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Transportation Research: Water

Minnesota transportation from animal-drawn carts and wagons to airplanes and mass transit.

About Water Transportation

From voyageur canoes to contemporary tugboats, steamers, and freighters, transportation on rivers and lakes has been important in the development  and commerce of Minnesota.



Researching Water Transportation

Search the library catalog for books and other published materials, manuscript collections, and State Archives collections about water transportation. Useful search terms: inland water transportation, navigation, steamboats, harbors, boats, and boating 

Selected manuscript and State Archives collection finding aids detailing box locations and contents are available online. Others are available in notebooks in the Library.

Photographs, artwork, and artifacts documenting water transportation can be found in Collections Online.  Useful search terms: water transportation, steamboats, boats and boating, harbor, levees

Newspapers may contain advertisements and stories about water transportation.

Selected Water Transportation Resources

Edward E. Heerman Papers, 1855-1929.
Correspondence, newspaper clippings, historical sketches, steamboat records, and diaries of this steamboat captain and owner.  
MNHS call number:  See the finding aid in the library (Heerman, Edward E. and  A.H459).

Fred A. Bill and Family Papers, 1793-1957.  
Correspondence, scrapbooks, diaries, news clippings, genealogical data and other papers relating to the career of Fred A. Bill, a Mississippi River steamboat captain.  
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Packet Directory, 1848-1983:  Passenger Steamboats of the Mississippi River System Since the Advent of Photography in Mid-Continent America, compiled by Frederick Way, Jr.
 Athens, Ohio:  Ohio University, 1983.
MNHS call number:  Reading Room HE565.U5W39 1983

Western River Transportation: The Era of Early Internal Development, 1810-1860, by Erick F. Haites, James Mak, and Gary M. Walton.  Baltimore:  The Johns Hopkins University Press, [1975]. 
MNHS call number:  HE631.W4 H35

"Steamboating in the Upper Mississippi Fur Trade," by William John Petersen.
Minnesota History, Vol. 13, No. 3 (Sept. 1932), p. 221-243.
MNHS call number:  Digital copy of the article.

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