P-38: Mary and Bob McCarthy Collection | UMSL

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P-38: Mary and Bob McCarthy Collection

ABSTRACT: The Mary and Bob McCarthy Collection at the Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library contains photos, realia, postcards and negatives related to the Streckfus Steamers Company and its antecedent company, the Diamond Jo Line.

SCOPE: The Mary and Bob McCarthy Collection consists of photographs, negatives, realia, artifacts and postcards related to the boats and people of Streckfus Steamers, Inc. and its antecedent company, Diamond Jo Lines.  The collection mostly covers the geographic areas of St. Louis and New Orleans, where the Streckfus Company maintained its home ports.  Many of the photographs contain information written on the reverse sides regarding the places and people involved in the photographs.

EXTENT: 1 box

HISTORY: The first incarnation of Streckfus Steamers, Incorporated was the ACME Packet Company of Iowa, which operated in the excursion trade between St. Paul, Minnesota and Alton, Illinois on the Mississippi River, from 1893 to 1910. The Streckfus Steamboat Line Company was organized on August 18, 1910, and in 1911 the company, headed by Captain John Streckfus (later known as Commodore John Streckfus, to differentiate him from his son), purchased from Jay Morton the whole of the Diamond Jo Line Steamers, giving the company four more steamers, the St. Louis wharfboat, three barges, 17 warehouses, two lots of real estate and a shipyard.

Newly purchased Steamers St. Paul, Quincy and Dubuque were made part of the passenger-freight business between St. Louis and St. Paul and St. Louis and Burlington, Iowa. Newly purchased Steamer Sidney joined the W.W. in the excursion business between St. Louis and St. Paul.

By 1920 all of the Diamond Jo Line Steamers had been converted from the packet trade to the excursion trade, and the Streckfus Steamboat Line Company sold off all of its unnecessary property. Streckfus Steamers Incorporated was formed in 1926 and the Streckfus Steamboat Line Company was dissolved that same year.

Captain Joseph Streckfus (oldest son of Captain John Streckfus) took over as the general manager of the company, with brothers and fellow captains Verne, John (Jr.) and Roy also having important roles with the company.

1931 saw the purchase and subsequent conversion of the Steamer Cincinnati to the SS President. The SS Admiral debuted in 1940, forgoing the traditional gingerbread decoration of steamboats for a sleeker, more modern stainless steel look.

Despite some lean years during World War II, the Streckfus Steamboat Company managed to be profitable into the 1970s. Then, the company ran into financial troubles that culminated with the sale of the MV Admiral in 1981 to John Connelly. Streckfus Steamers Incorporated went out of business soon after.

ACCESS: This is collection P-038. This collection is available for on-site use only in the Rare Book and Manuscripts Reading Room. Some of the collection may be photocopied, digitally scanned or photographed, depending on condition. Researchers are advised to call ahead concerning changes in hours due to University intersessions and holidays. The St. Louis Mercantile Library is located on levels one and two of the Thomas Jefferson Library building. More information about conducting research with the archival collections of the Library, including current building hours and reading room policies, can be found on our Research page.

A Content List for this collection is available below.

Preferred Citation note: The preferred citation for this collection is "From the collections of the Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library at the University of Missouri - St. Louis."


Arrangement note

This collection has been arranged to the item level, with a box-level listing.

Controlled Access Headings:

Geographic Heading(s)

  • New Orleans (La.)
  • Saint Louis (Mo.)


  • Streckfus Steamers, Inc.


  • Excursion boats
  • Steamboats--Mississippi River

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The Pott Library acquired this collection in 2013 as a donation from Mary and Bob McCarthy.

Related Materials note

The Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library contains additional materials related to the Streckfus Steamers Company and the Streckfus family, including P-11: The William F. and Betty Streckfus Carroll Collection, and P-41: The Captain Curran and Suzy Streckfus Collection.

Contents List

Admiral - exterior - postcards
Admiral, photos
Admiral - ballroom - postcards
Admiral - trip to New Orleans, LA, 1974 - photos
Capitol - exterior - postcards
Capitol -  photos
Capitol - ticket
Capitol with Senator - photos
City of Winona - photos
Delta Queen - postcards
Freddie -  photos
Huck Finn - postcards
Huck Finn /Tom Sawyer - tickets
J.S. (Deluxe) - postcards
J.S. (1st) - postcards
Mark Twain - photos
Negatives - Carroll Family and boats - no dates
Negatives - pictures taken from office dock - 9/25/1996
Negatives - no dates, no subjects
Negatives - no dates, no subjects
New Orleans, LA - photos
President - ballroom - postcards
President - under construction - photos
President - exterior - photos
President - exterior - postcards
President - at shipyard - photos
President - St. Louis - 1975 - photos
President - top deck - postcards
St. Louis - high water - 1951, 1960, 1961 - photos
St. Louis - riverfront - postcards
Samuel Clemens - exterior - postcards
Sidney - photos
Susie Hazard - 1940 - photos
Tom Sawyer - postcards
Washington - exterior - postcards
Wisherd Line - photos
Picture of Streckfus Family - Round frame with individual pictures, Captain John Streckfus (Commodore) and Mrs. Streckfus in center surrounded by 8 pictures of their children.
Frame is marked "Made in Italy".
Picture is marked:  E.E. Mangold - 1900 - Rock Island.
List of Lights, Buoys and Daymarks on the Upper Mississippi, 1910
1 Silver creamer with lid;, lid is loose, marked with the word "JO" in a diamond, on one side. On bottom: Wm. Rodgers Mfg., Hartford, Conn #1269.
1 Medium silver creamer with lid intact. On lid above handle is a "V" shaped design, "JO" in a diamond on both sides of creamer. On bottom: NEG Webster & Son #400
1 Medium silver sugar bowl, no lid, 2 handles, "JO" in a diamond on one side. On bottom: Wm. Rodgers Mfg. Co, Hartford, Conn, Quadruple #1269.