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13, December 2013

Civil War Love Letters: December 13, 1863

In this letter, James focuses on personal matters in St. Louis, primarily responding to information in one of Molly’s letters. Since her letters did not survive, it is impossible to know James’s exact meaning. “Mr. & Mrs. John A.” refers to James’s cousin John Adams and John’s wife. Throughout his letters, James never writes a kind word about John. Before enlisting for military service, James had a grocery store at the corner of 9th and Spring (now St. Louis Avenue) in St. Louis, and he lived above the store. In earlier letters, James mentions “the Spring St. Read more »

12, December 2013

Welcome to Mound City!

Welcome to Mound City, Missouri! This lithograph, produced around 1873, shows St. Louis as it then appeared, with its long-held nickname “Mound City.” A quick scan of the image, however, reveals an unquestionably flat city, completely devoid of any mounds.

The St. Louis area was the home of many Native American peoples. The most lasting monuments that they built were the mounds—great heaps of earth expertly crafted into flat, conical, or wedge-topped shapes. Some of these were burial mounds, and some were the homes of the elites of the mound-building cultures. Read more »

5, December 2013

Civil War Love Letters: December 5, 1863

Libby Prison Hospital
Richmond Va
Dec'r 5th 63

Molly Dear Read more »

26, November 2013

Memories of Past Holiday Repasts

Fall is my favorite time of year. The changing leaves in St. Louis create a wondrous palette of reds, oranges, purples, and yellows that delights me. I get to dig out my soft sweaters and fuzzy mittens, and assemble my collection of scarves and hats. And though fall signals the end of the year—those pretty leaves have since fallen and cluttered the yard—I think the season saves the best for last. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas occur in a period of 8 weeks! Read more »

22, November 2013

50 Years Later: Remembering John F. Kennedy

From the south side of Chicago to central Missouri, to the north side of St. Louis, my friends and family shared with me what they were doing when they heard the news that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Whether young or old, black or white, urban or rural, there was a common thread of sadness and shock in each of the people that shared their story with me. Read more »

20, November 2013

Blending History

The Missouri History Museum has an iPhone App called Historic St. Louis, which contains almost 300 historic photographs of street scenes and buildings in St. Louis paired with a GPS map of their locations. When the user looks through a phone’s camera lens while at the location, the historic picture comes into view on the phone’s screen. In essence, the app allows you to create your own “then-and-now” photographs while walking through the city. Like many people, I’ve always enjoyed looking at then-and-now photos, but by far my favorite feature of the app is the slider. Read more »

18, November 2013

Finding Meaning at the Missouri History Museum

When I first began working as a graduate research assistant at the Missouri History Museum, I was not sure how my background in sociology and anthropology, which had a cultural emphasis, would be applied. My idea of being a cultural anthropologist has always meant studying a specific living culture or creating an ethnography of the cultural meaning found within the group. However, while working with David Lobbig, curator of environmental life, my view completely changed. I am now finding myself creating ethnographies of those who lived in the past. Read more »

12, November 2013

A Permanent Home for the Symphony in 1968

While our nation was captivated by the latest hits of the most popular rock n’ roll artists in 1968—the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Doors, to name a few—St. Louisans were delighted by an additional genre of music that year: classical. The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, which had already engaged audiences for more than 85 years, found its first permanent home at the Powell Symphony Hall. Read more »

8, November 2013

Civil War Love Letters: November 8, 1863

Libby Prison Hospital
Richmond Va
Nov 8th 1863

My Dear Eliza Read more »

1, November 2013

Fifty Years Later: The Jefferson Bank and Trust Protests

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Jefferson Bank and Trust protests. Although the event is often commemorated at the end of August (the first protest against unequal hiring practices at the Jefferson Bank and Trust at Jefferson Avenue and Washington Boulevard took place on August 30), the protests continued until March 31, 1964. Many local civil rights activists were involved, such as William “Bill” Clay, Ivory Perry, Norman R. Seay, Charles and Marian Oldham, and Robert Curtis. Read more »