William B. Elmendorf
Papers, 1838-1933; bulk 1875-1920

SC11970

Quantity: 6 boxes (2.0 cubic ft.) and 5 extra-large documents
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Gift of Alice Elmendorf, July 1949; an accretion of approximately 25 items was purchased and subsequently collated with the original group of papers, October 1995.
Processed By: Fred Bassett, Senior Librarian, Manuscripts & Special Collections, January 2007; revised October 2015

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Biographical Note:

William Burgess Elmendorf was born February 8, 1856 in Albany, New York, the son of John of and Carol Burgess Elmendorf.  The younger Elmendorf followed his father’s footsteps in the steamboat business in Albany, beginning as a clerk with the Hudson River Day Line Company during the 1870s. About 1884, William Elmendorf succeeded his father as general agent of Day Line operations at Albany, and remained in the position well into the 1930s. The general agent position was broad in scope and entailed many tasks and responsibilities.

William Elmendorf was married first in 1877 to Isabel H. Dalton (1856-1887), who bore one child: Edna B. Elmendorf.  After Isabel passed away in 1887, William Elmendorf was married again in 1889 to Anne Victoria O'Brien of Montréal, Québec. They had three children: John B., Alice Sage, and Enid W. William B. Elmendorf died December 21, 1943 in Albany, New York.

Scope and Content Note:

This series of papers is related chiefly to William B. Elmendorf’s interest in the history of steamboat navigation on the Hudson River, especially the vessels that were operated by the Hudson River Day Line Company between New York City and Albany. This company was incorporated in 1863 and remained in business until 1948.  The vessels operated by Hudson River Day Line over the years of operation include steamers Daniel Drew, Chauncey Vibbard, Mary Powell, Albany, New York, Robert Fulton, Hendrick Hudson, and Washington Irving. The papers include correspondence and research notes along with photographs, timetables, tickets, and other memorabilia. These papers also include some items related to Elmendorf’s involvement in various clubs and societies in Albany, particularly, the Albany Curling Club, Ridgefield Athletic Club, and Pines Hills Association.

Box and Folder List:


Box Folder Description
1 1 Correspondence, 1885-1929, regarding the history of navigation and steamboats on the Hudson River (20 items); includes letter to Elmendorf from A.E. Anderson, Captain of Steamer Mary Powell, June 9, 1905
1 2 Historical notes and data on Hudson River steamboat lines, compiled ca. 1923; includes information relative to the lives and careers of John Elmendorf and Alfred Van Santvoord (22 items)
1 3 Wood cut sketches (5 items)
  1. Steamer Victory (2 copies)
  2. Early steam engine and passenger train
  3. Steam engine and passenger train of mid-19th century (2 copies)
1 4 Passenger list for steamboat Victory, April 15, 1828; lists for gentlemen’s, ladies’ and salon cabins (5 leaves)
1 5 Timetables: Hudson River Day Line, various dates, 1875-1901. (16 items)
  1. Steamers Chauncey Vibbard and Daniel Drew, 1875 and 1879
  2. Steamers Albany and Chauncey Vibbard, 1880, 1881, 1884, and 1886
  3. Steamers Albany, Chauncey Vibbard, and Daniel Drew, 1886
  4. Steamers Albany and New York, 1892, 1893, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1988, 1899, and 1901
1 6 Timetables: Hudson River Day Line, various dates, 1900-1918(22 items – removed from scrapbook found in box 5)
  1. Steamer Mary Powell, 1908
  2. Steamers Albany and New York, 1902
  3. Steamers Albany, New York, and Hendrick Hudson, 1908-1909
  4. Steamers Washington Irving, Hendrick Hudson, Robert Fulton, and Albany, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918
1 7 Broadsides, printed circulars, etc. ca. 1906-1918 (15 items)
  1. Catskill Evening Line – Time table, 1916
  2. Troy Evening Line – Time table, 1918
  3. Hudson River Day Line – “To Rip Van Winkle Land!”... “Albany to Otis Summit Catskill Mountains” – printed brochure with illustrations, ca. 1916-1920
  4. Hudson River Day Line. The great steel ship Washington Irving...and magnificent ship Hendrick Hudsonn...(broadside; 20 x 13 cm.)
  5. The World’s Fair Steamship Co. time table for steamship Christopher Columbus – printed time table with image of the vessel, [1893] (14 x 8 cm.)
  6. Special time table for Sunday September 1, [1918] – Hudson River Day Line (broadside 14 x 8 cm.)
  7. Invitation to attend events relative to the launching of Str. Hendrick, Hudson at the yard of the Thomas S. Marvel Shipbuilding Co. , Newburgh, N.Y., March 31, 1906
  8. Invitation ticket for inspection of the Steamer Robert Fulton, May 29, 1908
  9. Invitation: “1865-1915 The Hudson River Day Line....on board the Steamer Robert Fulton. Monday Evening, May 25, 1915
  10. Printed announcement relative to Steamer Hendrick Hudson, August 20, 1906
  11. “As to the name Hendrick Hudson – We reprint several articles that have appeared recently, [1906] (broadside 34 x 17 cm.)
  12. Broadside announcing the opening of the season for Hudson River Day Line, May 24, 1918
  13. Copy of a article from Times-Union (Albany, N.Y.) relative to the date Hudson river was closed to navigation, [1904]
  14. Laws relating to the duties of the Harbor Master of the City of Albany
1 8 News clippings regarding history of Hudson River steamers, ca. 1907-1931 (ca. 25 items)
1 9 Steamboat travel passes and tickets issued for agents, ca. 1890-1899 (15 items)
  1. Steamer C. Vibbard
  2. Steamer Adirondack, 1893
  3. Hudson River Line, 1898
  4. Delaware & Hudson Canal Co., 1898
  5. Citizen’s Steamboat Co. of Troy, [1898]
  6. Excelsior Steamboat Co., 1897 and 1898
  7. Peoples Line, 1892, 1893, and 1895
  8. Castleton & Albany Ferry Co., 1899
  9. Rensselaer, Albany, and Bath Steamers, [ca. 1898]
  10. Boston and Nantasket Steamboat Co., 1896
  11. Fall River Line, 1893
  12. Providence & Stonington Steamship Co., 1890
1 10a Railroad travel passes and tickets issued for agents (7 items)
  1. Catskill Mountain Railway Co., 1888
  2. Catskill Valley RR, 1899
  3. Kaaterskill Railroad Co., 1893
  4. Stony Clove & Catskill Mountain RR, 1892
  5. Ulster & Delaware RR Co., 1889, 1892, and 1893
1 10b Railroad travel passes and tickets issued for agents (6 items)
  1. Boston, Hoosac Tunnel & Western Railway, 1887
  2. Delaware & Hudson Canal Co., 1891
  3. New York Central & Hudson River RR Co., 1895 and 1898
  4. Troy & Boston RR, 1887
  5. West Shore RR, 1887
1 10c Railroad travel passes and tickets issued for agents (7 items)
  1. Adirondack Railway Co., 1888 and 1899
  2. Bennington & Rutland RR Co, 1891, 1894, and 1899
  3. Boston & Maine RR, 1890 and 1891
1 10d Railroad travel passes and tickets issued for agents (10 items)
  1. Lebanon Springs RR, 1895
  2. New York & New England, 1892
  3. Fitchburg RR, 1895
  4. Old Colony RR, 1888 and 1893
  5. Colorado Midland Railway, 1890
  6. Louisville & Nashville RR, 1903
  7. Frisco System, 1903
  8. Canada Atlantic RR, 1904
  9. National Express, 1899 and 1900
2 1 Notebook: Contains historical data on named Hudson River steamers, including information on when boats were built, tenure of captains, change of ownership, record travel times, names of royal guests and other prominent passengers, river closings due to ice, disasters, and changes to docks and other infrastructure. (1 v. ca. 102 p. 22 cm.)
2 2 Notes relative to the cost of maintaining and operating various Hudson River steamers, 1875 (1 v. ca. 100 p. 13 cm.)
2 3 Calling cards and membership cards for various clubs and fraternal organizations, ca. 1886-1933 (24 items)
  1. Albany City Curling Club, 1890, 1891, and 1892
  2. Empire Curling Club, Albany, 1886
  3. Ridgefield Athletic Club, Albany, 1889 and 1890
  4. Albany YMCA, 1889 and 1890
  5. Pine Hills Association, meeting announcements, November 12, 1901 and December 17, 1901 (postal cards)
  6. New York Navy Yard, visitor’s pass, December 6. 1905
  7. Sons of the American Revolution, Harlem Heights Celebration, New York, October 16, 1897
  8. Leland Opera House, Albany, admission ticket, 1904
  9. Hotel Governor Clinton, New York, complimentary room card, 1933
  10. Postal Telegraph Cable Co., complimentary frank, 1900
2 4 Invitations, honoraria, and miscellaneous memorabilia, 1880-1913 (11 items)
  1. Ribbons and badges: Albany Curling Club, 1895; Committee presenting silver service to U.S. Cruiser Albany, February 7, 1903, Brooklyn Navy Yard; Dedication, Port of Albany, June 6-7, 1932
  2. Souvenir Menu; New York Central Sleeping Car Co. Dining Car, June 1886 (annotated)
  3. Invitation to William B. Elmendorf to attend the dedication of the State Education Building, October 15-17, 1912
  4. Invitation for William B. Elmendorf to attend the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Albany Academy, May 15, 1913
  5. Invitation and ticket to dinner of the Society of Mayflower descendants in New York, Waldorf Astoria, New York, November 22, 1898
  6. Tweedle Hall Program…Thursday Evening, May 13, 1880, first appearance of dramatic stage of Miss. Carrie A. Turner, in Led Astray! Led Astray!
  7. Circular letters from Holland Society of New York, ca. 1907
3 1 Photographs
  1. Steamer Daniel Drew (6 x 10 cm.)
  2. Steamer Albany (14 x 23 cm.)
  3. Steamer New York (10 x 15 cm. mounted on board 18 x 24 cm.)
3 2 Photographs: Steamer Chauncey Vibbard, Hudson River (2 items, 14 x 22 cm.)
3 3 Photographs of Hudson River Day Line Steamboats
  1. Steamer New York, on the Hudson River (2 items: 11 x 15 cm, and 18 x 23 cm.)
  2. Steamer New York fire, at Newburgh, N.Y., winter 1908-1909 (2 real photo postcards, 9 x 14 cm.)
3 4 Photographs of Hudson River Day Line Steamboats
  1. Steamer Washington Irving (20 x 26 cm.)
  2. Steamer Hendrick Hudson (13 x 18 cm.)
  3. Steamer Hendrick Hudson under construction (2 items: 11 x 16 cm.)
  4. Captain Winne at the controls of steamer Hendrick Hudson (New York: Souvenir Postcard Co.) (9 x 14 cm.)
3 5 Photographs: Mural paintings found inside the Hendrick Hudson or Washington Irving: views depict historic scenes along the Hudson River (H. Shobbrook Collins, Photographer, 113 W. 23rd Street, New York)(4 items)
3 6 Photograph: Portrait of John E. Elmendorf (1 item 10 x 8 cm. mounted in frame 20 x 17 cm.)
3 7 Photographs
  1. William B. Elmendorf with Eben Erskine Olcott (president of Hudson River Day Line) taken on U.S. Government boat bound for naval ceremony in New York, 1903 (15 x 13 cm.)
  2. Print made from the previous images showing only William B. Elmendorf (13 x 10 cm.)
  3. Cruiser U.S.S. Albany, 1903(11 x 17 cm.)
3 8 Portraits
  1. Charles Townsend Van Santvoord, ca. 1890 (Davis & Sanford, artist-Photographer, 246 Fifth Avenue, New York) Cabinet card, 17 x 11 cm.)
  2. Walter Clapp, ca. 1890s (Horton, 15 & 17 North Pearl Street, Albany, N.Y.) (carte de visite, 10 x 6 cm.)
3 9 Photographs (4 items)
  1. Hudson River Day Line dock at Albany (13 x 10 cm.)
  2. Steamer Adirondack, operated by Peoples Line (11 x 13 cm.)
  3. Steam ferry boat Lark, Hudson River Day Line Company, Kingston 250th Celebration, 1908 (postcard, 9 x 14 cm.)
  4. “G. & M. Line boat run aground in winter” (real photo postcard, 9 x 14 cm.)
3 10 Photographs of Lake George Steamboats; B.F. Dandurand, Photographer, Ticonderoga, N.Y.,  (2 items)
  1. View of old and new Steamer Horican and Steamer Sagamore at Rogers Rock Dock (12 x 17 cm.)
  2. New Steamer Horican and Steamer Sagamore (12 x 17 cm.)
3 11 Prints: “Views of the Hudson” (set of 8 w/wrapper, 11 x 17 cm.)
  1. Palisades from Yonkers
  2. View from Sing Sing
  3. Entrance to the Highlands opposite Peekskill
  4. Peekskill from Verplanck’s point looking north
  5. View from west Point looking north
  6. The narrows from West Point
  7. Kosciusko’s Monument / West Point from Fort Putnam
  8. Catskill mountains from Hudson City
3 12 Carte de Visite Photographs by Seneca Ray Stoddard, Glens Falls, N.Y. (5 items, 10 x 6 cm.)
  1. “New York Bay Station Pier 39 Hudson River”
  2. “Garrisons from West Point, Hudson River”
  3. “South from Dock, West Point, Hudson River”
  4. Untitled view from dock at West Point
  5. Untitled view of  Hudson River in the vicinity of West Point
3 13 Photographs: Rally for the troops of the 10th Battalion, Albany, New York, 1898 (3 items, 14 x 16 cm.)
3 14 Photographs: Views of Albany, New York
  1. Washington Park in winter (1 item, 14 x 16 cm.)
  2. Albany Rural Cemetery (2 items – missing 5/30/2013)
  3. State Street, 1857 – print issued by National Savings Bank of Albany, ca. 1900s (1 item, 14 x 16 cm.)
3 15 Photographs: Scene of the waterfront at Rensselaer, New York (11 items, b&w, 9 x 14 cm.)
  1. Steamer Cornell at Rensselaer Dock
  2. Winding Str. Cornell at Rensselaer Dock
  3. Str. Cornell on the way to Albany
  4. Str. Cornell in [Flatbush?] Channel
  5. Str. Rob at East Kingston
  6. Ice piled up on shore and Van Wies Point
  7. Stone light, Van Wies Point
  8. Ice piled up on Flats and [?] Point when ice came down from Coeymans
  9. Ice piled on Stuyvesant Flats
  10. Above Bean House
  11. [View of ice piled along Hudson River in front of steamboat coal shed]
3 16 Picture postcards: Various scenes along the Hudson River – historic sites and landmarks (6 items, 9 x 14 cm.)
  1. Grants Tomb on the Hudson
  2. Sunnyside of Washington Irving
  3. Hudson River looking north from West Point Battery
  4. Dade Monument, West Point
  5. Washington’s Headquarters, Newburgh, N.Y.
  6. Poughkeepsie Bridge across the Hudson River
3 17 “The Wagar Series of Historic Prints” [scenes of Albany, N.Y.](12 items issued by Wagar’s Coffee Shop, Albany, New York) (12 items; a-c, 13 x 13 cm.; d-l, 18 x 26 cm.) (Another set of these prints is available with original wrapper – collection PRI1488)
  1. First Seal of Albany granted in 1686
  2. Second Seal of Albany adopted 1752
  3. The Stadt Huys (City Hall) in 1742
  4. Portrait of Gov. Thomas Dongan and facsimile of Dongan Charter which he granted to Albany in 1686
  5. Van Rensselaer Manor House built in 1666 near Patroon’s Creek (noew about Tivoli Street, north Albany)
  6. Vanderheyden Palace built in 1825 from materials brought from Holland, on west side of North Pearl Street just beyond Jonker Street (now State Street)
  7. East side of Market Street (now Broadway) showing City Market House, built 1791
  8. Court Street (now Broadway) just south of State Street about 1805
  9. North side of State Street from North Pearl Street east about 1805
  10. West side of North Pearl Street from Maiden Lane south about 1815 (from drawing by James Eights)
  11. West side of North Pearl Street from Steuben Street south about 1815 (from drawing by James Eights)
  12. Albany as viewed from Bath (now Rensselaer) across the Hudson about 1825
4 1 Scrapbook containing miscellaneous newspapers clippings, 1878-1903 (1v. ca. 300 p. 30 cm.)
5 1 Scrapbook of newspaper clippings and timetables related to the Hudson River Day Line (1v. ca. 200 p. 30 cm.)
6 (f) 1 Scrapbook of newspaper clippings and other memorabilia related to the Albany Curling Club, 1891-1902 (1 v. 332 p. 40 cm.)
EL 1 Photograph: Steamer Albany, Augustus Pruyn, photographer (1 item, b&w, 14 x 19 cm. mounted on board 18 x 36 cm.)
EL 2 Print: “Up the Hudson” Harper’s Weekly, July 30, 1870 (1 item, 23 x 35 cm. on board 35 x 46 cm.)
EL 3 Broadside: “Navigation,” reprint of an article by William B. Elmendorf, Albany Argus, December 1903 (2 copies, 33 x 28 cm.)
EL 4 Caricature of William B. Elmendorf, by Farnum, 1906 (1 item, 48 x 25 cm.)
EL 5 Troy Times Art Section, August 15, 1908 (1 item 4 p., 59 x 45 cm.)
Last Updated: October 22, 2015