents, business documents, photographs and memorabilia. In addition, the collection boasts a sizable number of photographs, blueprints, documents and ephemera related to river vessels, including but not limited to all of the Streckfus vessels. Captain Carroll also collected information on the history of steamboating, packet and excursion businesses, and river information, history, heritage and life, mostly through clippings and transcriptions; however the collection also contains some photographs, publications, charts and correspondence relating to the above subjects. There is also information regarding river personalities, including people involved with the Streckfus family and businesses, as well as river life and river work in general. Most of the biographical information takes the form of photographs or clippings. Currently, the photographs have been digitized. A finding aid to the entire collection is available.
P-012: Claude Strauser, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District Collection Images
This collection documents the design and construction of levees and other river management works. The digitized materials consist of the collection's glass plate negatives - negatives that deal mostly with the Great Flood of 1927, as well as plates of overhead photographs of the Mississippi River from St. Louis to Cairo, Illinois, 1925. There a few images of the construction of the Cape Girardeau, Mo. flood wall in the 1950s.
P-025: Golden Eagle River Museum Collection
The Golden Eagle River Museum Collection consists of documents and photographs related to the inland rivers of the United States, especially the vessels and people that work them. For a complete finding aid of the collection, including its non-digitized materials, please see the Golden Eagle River Museum Collection page.
P-029: John Hartford Collection
The John Hartford Collection is the personal collection of former riverboat pilot and folk musician John Hartford. The collection is largely focused around John's love of the inland river system of the U.S., and contains scrapbooks, photographs, books, serials, and papers relating to steamboats, river towns, inland river lore, and related subjects. Currently, some of the photographs are digitized.
P-044: Wilbur Charles Greaney Army Corps of Engineers Photographs
This collection consists of a group of photographs documenting the construction and eventual built environment of the Granite City Engineers' Depot, in Granite City, Illinois. Photographs include images of buildings, river engineering, road and wharf construction, and some high water pictures.
P-045: JL McFeeters Journal
The J.L. McFeeters Journal 1904 collection consists of a single journal that Capt. J.L. McFeeters wrote in daily for the year 1904 commenting on personal subjects, weather, and other current events of that time.
P-046 William Charles Redfield Letter

A four page letter that William Charles Redfield wrote to his brother, James Starr Redfield, after a 300-mile steamboat trip on the Mississippi traveling from Dubuque, Iowa to St. Paul, Minnesota. The letter documents the itinerary of the trip and several side trips of Mr. Redfield and his family. Mr. Redfield also explains to his brother how and when to meet up with him when they begin their journey home. Mr. Redfield discusses the growth of towns along the Mississippi River and his amazement at the success of farming west of Lake Erie.

William Charles Redfield was born on March 26, 1789 in Middletown, Connecticut. Mr. Redfild was self-educated in meteorology and the law of storms, specifically directionality of winds in hurricanes, and later received an honorary degree from Yale in 1839. Mount Redfield in Essex County, New York is named for Mr. Redfield after he organized and was a member of the first expedition to Mount Marcy in 1837. Mr. Redfield was also one of the founders and the first President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1848. He became the first American expert on fossil fish. Mr. Redfield died on February 12, 1857 in New York City.

P-051: E. J. Carpenter Steamboat Photographs Collection
The E.J. Carpenter Steamboat Photographs Collection consists of nine photographs of Ohio and Mississippi River scenes, most containing some aspect of steamboating.
P-056: The Robert Graul Delta Queen Photographs
This collection consists of 55 photographs taken by Robert Graul on a trip aboard the excursion steamboat DELTA QUEEN from July 1972 trip from St. Louis to Peoria. Photographs include images of the DQ, passengers, crew, shore excursions, and local landmarks.
P-064 Yellowstone Expedition Letters
This pair of autograph letters are from Lieutenant Isaac Clark to his Father, Colonel Isaac Clark of Vermont, describing his efforts to outfit the Atkinson Expedition to the Yellowstone River. Letters also discuss the City of Saint Louis, where Lt. Clark was staying at the time. The Yellowstone Expedition detailed in these letters is a little-known but significant early western expedition. It was organized in 18191 and was under the command of Col. (later Brigadier General) Henry Atkinson. The group was charged with ascending the Missouri River by steamboat (an early attempt at such travel on the Missouri) to establish a series of forts along the river to protect the American fur trade, guard against hostile Indians, and counteract the presence of the British Hudson’s Bay Company in the region. The expedition ultimately reached the “Council Bluff” in eastern Nebraska, where they established Fort Atkinson, near the Missouri River. The troops at Fort Atkinson endured a harsh winter in 1819-1820, and lack of provisions left them susceptible to scurvy and other diseases, which ultimately claimed between 100 and 200 lives. Clark’s letters give a rare firsthand account of the logistics and provisions of the expedition. Both letters are written by Lieut. Clark, to his father, Col. Isaac Clark in Castleton, Vermont. Isaac Clark, Sr. (1742-1822) had a military career that spanned some fifty years. He fought in the Revolutionary War, participating in the Battle of Bennington (1777) and the recapture of Fort Ticonderoga (1778). During the War of 1812 he led Vermont troops in patrolling the border with Quebec to prevent smuggling and led several military forays into Quebec. He also served in several political and judicial positions in Vermont.
P-065 Mississippi-Illinois River Canal (Hennepin Canal) Construction Photographs
This album of cyanotype prints documents the early construction of the Mississippi and Illinois River Canal, also known as the Hennepin Canal. Each image comes with explanatory captions on the back side. The images document the first months of construction on the Mississippi and Illinois River Canal, commonly known as the Hennepin Canal. The construction pictured is near the Mississippi and Rock rivers while working on Lock 36 and Lock 37. The prints cover much of the construction involved in building canals in the 19th century, and include portrayals of excavation and dredge work, extension and widening of rivers work on Carr Island (in the western portion of the Rock River), use of dynamite in lock building, pile driving, construction on concrete abutments, and other equipment and processes involved. Also included are images of the camps of workers and engineers. Each image is captioned with a date and description of the image, often including names of identifiable workers and engineers. Most of the images show actual construction, including the extension and widening of rivers, massive excavation and dredge work, work around Carr Island in the far western portion of the Rock River, the construction of embankments, and the use of dynamite to begin the lock building process. Other photographs show piling and pile driving, the camps of the workers, and completed cuts. The captions each note the month in which photographs are taken, and often name in the engineer in charge of the work and contractor.
P-074 Dan Owen Boat Photo Museum Collection
This collection is comprised of the photographic prints, notes, ledgers, photograph negatives, and other ephemera collected by longtime Inland River Record editor and Waterways Journal contributor, Dan Owen. Content includes vessels primarily from the American inland waterways system as well as limited selections from abroad. The entire collection was kept under the name “Dan Owen’s Boat Photo Museum.”

Mercantile Library Collections Directory

Mercantile Special Collections Directory

Barriger Library Collections Directory

Barriger Special Collections Directory

Pott Library Collections Directory

Pott Special Collections Directory