hold a lasting interest in post card collecting, it
is my opinion that the collector must specialize
in either views that he has seen in his travels, or
should confine his collecting to one or two specialties.
The specialty collector can easily learn a great deal
about his subject, and with this knowledge his interest
in his collection grows. I believe that notes should
be kept on the back of post cards, or on separate
file cards, giving information about the particular
view or subject.
..... My post card specialty
is passenger packet boats on western rivers. This
collection includes steamers on all the navigable
rivers west of the Appalachian Mountains. The principal
navigable rivers of this area are included in the
following river systems: Appalachicola, Alabama, Mississippi,
Colorado, Sacramento, and Columbia. Of these, the
Mississippi River System is the most important as
it affords about 14,000 miles of navigable waterway.
My collection is of views of passenger packet boats
primarily, but also includes the following type of
craft from the rivers mentioned above: Excursion boats,
Showboats, U.S. lighthouse tenders, Civil War gunboats
.....As a schoolboy,
the Ohio River held a great attraction for me. At
this time, the last of the passenger packets were
in their very last years of operation. One day I bought
post cards of The Greene Line packet boats TOM GREENE
and CHRIS GREENE
(second). These two cards became the beginning of
my collection. The collection grew very slowly for
a long time. One summer the Streckfus Line excursion
steamer SAINT PAUL made a trip out of Portsmouth,
Ohio, and a post card was obtained aboard her of each
of the line's five boats, then in operation. Several
friends added about half a dozen cards dating before
1910. A friend bought an old scow for sixty-five dollars,
and took a vacation trip to New Orleans. He sent me
six modern cards picked up along the river. I had
taken photographs of five packets, three excursion
boats, and one U. S. lighthouse tender, when six and
one half years with the U.S. Navy through the war
interrupted this hobby.
..... Shortly before
the end of the war, an old riverman from my home town
heard of my collection, and gave me nineteen old photographic
post cards of packet boats. He had been a clerk on
the old CITY
OF LOUISVILLE. This man obtained for me a copy
of "Way's Steamboat Directory - abridged Packet
Edition 1944", which was published in a limited
edition. This directory lists only boats of the Mississippi
and Alabama River Systems known to have been photographed.
This list includes about one thousand steamboats of
the total of about seven thousand which have operated
on the rivers whose waters empty into the Gulf of
Mexico. In addition to packet boats, Way's directory
lists also other types of passenger carrying steamboats.
It gives a short historical sketch of each boat listed.
I consider Way's directory my handbook in collecting
post cards of steamboats, but it omits those western
rivers that flow into the Pacific Ocean.