Emmett R. Dowdell Collection

Identifier: GLMS-0037

Collection Overview


Pictorial and printed material regarding the Great Lakes sailing career of Emmet R. Dowdell and his leisure activities after retirement. Scrapbooks contain photographs, clippings, and brochures spanning the years 1860-1976, including views of vessels and street scenes in Lakewood and Lorain, Ohio.


  • 1860-1976


1 Cubic Feet (1 record storage carton)


Scope and Contents

The collection contains pictorial and printed material regarding the Great Lakes sailing career of Emmett R. Dowdell and his leisure activities after retirement. Two scrapbooks form the largest series in the collection. Volume 1 contains photographs, clippings, postage stamps, greeting cards, and brochures spanning the years 1860-1976. Most items are of twentieth century origin. The subjects of these items include views of vessels on which Dowdell was employed and other Great Lakes freighters. Street scenes in Lakewood and Lorain, Ohio show buildings, sporting events, and the Lorain harbor.

Greeting cards and brochures form a large portion of scrapbook one and reflect holiday greetings and vacation plans form Dowdell's personal life. The cards offer researchers with an interest in American popular culture a view of the conventional forms of expressing get well, holiday, and birthday wishes from the 1950s to the 1970s. Brochures offer information on popular leisure activities and travel destinations. The second scrapbook is more narrowly focused on events in November 1958 surrounding the sinking of the CARL D. BRADLEY. All the clippings in this volume relate to the BRADLEY and its crew.

Printed material not placed in the scrapbooks is similar to the bound items. Vacation literature and Great Lakes vessel information are the subject matter for these materials. Items here date from 1913-1976.

A set of nine photographs not bound in scrapbook one complete the collection. Of significance here is a 1920 photograph of Dowdell on the deck of the VERONA with his crewmates.

An index of vessels and Midwest locations appearing in the scrapbooks is linked to this finding aid in the External Documents section.

Biographical Sketch

Emmett R. Dowdell was born April 5, 1891 in Lorain, Ohio. Dowdell began a career sailing on commercial Great Lakes vessels c.1910. The selection of scrapbook items in this collection notes that Dowdell achieved ratings for oiler and wheelsman. Emmett and Blanch Dowdell were married July 7, 1924 and retired in Escondido, California, in the 1950s. Emmett Dowdell died in 1976.

Conditions Governing Access

No known access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers using this collection assume full responsibility for conforming to the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright, and are responsible for securing permissions necessary for publication or reproduction.

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated to the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes on May 3, 1976 by Joseph Hentges



Guide to the Emmett R. Dowdell Collection
Mark Sprang
December 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note