St. Louis turns 250 years old in 2014, and the Missouri History Museum will commemorate the anniversary with an exhibit that tells the history of the city through 50 people, 50 places, 50 moments, 50 images, and 50 objects. History Happens Here is taking its readers behind the scenes of the making of the 250 in 250 exhibit, which will open in February 2014.
Do you keep a diary? Lucky for the Missouri History Museum, Thomas Butler Gunn did. Join Associate Archivist Jaime Bourassa as she describes Gunn's life and the contents of his diaries. All of the diaries can be read online, beginning here. Read more »
Nearly 40 years ago something unique happened in St. Louis. In 1974 a branch of the St. Louis Public Library was named for a living person, Dr. Julia Davis. A newly built branch of the library was rededicated to Davis on February 15, 1993. She was 101 years old at the time, and passed away just a few months later. I wanted to know more about this woman who had received such a special honor. Read more »
In this letter, James addresses both war news and a death in his family. In late 1862 and early 1863, Union general Ulysses S. Grant made several attempts to move farther south down the Mississippi River and take control of Vicksburg, Mississippi. On a personal note, James responds to Molly’s sad news of the death of James’s cousin, Anne Jane Forsyth. She and her sisters Elizabeth and Mina were the daughters of John Forsyth and James’s aunt, Eliza Steel Forsyth.Read more »
Walking through Tower Grove Park, you can feel the presence of Henry Shaw. The pavilions, the statues, and even the landscaping remain much as he envisioned them more than 140 years ago. It’s possible—even in the middle of festivals or kickball games that Shaw probably couldn’t have imagined—to be transported back in time thanks to the physical reminders of the past that still define the park. But what happens when historic places are erased from the physical landscape? Read more »
James remained on provost duty in Nashville, Tennessee, where his main complaint was the constant rain. In other parts of the state and region the main problem was the guerrilla warfare of Confederate officers John Hunt Morgan, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Joseph Wheeler, and their troops. These men led many raids into Tennessee and Kentucky with the goal of disrupting supply and communication lines by destroying wagons, railroad tracks, and telegraph lines, and capturing transports and gunboats.Read more »
The International Olympic Committee’s decision to eliminate wrestling from the 2020 Olympics has left many athletes and fans of that sport worried about its future. At the Missouri History Museum, it left us thinking about the past and the unique role that St. Louis has played in both Olympic and wrestling history.
The 1904 Summer Olympics marked not only the first time the Games were hosted by an American city, but also the first time that freestyle wrestling made an appearance in the Olympics. Read more »
Lately it seems that every person I come into contact with has just gotten over either the respiratory flu or the stomach virus. Every day at least one person calls in sick, or has to leave work to go pick up a sick child from school. But St. Louis is no stranger to widespread illness, especially the flu. Throughout the 19th century, cholera outbreaks resulted in hundreds of deaths nearly every year, mostly due to poor sanitation and a tainted water supply. In 1849, a cholera epidemic swept through the city, killing more than 7,000 residents, or about 10% of the total population. Read more »
In this letter, James briefly mentions war news, a recent issue of Harper’s Weekly, and the sad story of an officer from an Ohio regiment. In war news, James mentioned a second attack on Fort Donelson. A year earlier, in February 1862, Union naval and military forces captured Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River in Tennessee. In the second attack, on February 3, also known as the Battle of Dover, 4,000 Confederate troops repeatedly charged the fortifications, but were repulsed by the 800 Union men stationed at the fort, commanded by Colonel Abner C. Harding.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.