Here are a few interesting items that I stumbled on while poking around and doing some reading. Click on each of the images below to see higher resolution versions.
The following image is from an 1882 Harper's cartoon.
In it, King Neptune releases his ruthless force through the deluge of the Mississippi River, engulfing tiny villages along its unrestrained path. In the background, the female personification of the South seeks the protection of Columbia (representing the federal government).Strange, when I look at Neptune, he definitely looks like he is at the mercy of the force he has unleashed. Very apropos, but not mentioned in the formal explanation of the cartoon. Am I reading too much into it?
The following cartoon is called Old Man River, and I found it on the History of Geology. This cartoon is from 1927 and was published in a paper called the Ledger. That's Herbert Hoover in the background proposing higher levees.
Less cartoon-ish but interesting nonetheless is this image below from Popular Science Monthly, dated June of 1928 (you just have to love Google books sometimes). This is a map of the Mississippi River that exaggerates the height of the Mississippi in comparison to the surrounding land.
The article goes on to describe the theory as to why this is the case...and how it is this height which is the systemic problem causing continual flooding.
Finally, in a true piece of randomness, as I paged through this same 1928 publication, I stumbled across the article below. Now I am not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination but I could swear that this might be the hint of microwave dinners galore. Pretty neat.