Three scrapbooks containing professional and personal material, 1883-1907, with material relating to his father, Quartermaster-General of the United States army.

Montgomery Meigs, Jr, son of The Union Army's Quarter-Master-General
Publication details: 
SKU: 19852

Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (1847-1931), nicknamed 'Monty', civil engineer and inventor, was the son of the celebrated American army officer and engineer of the same name (1816-1892), Quartermaster-General of the United States army during and after the American civil war. While easily overshadowed by his illustrious father, Meigs was a fascinating figure in his own right, talented in a wide range of fields: manager of the canals and locks of the Old Des Moines Rapids Canal, designer of steamboats and other river craft, and Mississippi river pilot. The marvellously idiosyncratic collection assembled here, filled with unusual and scarce ephemera, not only reflects Meigs's wide range of interests, but also bears testimony to the extraordinary qualities of the man, casting valuable biographical light on his private life and family in Keokuk, Iowa. Several items relate to Meigs's father,including a Congressional report and biography recommending that he receive a generous pension. The number of blueprint items within the collection indicate Meigs's strong interest in the subject, presumably encouraged by his acquaintance at the United States Engineers Office, H. P. Bosse (see below). The three volumes total 298 pp on 149 quarto (29 x 23 cm) leaves. Each is paginated, with an additional four-page autograph index by Meigs. The leaves of the albums were originally contained in three volumes of Mark Twain's Scrap Book, with cloth half-binding and marbled boards, but being of brittle high-acidity paper, they became disbound, and each leaf is now, individually or combined, housed in a plastic sleeve.Most pages are carry several items (some as many as five), often tipped-in and some folding out to a size larger than the leaves on which they are mounted. Some of the items in the collection are chipped and worn (particularly the newspaper cuttings), but the overall condition is good, with very little loss of text or image. Because of their constitution, most of the leaves on which the collection is mounted have suffered chipping and loss to extremities. Five of the six boards from the binding of the three albums have been retained.The items in the collection are not arranged chronologically; almost all date from the 1880s. The printed material clearly reflects Meigs's professional concerns, with subjects including maritime and aquatic (bridges, canals, canoes, the Mississippi, sailboats, steamboats, yachts); transport (trams, locomotives); electricity; engineering (boilers, drills, dynamos, machine tools, propellers , steam engines, valves), architecture; firearms; hunting; inventions, lighting. Additional printed material includes advertisements, receipts, bills, invitations to social engagements and other ephemera. These items display a large number of illustrations - photographs, engravings and diagrams - several of which are highly striking (see for example the advertisement, with photograph, on card bifolium, for 'The Sooysmith Proportion Meter'; the large fold-out plan, from Engineering, 4 December 1885, for the 'Compount Twin-Screw Engines and Boilers of H.M. Despatch Vessels "Surprise" and "Alacrity."'; and the attractive invitation, printed in red, yellow, silver and black, to a 'Grand Live Pigeon Tournament' at the Forester Gun Club of Davenport, Iowa, February 1886).The collection also includes a large number of cuttings from a wide range of publications (American Machinist; Army and Navy Register; Chicago Tribune; Engineering; Engineering and Building Record; English Mechanic; Electrical World; Forest and Stream; The Gate City; Marine Journal; New York Graphic; New York Herald; New York Times; The Quincy Journal; Sanitary Engineer; Scientific American; The Washington Post; The Western Plowman and South and West), again reflecting on Meigs's fields of interest. An article from the Quincy Journal, 22 July 1895, is titled 'A Talk with Major Meigs. | The Work on the Levee Between Here and Warsaw - Not Enough Men at Work - Condition of the River - Notes Washed Ashore' and another, from a Davenport paper, 20 March 1887, carries a manuscript note reading 'Dear Meigs - Paste this in your hat for future reference . C.W.D.' DETAILS ON REQUEST.