By the time James wrote this letter, he had been a prisoner for six months, and, based on the tone of the letter, the time started to take a toll. General exchanges of prisoners had stopped the previous summer, largely due to disagreements over the exchange of black Union soldiers that were held by the Confederates. James’s only hope was to obtain a special exchange.
Last month, the city rolled out the red carpet to celebrate 250 years since its founding. And here at the Missouri History Museum, we opened a yearlong exhibit called 250 in 250, which features the stories of 50 People, 50 Places, 50 Images, 50 Moments, and 50 Objects. Read more »
Nothing is stranger than seeing a person reading about herself in a history museum exhibition. I wrote the panel about Frankie Freeman for the 50 People section of 250 in 250, and seeing the real Freeman standing right in front of it felt nearly surreal. Freeman continued through the rest of the 50 People in the exhibit. Read more »
While James remained in Libby Prison still hoping for an exchange, his regiment, the 8th Kansas Infantry, returned to St. Louis on furlough. Since the Battle of Chickamauga, where James was wounded, the regiment had participated in the siege and battle of Chattanooga, and several other battles in the area. On February 20, 1864, they arrived in St. Louis, where they reunited with their former commander, General William S. Rosecrans, and had a dinner prepared by the citizens of the city. After a few days in St. Louis, the regiment left to return home to Kansas.Read more »
On March 29, an exciting new exhibit opens at the Museum—one that asks children and their grownups what they want to see in a space to be created just for them! History Clubhouse: Let’s Build It! engages families to interact with and explore some of St. Louis's favorite places, such as Soulard Market, Cahokia, and downtown St. Louis, in a gallery setting. The feedback we get from families will be incorporated into the permanent History Clubhouse gallery, opening in 2015. Read more »
The photo at left is of Russell Froelich, a photographer who worked for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, and the St. Louis Star in the first half of the twentieth century. At first glance, I thought this image was an old-time version of a selfie. More likely it was not taken in front of a mirror but rather by another photographer. Read more »
James’s hopes of getting out of Libby Prison were briefly lifted by two events, an exchange of prisoners and an expedition to release Union soldiers held in Confederate prisons in Richmond, Virginia, including Libby. In early February 1864, Union brigadier general H. Judson Kilpatrick met with President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, who approved Kilpatrick’s plan for a raid on Richmond. Kilpatrick and his detachment of approximately 3,000 troops reached the city on March 2 after destroying Confederate rail lines on the way.Read more »
The Gillette Family Garden on the Museum's east lawn has been a tremendous resource for K–12 students visiting the Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello exhibition. Our young Museum visitors have been engaged with the garden, which helped them discover history about the lives of the enslaved families who lived at Monticello. They also gained a sense of the political, social, cultural, and economic developments that shaped lives during the Antebellum period and how those currents worked to shape American life today. Read more »
Actor and screenwriter Harold Ramis has died from complications of a rare autoimmune disease. He co-wrote Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, and Groundhog Day, among other blockbusters.
But his first big screenplay was the result of living here in St. Louis. Chicago native Ramis attended Washington University, and his experiences in the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity inspired his screenplay for Animal House. (He later served on the university’s board of trustees for eight years.) Read more »
History happens right here! Find stories, images, and artifacts from the object collections and archives of the Missouri History Museum, as well as behind-the-scenes videos, book reviews, news stories, and musings from our irrepressible staff. We welcome reader contributions, too—contact us.