On this day 104 years ago, the designer of St. Louis’s greatest monument was born. Eero Saarinen entered a design competition for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in 1947. He didn’t live to see the Gateway Arch completed in 1965, but he discussed his vision in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch interview reprinted in the book Lion of the Valley by James Neal Primm: Read more »
In this letter, James mentions that he was paroled with 600 other officers a few days earlier. The exact reason and circumstances for his parole are not known. However, it may have related to the Union shelling of Charleston, which started in 1863, and the resulting movement of prisoners, by both sides, to the area under fire. In June 1864, Confederate major general Samuel Jones requested the transfer of 50 Union prisoners to Charleston, to be placed in the area of the city that was being shelled by the Union. He hoped this action would encourage the Union to stop bombing the city.Read more »
One hundred years after St. Louis produced the Pageant and Masque in 1914, the small village of Bedous, France, commissioned a pastorale to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis. The events took place on August 4–5, and I was honored to have the extraordinary opportunity to attend as the official representative of the City of St. Louis and the Missouri History Museum. Read more »
One hundred years ago, on August 4, 1914, World War I officially began when Germany invaded Belgium. The United States remained neutral in the beginning, but by 1917 the nation was facing a public relations crisis. President Woodrow Wilson had won re-election in 1916 with the slogan "He kept us out of war.” However, after repeated German attacks on merchant ships in 1915 and 1916, along with the interception of the Zimmerman Telegram in 1917 (a proposal from Germany for Mexico to attack the United States), the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. Read more »
Since his last letter, James was one of many prisoners moved from Camp Oglethorpe in Macon, Georgia, to Charleston, South Carolina. The first group of 50 officers left Macon on June 10, 1864, and arrived in Charleston two days later. They were jailed near the wharf, under fire from Union guns on nearby Morris Island, in an attempt to stop the shelling of the city. As James mentions in this letter, the officers in this group were exchanged on August 3. James was part of a second group of 400 officers moved to Charleston. By this time, Union general William T.Read more »
The Museum's upcoming exhibit, Utopia: Revisiting a German State in America, has ended a three-month run in Bremen, Germany, and is headed for American shores. And much like the Germans who immigrated to Missouri to establish their own German State in the 1800s, the Utopia exhibit is crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a boat. Read more »
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