The Madisonian

The Stuff of Historic Madison Indiana

Charles A. Daugherty and the Scratchboard Steamboats?

J.M White By Charles A. Daugherty - 1970

J.M White By Charles A. Daugherty – 1970

So a friend handed me these four drawings of steamboats that he had discovered in a box in his garage, they had been in the box in his garage and not seen the light of day for over fifteen years he says. Looking over the Internet to find some information about the artist proved futile until, quite by chance I emailed the owner of after reading his ‘people’ page. The mention of Charles A. Daugherty was enough for me to fire off an email, on a hunch. Most of the hunch was based on the name mentioned and the general area of Kentucky these good folks rooted from, specifically Howell Valley, Three Springs and Louisville.

I was searching the net for an artist names Charles A. Daugherty who did steamboat paddle wheelers in the 1970’s. From reading your site I learned you have a half brother of that name, possibly from southern Indiana. The four drawings were acquired in Madison IN, and I’m trying to find any info on this artist named Charles A. Daugherty. So far the net has yielded nothing.

Any assistance would greatly be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Morning Star By Charles A. Daugherty - 1970

Morning Star By Charles A. Daugherty – 1970

I was pleasantly surprised to say the  least when this email found my inbox just a day later! Certainly didn’t expect any answer let alone a positive ‘hit’.  🙂

Hi Bob,
Yes that is the work of my half brother, he did several paddle wheel drawings for several of the banks in Louisville in the 60’s.
I will forward this also to his son (my nephew) Charles P. Daugherty and if he will contact you he can answer many of the questions you may have!

A few more days pass and then the artists son sends along this historical information about them. Amazing what one can find out!

Charles A. Daugherty was my father. He taught architectural drafting in Louisville, also taught at Fort Knox and called himself a “jack of all trades and a master of none”.  The riverboat artwork was based on old photographs that were on lone from the Howard Steamboat Museum in Jeffersonville IN. Ironically while the photos were in dad’s posession there was a fire at the museum so these one of a kind bits of history were saved from being lost for good!  Each picture is of an actual boat as depicted in the photos.  I remember that style of ink line drawing was very time consuming and each one took days or weeks. I don’t remember how many drawings he did in all. I have three and I think the “Donora” was my favorite, it may have been the first one and I like stern wheelers. Charlie
Donora By Charles A. Daugherty - 1970

Donora By Charles A. Daugherty – 1970

Now the scans of these pictured do them absolutely no justice at all. They are very ‘crisp’ and the India ink is very black, unlike the pictures here. On close inspection the artwork is on a very heavy paper board and the signature at least appear to be originals signed in lead pencil. The pictures themselves do not appear to be originals (however with a authentic signature and no numbering, makes me wonder) as I’m thinking they are ink art done with the scratchboard technique. They may not be scratchboard at all and maybe someone will drop by and shed some light on the actual process of these great works of art.

Indiana By Charles A. Daugherty - 1970

Indiana By Charles A. Daugherty – 1970


You can get a better view and feel for these works in the photo galley using full screen mode and slide show.


4 Responses to “Charles A. Daugherty and the Scratchboard Steamboats?”

  1. Cindy Combs

    We have several of these sketches signed and numbered by Charles A Daugherty. We would like to see the worth of these items.


  2. Ric Kimpel

    I too was doing a web search on this artist. I found my way to this page. My Mom was going through some old papers and has six none numbered prints of two separate pictures. (Though they are not numbered, they are of an amazing quality as if they *should* be numbered.) My Grandfather is originally from Floyd’s Knobs and visited his family often in the area. My Mom picked them up after my uncle placed them in a *Toss* pile after my grandparents had died.

    Two of the prints are of the Belle of Louisville.

    Four are a print named The Greatest Race on the River, which has The Belle of Louisville and The Delta Queen. My Mom is originally from New Albany and actually will be in Madison this August for a Family Reunion.

    I have suggested that she brings them with her to the Reunion and perhaps stop by the Historic Society to have them checked out. Any contact info would be very much appreciated. Thank You.

  3. admin

    I would love to digitally scan those if she does bring them to Madison to add to this basic article so others can learn about the art and artist. I live just 2 blocks from the Jefferson county Historical Society.

    I have his sons email address if you would like it.

  4. admin

Leave a Reply

What is 22 + 26 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)