F. Channing Soule (1914-1980) of Fayetteville, NY was instrumental in establishing the Canal Society of New York State and, for many years, served on its board of directors. That dedication was partly based on a long family association with Upstate businesses and waterways. The Soule family has long been active in the commercial life in the Syracuse area. The Merrell-Soule Company had several food-processing facilities along the Erie Canal in the late 19th-century.
Mr. Soule was an avid researcher and collector of canal material. He extensively traveled the New York State waterways as well as those in Canada and Europe. While doing so, he amassed a collection of several hundred 35mm color transparencies that documented the structures and activities. Additionally, he collected approximately 3,000 historic postcards on canal communities. Most of these images are of canal scenes in Central New York, reflecting his own local area. There is also extensive coverage of canals beyond New York State. There are many postcards that came from his special interest in Canadian and European canals.