Documents related to the Balsas Valley Navigation and Improvement Company (Compania de Navegacio y Mejoras del Valle y Rio
Balsas Mexico) that operated a navigation concession on the Balsas River in the Mexican states of Michoacan and Guerrero from
1909 to 1921. The main partners in the company were Luis Terrazas, Jr. and Frank S. Kirkland. Materials include documents
and newspaper clippings related to the company and to other enterprises in northern Mexico. The collection contains some
personal correspondence and items belonging to the company's last proprietor, William C. Ammerman. Also included is a typescript
by N. Johnson entitled "A Study in Mexican Entrepreneurship by Two North Americans in the Early 20th Century: Rio Balsas Company
and Related Enterprises." The material is arranged in four series: 1) BALSAS COMPANY DOCUMENTS, 2) RELATED HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS,
3) MISCELLANEOUS, and 4) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
The Balsas Valley Navigation and Improvement Company was founded as an outgrowth of a navigation concession granted by the
Mexican government on March 18, 1909. Confirmed by full Congress on April 8, 1909, the contract granted Luis Terrazas, Jr.
and Frank S. Kirkland the rights to navigate the full distance of the Rio Balsas through the states of Michoacan and Guerrero.
Terrazas, the son of the prominent governor of the state of Chihuahua, and Kirkland, an engineer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
formed a partnership that benefited from the political connections of the Mexican national and the technical skill of the
American engineer. Establishing offices in both Chihuahua and Mexico City, the company aimed to become a great trading monopoly
by creating a riverboat-railroad system that would allow the Balsas Valley's great resources of timber, ores, and agriculture
to be removed and transported from the region.