*'Essential' Steamboat Books/References.*
Morning, Steamboating colleagues,
Good topic here with a nice list above of books on steamboat history, lore. I've a few to add on my end:
1. "SHE TAKES THE HORNS: Steamboat Racing On The Western Rivers" by Capt. Frederick Way, 1953. More than just steamboat races with other related history.
2. "STEAMBOATS ON THE WESTERN RIVERS: An Economic and Technological History" by Louis C. Hunter. 684 Pgs. In depth history on all aspects of steamboating that cuts through many prevailing 'legends, myths,' of steamboat life and history. A deep read of academic proportions that 'corrects' many misconceptions, stories, 'romance' of the boats in addition to the human condition of the time.
3. "FROM PADDLE WHEELS TO PROPELLERS" by Charles Preston Fishbaugh, Indiana Historical Society, 1970. History of the Howard Yards, family, steamboats, Jeffersonville, IN. Academic source but may be in limited copies.
4. "WAY'S PACKET DIRECTORY - 1848-1983. Capt. Frederick Way. Definitive listing of steamboats with history from 1848 [Beginning of photography]. Essential basic research for research, references. A must. Ohio University Press.
5. "WAY'S STEAM TOWBOAT DIRECTORY" by Capt. Frederick Way and Joseph W. Rutter. Companion to the above. List of steam towboats also with history/insights. Ohio University Press.
6. "FASTEST ON THE RIVER" Race of the Strs. ROBT. E. LEE/NATCHEZ by Manly Wade Wellman, 1957. Definitive history well written with technical data. Another 'must' on the topic.
7. "RIVER STEAMBOATS AND STEAMBOAT MEN: With Articles And Pictures From My Scrap Book." by Capt. Ellis C. Mace, 1944. Very rare to find in print now. 335 Pgs.
8. "KING & QUEEN of the River: Legendary paddle-wheel steamboats DELTA KING and DELTA QUEEN" by Stan Garvey. River Heritage Press 1995. Definitive history of the two boats, their building, owners. A must for said history that cuts through later legends, myths about the DELTA QUEEN.
9. Last but not least, the stellar S&D REFLECTOR. Quarterly journal of Sons & Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen founded by Capt. Fred Way in 1964. Currently edited by David Tschiggfrie. Read as many issues you can find.

There are many other books, monographs too long to mention here possibly found by going on line to GOOGLE. You will be surprised at the number of publications that pop up. I 'think' above was also mentioned "COAL BOAT WATER" & 'DO IT YOURSELF" by Capt. Alan Bates. Dig in old book stores, gift shops at river museums up and down the rivers. Also some listed on ebay.
Granted, Mark Twain's books good reads but Twain was more concerned with developing plot and characters than accounts of pure steamboat history. Are there more? You bet. Have a good read.

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.