Black Misery, written by Langston Hughes and illustrated by Arouni, may not be a new book to many, but it was new to me recently when it came to my desk to be processed and moved into the Museum's library collection. Hughes finished the captions for the book in 1967, making it the last book he worked on before his death that same year. Black Misery is classified as a children’s or juvenile book, but once you read the 60-page book it becomes apparent that it is intended for a larger audience. Read more »
Often when learning about World War I the focus is on the men in the trenches. Visions of going “over the top” and charging headlong into no man’s land and certain doom are evoked. Though this was a common experience for many of soldiers who served during the First World War, it was far from the only experience.Read more »
May 7, 2015, marks 100 years since the sinking of the RMS Lusitania by German submarine U-20. A British passenger ship on its way from New York to Liverpool, England, the Lusitania was running a risk traveling through waters that were at the time declared a war zone by Germany. The sinking of the Lusitania was a watershed moment in the conflict, serving as a galvanizing force in the United States that eventually led to their declaration of war against Germany less than a year later. Read more »
The origins of A Walk in 1875 began with a simple question: What if we brought Missouri History Museum visitors so much information about life in a single year of St. Louis history that they could imagine they were actually there? The idea was exciting no matter what year we chose, but settling on just one seemed nearly impossible! St. Louis has no shortage of big years in its past, all with different and exciting ways to bring them to life. However, one stood above all the rest.
Cast iron mechanical banks became popular in the 19th century after the Civil War. During the war the Union and Confederate sides began creating their own paper money to help deal with the shortage on coins. However, the public was leery of the new currency due to its lack of intrinsic value. Coins would retain some value due to the metal, regardless of whatever occurred within the government. Penny banks were meant to educate children about the importance of being thrifty through the use of a fun and exciting toy. Read more »
No matter your political stripe, you’ve probably heard and agreed with the following sentiment at some point in the last few years: “Congress never gets anything done! The founding fathers would be rolling in their graves if they heard about the ways Congress was dealing with [insert current event]!” Popular opinion polls make it clear that many of us harbor at least a part of that sentiment: In a January 2015 Gallup opinion poll, congressional approval was at a mere 16 percent. Read more »
Today marks the 150-year anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. In 1865, as people around the nation and around the world learned of the horrible news, they recorded their reactions in many forms—from written materials like diaries and letters to commemorative items like ribbons and flags. For the first time in one place, you can see personal items and remembrances from the Americans whose lives were touched by the president’s death and its aftermath. Read more »
Following the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914, industries across the United States recognized opportunity and began to shift their focus to building war materials for the belligerent nations. The St. Louis region was no exception, and from 1914 to 1918 an industrial boom ensued. One of the many companies in the area to benefit from government contracts was the St. Charles Car Company. Read more »
Colonial St. Louisans had to go to great lengths in order to maintain their ties to French culture. Their village, after all, was small and at the very edge of the part of North America that Europeans had explored. In order to maintain their ties to France and French culture, St. Louisans traveled to France or to towns in North America that also had a strong French culture, like New Orleans or Montreal. They also brought in French goods such as fabrics, home décor, and books in order to try to keep up with the latest trends in Paris. Read more »
This is the last post in our series. All of the letters have been compiled into a book, My Dear Molly: The Civil War Letters of Captain James Love, which is available now. You can hear Molly Kodner talk about the project at 7 pm on Tuesday, April 7, at the Museum. Read more »
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