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HISTORY: William F. Carroll was a Mississippi riverboat captain and amateur historian. He worked for many years for Streckfus Steamers Incorporated, one of the most storied excursion companies to ply the Mississippi River. Captain Carroll was born in Boston and stationed in St. Louis during World War II, where he met Betty Streckfus, daughter of Joseph Streckfus, President of Streckfus Steamers Incorporated. After William was discharged from the army, he started working for his father-in-law on the Steamer Admiral, eventually working his way up to Captain. By the time Captain Carroll celebrated fifty years on the river in 1995, he had a large trove of research and records. It seemed natural that he would decide to gift Mercantile Library with his collection. The first part of the collection was donated when Captain Carroll moved from his house in University City in 1998. The rest of the collection was received by the Library after his death in 2000.
SCOPE: The Captain William F. and Betty Carroll Collection traces the history and development of Streckfus Steamers Inc., as well as its antecedent and descendent 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.
Personal correspondence has been separated in a logical pattern from business correspondence, by date, although because Streckfus Steamers Incorporated was a family business, some personal correspondence has been impossible to separate. Where both business and personal correspondence have occurred in the same record, the record has been grouped with business correspondence. Alphabetical arrangement has been employed where appropriate to facilitate usage. Most records are described at the folder level. Some records are described at the item or box level.
HOLDINGS: Approximately 70 linear feet of archival records including correspondence, blueprints, photographs, business and financial records, and publications.
ACCESS: A published finding aid for Special Collection P-11 is available for download, in .PDF and .RTF format. Some of the collection may be photocopied, digitally scanned, or photographed, depending on condition and/or restrictions.
Portions of the collection are available for remote & online viewing on the UMSL Digital Library as the P-011: Captain William F. and Betty Streckfus Carroll Collection.