Collectors' Corner: Covering the Covers
It is safe to say the 1960s and early 1970s were very confusing in terms of Know Your Ships' history. Some years, the same book had two different covers. Or a cover bearing the name The Soo Locks: The Seaway Issue would also appear. Other years, if there were a lot of copies left over from the previous year, a new cover seems to have been stapled on with a new title page. Then, when those ran out, a "real" edition for that year was published. Here, to the best of our knowledge, is the lowdown on the different early editions.
1959: First edition. Lemoyne on the cover. Availability: rare
1960: South American on the cover. Availability: rare
1961: Not published.
1962: Elton Hoyt 2nd on cover. Availability: rare
1963: This was the most challenging year of all for collectors. There appears to have been four different covers, under two different book titles. Know Your Ships appeared with the Ernest R. Breech on one cover and the Edward L. Ryerson on another. The year marked the first appearance of The Soo Locks cover, one with Ernest R. Breech on and the other with the Scott Misener. The insides of all the books are Know Your Ships. Speculation was that the book called The Soo Locks was branded that way to sell specifically in Sault Ste. Marie, while the Know Your Ships brand was to be sold elsewhere. No explanation exists, however, as why there are two different covers in each brand. Availability: All are extremely rare.
1964: The same photo of the Scott Misener as was used in 1963 was on the cover of The Soo Locks and Know Your Ships. The insides were the same. Availability: rare
1965: Know Your Ships had the Philip R. Clarke on one cover and Saguenay on another. The insides were the same. This was done to try and increase sales in Canada by having a Canadian boat on one cover. Availability: Both rare, the Saguenay cover the rarer of the two. Reports have also surfaced of an edition with the Edward L. Ryerson on the cover.
In 1965, Tom Manse came out with a completely different book called The Soo Locks, which had no vessel listings, but lots of pictures and information about the Soo Locks and area. It was basically a tourist guide. Clocking in at 80 pages, it had a yellow cover top and bottom and a picture of the William J. Filbert coming out of the lock. We've added a summation of The Soo Locks book publication history at the end of this list.
1966: Only one cover/edition, picturing the Benson Ford. Availability: rare
1967: Only one cover/edition, picturing the South American. Availability: rare
1968: A.H. Ferbert was on one cover, Sir Denys Lowson was on another. The insides were the same, done to try and increase sales in Canada by having a Canadian boat on the cover. Availability: Both rare, the Lowson cover the rarer of the two
1969: Edward L. Ryerson was on the cover. However, buyer beware! There was another edition with the Ryerson on the cover that contains the 1968 book, with a wraparound on yellow paper saying it was the 1970 edition "updated." Yes, very confusing. Availability: moderate
1970: There were two books. The actual 1970 book, with the Arthur B. Homer on the cover, was all new. An alternate cover, picturing the saltie Ioanna V, was just the 1969 book with a yellow sheet bound in containing listings updates. There may have been a lot of copies of the 1969 book left over and Tom Manse didn't want them to go to waste. Availability: Homer cover is common; Ioanna V edition is moderately rare.
1971: Cover shows the saltie Adel Weert Wiards at Duluth. Only one edition this year. Availability: rare
1972: Diamond Alkali loading. Only one edition this year. Availability: rare
1973: Roger Blough on the cover. Only one edition this year. Availability: moderate
1974: Stewart J. Cort was on the cover, but another edition featured the Duluth tour boat Vista Queen on the cover. This edition was done specifically for the Vista Fleet to sell on board their Duluth tour boats, so the first four pages of the book contained information on the Duluth area. Otherwise, both books were the same. Availability: moderate, with the Vista Queen cover being the rarer of the two.
1975: There were three different covers, with the main cover featuring the Ralph Misener. Another pictured the passenger boat Ste. Claire, while the final once showed the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.-based excursion boat Chief Shingwauk. The latter two were done to sell aboard the respective vessels - the insides were the same. Availability: moderate, with the Ste. Claire and Chief Shingwauk covers being the rarer.
1976: McKee Sons was on the cover. Only one edition this year. Availability: moderate
1977: Senator of Canada was on the cover. Only one edition this year. Availability: moderate
1978: There were two covers for 1978, one with the Black Bay and the other with the Helen Evans. The Black Bay cover was done as a favor to Canada Steamship Lines and not too many were printed. The insides were the same. After 1978, things settled down and there was only one book/cover each year. Availability: Helen Evans cover is common; Black Bay cover is moderately rare.
1979: Pierson's Daughters was on the cover. Only one edition this year. Availability: common
1980: Saltwater vessel Robin was on the cover. Only one edition this year. Availability: moderate
1981: Trainferry Chief Wawatam was on the cover. Availability: moderate
After 1981, only one edition was published each year. The availability through the present day is common. Available back issues are listed in our Catalog.
The Soo Locks
In 1965, Tom Manse came out with a book called The Soo Locks, which had no vessel listings, but lots of pictures and information about the Soo Locks and area. It was basically a tourist guide. The 1965 Soo Locks had a yellow cover top and bottom, with a picture of the William J. Filbert coming out of the lock on the cover. Availability: rare
In 1968, there was an edition of The Soo Locks with the Frank A. Sherman on the cover. This edition could be distinguished from the later, 1970, edition because the words The Soo Locks were printed on a light green background. In the 1970 book, the words were printed on an orange background. Availability: common
In the early 1970s, Tom Manse was asked by Soo Locks Boat Tours to publish a book that could be sold on their boats. This resulted in "Souvenir Guide of Our Sight-Seeing Tour Thru the World Famous Soo Locks." The cover was a photograph of a boat-tour diorama that used to stand on Portage Avenue in Sault Ste. Marie. There was an abbreviated vessel listing inside, and much of the text follows the narration given on the tour boats. There were at least three different editions of this book. Availability: common
There was one other 1970s-era book bearing the name The Soo Locks. This one, with a horizontal image of the tour boat Chief Shingwauk on the cover, was really the 1968 Know Your Ships with the original cover removed and with a Soo Locks cover added. Availability: moderately rare
After these editions, The Soo Locks brand disappeared until its revival in 2000. It is now in its second printing. Availability: common
Other books published by Thomas Manse
Small Craft Boating Manual (1967), under the Wolverine Publishers brand)
Tri-County Travel Guide (1967)
Know Your Lakers of World War II (1978) by Rev. Edward J. Dowling S.J.
The Valley Camp Story: From an Ore Ship to a Museum Ship (1975)