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Canal Construction in Indiana - Bibliography

Note: Please refer to additional resources in the Canal Mania in Indiana issue dated June 1997.

A Note Regarding Resources: Items are listed on this page that enhance work with the topic discussed. Some older items, especially, may include dated practices and ideas that are no longer generally accepted. Resources reflecting current practices are noted whenever possible.

Castaldi, Thomas E. Wabash & Erie Canal Notebook: Allen County and Huntington County, Indiana. Fort Wayne, IN: Thomas E. Castaldi, 1995.
Makes available 1990 (revised) and 1992 articles; illustrations.

Log Book and Ancestry of Myron Safford Webb, 1840. Sarasota, FL: Aceto Bookmen, 1985.
The 1840 log book documents Webb's departure from Indiana and his return to Vermont often via canals; provided biographical material.

Paul, John Peter. "We Run the Canal Line" being the Diary of John Peter Paul, a member of the party engaged in the preliminary survey of the Wabash & Erie Canal in the year 1827. Crawfordsville, IN: R. E. Banta, 1933.
A useful first person account of a canal surveyor. See pp. 4-5 of this issue.

Shaw, Ronald E. Canals for a Nation: The Canal Era in the United States, 1790-1860. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 1990.
Has a very useful section on the canals of the Old Northwest.

Tanner, H. S. A Description of the Canals and Rail Roads of the United States, Comprehending Notices of All the Works of Internal Improvement throughout the Several States. New York: T. R. Tanner & J. Disturnell, 1840.
Contains a very useful and extensive glossary.

Thomas, Samuel W., and Eugene H. Conner, eds. The Journals of Increase Allen Lapham for 1827-1830. Louisville, KY: G. R. Clark Press, Inc., 1973.
Journals of a young man who worked on the Kentucky canal at the Falls of the Ohio.

Tunis, Edwin. Frontier Living. Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1961.
A good, general source on pioneer life; good illustrations.

Way, Peter. Common Labor: Workers and the Digging of North American Canals, 1780-1860. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.
A very useful and thorough study demonstrating the importance of canals and canal workers in labor and transportation history.

Additional Resources

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal: A Guide to Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park . . . . Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1991.
Contains useful and interesting information and illustrations.

Gieck, Jack. A Photo Album of Ohio's Canal Era, 1825-1913. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1988.
Excellent source with wonderful early photographs of Ohio canals.

Harlow, Alvin F. Old Towpaths: The Story of the American Canal Era. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1926.
A good, general overview of canals in the U.S.

Shank, William H. Towpaths to Tugboats: A History of American Canal Engineering. York, PA: The American Canal and Transportation Center, 1982.
Informative and interesting overview of canals.

Shaw, Ronald E. Erie Water West: A History of the Erie Canal, 1792-1854. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1966.
Excellent history of the Erie Canal.

Spangenburg, Ray, and Diane K. Moser. The Story of America's Canals. New York: Facts on File, 1992.
Informative overview of early to modern canals.

Wilcox, Frank. The Ohio Canals. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1969.
Contains beautiful sketches and paintings of Ohio's early canals, canal boats, and canal people.

Suggested student resources

Harness, Cheryl. The Amazing Impossible Erie Canal. New York: Macmillan Books for Young Readers, 1995.
Colorful drawings illustrate this history of the building of the Erie Canal and its effects on the developing nation; for elementary and middle school readers.

Parker, Nancy Winslow. Locks, Crocs, & Skeeters: The Story of the Panama Canal. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1996.
Construction of the Panama Canal presented through individuals involved with the project, colorful illustrations, and poetry; for elementary school readers.

St. George, Judith. Panama Canal: Gateway to the World. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1989.
A history of the Panama Canal presented in text and photographs; from the canal's conception through the signing of the 1977 U.S.-Panama treaties; for middle school readers.

Special thanks to

  • Barbara J. Hembree, Indiana Historical Bureau, for her continuing work in transcribing the journals of Myron S. Webb.
  • Dani B. Pfaff, Indiana Historical Bureau, for her extensive research assistance.
  • Martha Wright, Indiana State Library, for the use of her personal canal photographs.
  • The staffs of the Indiana State Library, Indiana State Archives, and Indiana Historical Society for research assistance.
  • The Ohio Historical Society for generously providing materials from its extensive collections.
  • Charles D. Townsend, Aceto Bookmen, for his donation of Myron S. Webb materials.