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Saint Lawrence Seaway Collection

Saint Lawrence Seaway Collection

Collection Number: 
40
Collection Length: 
30.00ft
Period: 
1907 to 1960
Finding Aid: 

The idea of a "seaway" dates back to 1892 when U.S. Rep. John Lind of Minnesota sponsored a resolution in Congress for a joint U.S.-Canadian investigation into the possibility of building a deep-draft waterway from the head of Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean. In 1921 the International Joint Commission recommended that the U.S. and Canada enter into a treaty for a joint power and navigation project on the St. Lawrence River and Roosevelt recommended it again in 1943 but each time was rejected by the Senate. On May 13, 1954, President Eisenhower signed the Wiley-Dondero Act (the Seaway Act) into law which established the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation as the U.S. agency to work with the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority the Canadian counterpart in the construction, operation, maintenance and development of the water route. Construction of the Seaway began in January 1955 and was completed in 1959. The Seaway was opened to traffic on April 25, 1959 and was officially dedicated on June 26 and 27, 1959 with ceremonies in Montreal, Quebec, and Massena, New York. The collection is divided into five series: Series I - The Mabee Series was donated by Carleton Mabee a professor at Clarkson University who authored "A Seaway Story". This series includes his notes, scrapbooks, photographs, newspaper clippings and pamphlets about navigation, background information, progress of construction and national and local reaction to development of the seaway and the power facilities. Series II - The Sillcox Series was donated by Lewis K. Sillcox, President of New York Air Brake in Watertown, NY and had strong ties to the Railroad industry. This series includes speeches, pamphlets and newspaper clippings on the struggle to win Congressional approval and public acceptance of the seaway. Many of the materials are published by anti-seaway groups such as the Association of American Railroads and the National St. Lawrence Project Conference. Series III - The St. Lawrence University Series was compiled by Andrew Peters, University Librarian. This series consists of newspaper clippings and articles on the seaway from North Country papers during the seaway's construction years, photographs, speeches, organization's publications and maps. Series IV - The Reed Series was donated by George S. Reed attorney from Lowville, New York, trustee and vice chairman for the Power Authority of the State of New York (PASNY), and a trustee for St. Lawrence University Board from 1944 to 1952. This series consists of government documents, legal briefs, and texts of speeches made by him about the role of PASNY in the building of the Seaway. Series V - Additional miscellaneous materials that have not been processed. St. Lawrence University acquired this collection in 1987.