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Archives from the MHM Collection
1, November 2017

What Survivors Had to Say

In 1855 the Pacific Railroad was completed from St. Louis to Jefferson City, an achievement four years in the making. To celebrate the railroad’s progress, 600 special guests were invited to take a train ride to the Missouri capital. On November 1, 1855, St. Louis officials and dignitaries boarded train cars and settled in for the journey, confident of their safe arrival despite stormy weather. Read more »

12, October 2017

Hidden Gems of Our Manuscript Archives

The Missouri Historical Society's Manuscript Archives contain more than 3,000 individual collections that range in size from a single document to 1,800 boxes full of documents. The vast array of material makes it difficult, if not impossible, for us archivists to know what’s in all of them. However, through our two primary tasks—processing collections and assisting researchers—we get to know the collections better.  Read more »

10, October 2017

Hidden Gems of Our Photos & Prints Archives

I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Missouri Historical Society's photograph and print collections for 20 years now, and even in that amount of time there are still images I’ve never seen. We have more than 900 distinct collections of related images that include, at our best estimate, about 1 million pictures. Some collections, such as the Easterly Daguerreotype Collection, and anything having to do with the 1904 World’s Fair, the riverfront, or St. Read more »

30, August 2017

The Case of the Mysterious Blue Writing

One of the most magnificent rooms in all of mid-19th-century St. Louis was . . . a private library in a Carondelet home. That home, and many of the more than 900 books within it, belonged to Henry T. Blow, a lawyer who made most of his fortune through manufacturing and mining. He also spent time in Venezuela and Brazil as a U.S. ambassador. Blow is a prominent St. Louis figure even now, as is his daughter, Susan, the well-educated, well-traveled woman who brought public kindergarten to the United States. Read more »

14, August 2017

History in the Heavens

It’s a rare day I’d say this, but on the early afternoon of August 21, I really hope you’re NOT inside the Missouri History Museum. In fact, I hope you’re not even in Forest Park! If you are, you’ll miss the history happening outside. Read more »

4, April 2017

The Most Disgraceful Election in American Politics

One of the beautiful things about the Missouri History Museum’s Library (aside from the setting, of course), is that sometimes you can come across some pretty cool stuff by accident. While working on a long-term project of inventorying and rehousing single-issue newspapers from our collections, we recently stumbled onto some amazing headlines from the front page of The St. Louis Chronicle concerning St. Louis’s mayoral race in 1901. Read more »

24, March 2017

Meet the Potters

St. Louis has a long tradition of cultivating both artists and avenues for delivering their work to receptive audiences. River Styx magazine, for one, has been a vessel for poetry, art, fiction, and nonfiction since 1975, presenting work from Pulitzer Prize winners, poets laureate, and novices alike. Read more »

20, February 2017

Breaking News: President Kennedy's Assassination

Last October, I received a letter from retired newspaper reporter Ted Pollard. In it he offered to donate a document related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Although he lives in Ohio now, for about six months in 1963 Pollard worked on the business desk of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. Each day he watched the incoming tapes of the noontime quotes from the Dow Jones business-wire machine, which sat next to the main, broad-tape teletype device that carried major news stories from the Associated Press (AP). Read more »

16, November 2016

Broken Glass Negatives? No Problem!

As an archivist in the Museum's Photographs and Prints department, I’m continually amazed at the variety of photographic materials we have in our collections. We have cased images, film negatives, and silver gelatin prints, just to name a few. But my newest favorites are the glass-plate negatives in the Swekosky Notre Dame College Collection, which date from the 1880s through the 1920s. Read more »

28, October 2016

Images in Reverse: A Look at Photographic Negatives

The photographs of the St. Louis Public Schools Collection provide a new look at St. Louis history from the viewpoint of one of the region’s oldest public school systems. The negatives alone offer over a century’s worth of memories, dating from the early 1900s into the 2000s. As one of the archivists for this collection, I’m responsible for carefully identifying the types of negatives I’m working with to ensure their proper preservation and storage. Here’s a crash course on identifying and storing photographic negatives—it may even help you with negatives you have at home! Read more »