We have just published the 100th letter in the Civil War Love Letters series. The series follows the life of a Union soldier named James Love, who faithfully writes letters to his fiancee, Molly Wilson, in St. Louis. We have been publishing the contents of each letter, along with links to the original version, 150 years to the day that James wrote each one. If you haven't been following the series, here is a chance to get caught up. We've compiled the highlights of the first 100 letters into a handy recap below. Read more »
In this letter, James writes of copperheads, good news from Vicksburg and Fredericksburg, and a newspaper article about Charles Drake. The term "copperheads" referred to northerners who opposed the war and the abolition of slavery, and favored immediate peace. James clearly had no kind words for them. Regarding the good news, by early May 1863, Union general Ulysses S. Grant was several weeks into his campaign to take Vicksburg, Mississippi. When James wrote this letter, the campaign was by no means complete, but had so far succeeded better than previous attempts.Read more »
I was very excited to begin my internship at the Missouri History Museum in last August. Although my position as a K–12 Educational Interpreter Intern has been quite rewarding, it comes with its share of challenges. As a graduate student I was no stranger to overcoming obstacles, but MHM would provide me with my biggest challenge yet: I was given the opportunity to create the educational component for the exhibit Question Bridge: Black Males (open through June 16). Schools from all over the St. Read more »
While James remained in Nashville, writing about a poem from a recent issue of Harper’s Monthly and his memories of evenings in Molly’s parlor with her sister Sallie and brother John, other forces under the command of Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and William S. Rosecrans focused on control of the southern part of the Mississippi River, especially around Vicksburg, Mississippi. Grant had already started his campaign to take Vicksburg, and Major General Grenville M. Dodge, who commanded part of Grant’s Army of the Tennessee, led his forces on an expedition into Alabama.Read more »
Back in 1898, Pierre Chouteau (representing the Missouri Historical Society) began a campaign to bring a World’s Fair Exposition to St. Louis. Committees formed and plans were made, with Fair planners ultimately choosing Forest Park as the site for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. There was a stipulation, however, that Forest Park would be returned to a park after the Fair was over. Just one building could remain, the Palace of Fine Arts, which houses the Saint Louis Art Museum today. The Fair opened on April 30, 1904, to a crowd of 200,000 people. Read more »
At 12:15 p.m., on the afternoon of April 30, 1904, David R. Francis declared, “Open ye gates. Swing wide, ye portals.” With those words, the grandest event in St. Louis history was underway. Nearly 190,000 people ascended on Forest Park for the opening day of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, remembered today as the 1904 World’s Fair. Read more »
Sixty years ago this week, a story that inspired a Hollywood movie was unfolding in South St. Louis. On the morning of April 24, 1953, a gang of bandits from Chicago attempted a heist at Southwest Bank at the intersection of Southwest and Kingshighway.
As the bank’s alarm sounded, officers Melburn Stein and Robert Heitz were first on the scene, Heitz heading to the side entrance while Stein went for the front door. A shootout followed, wounding Heitz. When bullets whizzed above Stein’s head, he ducked behind a newspaper vending machine outside. Read more »
While James remained in Nashville, where Union officials continued to drive out any resident who would not sign an oath, other members of the Army of the Cumberland went on an expedition from Murfreesborough to McMinnville, Tennessee. Major General Joseph J. Reynolds commanded the force of 6,600 troops that, during the course of the expedition, destroyed railroads, burned bridges, and captured prisoners. On April 21, Colonel John T. Wilder and his brigade took possession of McMinnville.
Hd. Qts. 8th Ks. Vols. Nashville Tenn April 25th 1863
This week is National Library Week, and that got us thinking about an incredible St. Louis institution that is going to be part of our 250 in 250 exhibition. Before there was a Fox, a Peabody, or a St. Louis Speakers Series; before there was a Chess Hall of Fame; and before there was a Missouri Historical Society, Read more »
This week, a year’s worth of work by five teenagers, members of the Museum’s Teens Make History program, concluded with the opening of the exhibition Between Two Worlds: Veterans Journey Home. These young people, in partnership with Museum staff, have taken the exhibit from proposal to installation. Between Two Worlds examines the experience of veterans, from WWI to the current conflict in Afghanistan, as they deal with separation from home, struggle to maintain communication with loved ones, and ultimately transition back into civilian life. Read more »
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