[Grand Tower Island, IL]: np, 1947. First Edition. Wraps. Oblong 16mo. Black leather spiral bound album with 15 B&W snapshot photographs, recto-mounted to black paper leaves. Mimeograph typed caption sheets to versos provide an approximately 700 word narrative. Several caption slips loose from original tape mountings, otherwise very good or better. Near fine. Item #15590
Album of the sinking of the Golden Eagle steamboat, taken by a passenger, May 17-19, 1947. The Golden Eagle, the last wooden-hulled passenger boat to travel the Mississippi, departed St. Louis for a seven-day trip to Nashville. At approximately 2 a.m. the following morning, the craft struck rocks off Grand Tower Island, causing an evacuation onto the small, wooded isle. As the passengers looked on, the ship slowly sank into the river. Herein is a thorough record of the island scene and the progression of the boat's demise. Several of the passengers are identified, including Capt. William “Buck” Lehye, a prominent St. Louisan and the boat's former owner; Miss Helen Peters, a “sound sleeper” and the final person to flee the boat (rescued after a reading of the passenger list found her unaccounted for); and two images of The Duke of Paducah, a prominent comedy entertainer of the era and frequent performer aboard the ship. A detailed and narrative vernacular photobook of a Mississippi River disaster at the end the era of steamboat travel.