Spring in St. Louis
14, May 2014

William Clark and His Indian Museum

Most of us in the museum field cannot resist the opportunity to visit similar institutions, especially on travels out of town. When I accompanied my husband on his business trips, my first choice for our leisure-time activities was unalterably the nearest museum, preferably one that focused on local history, but actually any kind would do. (My husband favored golf courses.) Read more »

10, May 2014

Civil War Love Letters: May 10, 1864

Since his last letter, James left Libby Prison, which had been his home for just over six months. In March, Confederate authorities in Richmond, Virginia, had ordered the removal of most prisoners from the city. By early May, it was James’s turn to move. On May 6, 1864, James, along with several hundred other prisoners, traveled by train to a prison in Danville, Virginia.

Prison No. 3
Danville Va.
May 10th 1864

Dear Molly Read more »

7, May 2014

Reckless Demand: How Overharvesting Necessitated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918

Commercially sold wild game was a hot commodity in the 19th century, and St. Louis played a major part in its distribution. Restaurants and hotels across the country craved the game birds of Missouri and Illinois, which caused overharvesting of the country’s wildlife. Some species were pushed to extinction, while others have yet to return to the numbers they once maintained. Read more »

5, May 2014

Civil War Love Letters: May 5, 1864

While James remained in Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia, the war progressed nearby. In March, General Ulysses S. Grant became commander of all Union forces, and in early May he launched a campaign against the army of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Grant traveled with the Army of the Potomac, which crossed the Rapidan River on May 4, and planned to move between Lee’s army and Richmond, to the north of the city. The day after crossing the river, they met Lee’s forces in the Battle of the Wilderness. Meanwhile, Union general Benjamin F. Read more »

1, May 2014

Civil War Love Letters: May 1, 1864

On April 17, 1864, Confederate forces attacked Plymouth, North Carolina, in an attempt to recapture the port that they lost to the Union two years earlier. The Confederates captured Plymouth three days later, and Union general Henry W. Wessels, commander of the garrison at Plymouth, surrendered his forces. He was taken prisoner, and arrived at Libby Prison on April 26. As James mentions, Read more »

30, April 2014

Park Yourself at the Fair

Open ye gates! Swing wide ye portals! Provide respite ye benches!

Ok, maybe Louisiana Purchase Exposition president David R. Francis didn’t say that last part when he officially opened the St. Louis World’s Fair 110 years ago today. But those benches were pretty important to the daily throngs of pedestrians and their aching feet. After all, the fairgrounds covered 1,240 acres of Forest Park and surrounding areas. Read more »

25, April 2014

Growing Interest in Community Gardens

Finally! Spring has sprung, which means it’s time to tend to our plot in the community garden. Each year we plant a variety of lettuces (arugula, spinach, bibb, kale), herbs, and cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, peppers, and then let our two daughters (ages 7 and 5) suggest a new vegetable or fruit they would like us to try to grow. In all honesty, I occasionally help with the watering, but as far as producing something tangible, the credit goes to my husband and kids. Read more »

24, April 2014

Civil War Love Letters: April 24, 1864

Libby Prison
Richmond Va.
April 24th 1864

My Dear Mollie

I on Thursday rec'd yours of the 15th, 20th and 27th March and words cannot express how welcome they were, or what a tonic they proved from failing health, and repeated dissapointment in our hopes of Exchange. I was almost despairing, while the beautiful Spring weather tantalized me so I felt I w'd go crazy. Read more »

23, April 2014

MHM Book Gets New Attention with DVD Release of Movie Adaptation

In King of the Hill, A. E. Hotchner shared his inspiring story about growing up impoverished in St. Louis during the Great Depression. In 1993, Steven Soderbergh adapted the memoir into a screenplay and directed the movie, which starred Jesse Bradford, Adrien Brody, Spalding Gray, and Elizabeth McGovern. Until recently, if you wanted to watch the movie you had to dust off your VCR. Fortunately, just this year Soderbergh supervised a digital transfer of the movie into DVD and Blu-ray formats. Read more »

17, April 2014

Civil War Love Letters: April 17–18, 1864

Libby Prison
Richmond Va.
April 17th 1864

My Dear Mollie

Sunday evening finds me as usual pen in hand. We are at last quite sanguine of an early Exchange and so I have got over the blues for the present. I have therefore but little news for you, and only write to say I am coming, and I love you and hope to steal a kiss and hear your merry laugh ring out very soon and in the merry May days then to come. I hope soon to get Read more »