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James Buchanan Eads Collection, 1776-1974

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Identifier: A0427

Title: James Buchanan Eads Collection, 1776-1974


World-renowned engineer James Buchanan Eads was born May 23, 1820, in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and moved to St. Louis with his family in 1833. In 1842 he embarked on a successful steamboat salvage business. During the Civil War, he was awarded a federal government contract to build ironclad gunboats. Soon after the close of the war, he began work on designing a bridge to span the Mississippi River at St. Louis. Completed in 1874, the Illinois and St. Louis Bridge (later known as the Eads Bridge), the bridge was deemed a miracle of engineering. Eads then designed the South Pass Jetties to connect New Orleans with the ocean. He later devised a plan to construct a shop railway across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This ship railway was never constructed. He died March 8, 1887, in Nassau, Bahama Islands. Eads married Martha Dillon in 1845, and they had three children. His wife died in 1852, and in 1854 he married Eunice Hagerman, a widow.

The collection contains professional and personal correspondence of James B. Eads with Edward Bates, Gideon Welles, Gustavus Fox, Henry Taylor Blow, Frank P. Blair, Jr., Baron Gerolt, and others. Includes papers relating to Eads' construction of gunboats during the Civil War and the construction of the Illinois and St. Louis Bridge (also known as the Eads Bridge). The collection also includes 20th-century newspaper clippings regarding James B. Eads and relations; cancelled stock certificates in the Tunnel Railroad of St. Louis and the St. Louis Bridge Company; invitations to the opening of the Illinois and St. Louis Bridge; promissory notes; Eads' scrapbook of newspaper clippings (1881) relating to his plan to build a ship railway across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; and papers relating to the genealogy of the McHenry family.

Finding aid available.

2 boxes; 2 oversize folders

Cite as: James Buchanan Eads Collection, Missouri History Museum Archives, St. Louis.

Rights: UND

Place: United States
St Louis

Dates: 1776-1974

Type(s): Documentary Artifacts

Maker/Creator: Eads, James Buchanan, 1820-1887

Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Armed Forces
Eads Bridge (Saint Louis, Mo.)
Stock certificates


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