As the 4th anniversary of this blog nears (November 12) I’ve been revisiting research that was near impossible when I began it. The namesake of this blog was Island 94, formerly sitting within the Mississippi River, which I was introduced to through the very excellent book When the Mississippi Ran Backwards by Jay Feldman. When I first started this blog, it was very difficult to find primary sources through the internet. Fortunately, many libraries and archives have worked to digitize their collections and make them available online. Because of that there is a lot more to say about this blog’s namesake and inspiration.


The title page above is from Zadok Cramer’s The Navigator, a navigational aid published when the Mississippi was a navigational challenge—before the Army Corps of Engineers pulled the snags, built the levees and made it all into a generally uninteresting commercial thoroughfare. It is from the 1824 edition published after Cramer’s death and after the absence of the Island 94 for which this blog is named.

As you can tell from the ample account given even on its title page, this book is from a day when to publish something, you had to really mean it.