Advertisement for MHM's "#1 in Civil Rights" exhibit
14, December 2017

How Baby Teeth Put an End to Nuclear Testing

“Any child with a wobbly baby tooth is a person of consequence in St. Louis, Mo.,” announced Newsweek in April 1960. Why would a national magazine make such a proclamation? Because St. Louis scientists were actively seeking the baby teeth of children raised during the 1950s and 1960s in order to test for exposure to nuclear radiation.

 
12, December 2017

An Art Deco Jewel in Forest Park

When artwork showing the proposed design for the “new” Jewel Box appeared in St. Louis newspapers, some residents were less than impressed. One anonymous reader wrote a prickly letter to the editor calling it “simply grotesque” and “not suitable for any public building that is to stand for generations.” Read more »

7, December 2017

Unveiling the Veiled Prophet

ACTION—a nonviolent, direct-action protest organization made entirely of interracial volunteer members—began protesting the white-only Veiled Prophet (VP) organization in 1967. These demonstrations were part of a strategy to enhance ACTION’s ongoing protest for fair employment—ACTION members did not protest the VP so they could be part of it. In fact, ACTION viewed the VP as a racist organization and advocated that it should be abolished so St. Louis could begin freeing itself from institutional racism and become a prosperous city for all.  Read more »

4, December 2017

Not Your Average Fundraiser

Event-based fundraising is pretty straightforward, right? You hold an event, get people to attend, and raise money for a cause. Of course, it helps if you have an interesting hook to draw in attendees. Enter womanless weddings, staged productions that served as fundraisers for churches, charitable causes, or civic organizations throughout the first half of the 20th century. During these events, men, typically the most prominent men in a community, played every part in the wedding, from the mother of the bride and the flower girl to the maids of honor and the bride herself. Read more »

1, December 2017

William Carr Lane: St. Louis's First Mayor

William Carr Lane had a restless nature, floating from academic studies, to work, to militia fighting, to medicine. Eventually, President James Madison appointed him as “garrison surgeon’s mate” at Fort Belle Fontaine, north of St. Louis. Lane served there until 1819, when he settled in St. Louis. By this time, Lane was nearly 30, and although he maintained a continuous medical practice and served as chairman of the Department of Obstetrics at Kemper College, he began to turn more of his attention toward public office. Read more »

28, November 2017

5 Wacky Panoramas Details Hiding in Plain Sight

Thanks to their large widths, historic panoramic photos are able to cram lots of details into one space—often they aren’t even things the photographers meant to capture! They’re small snippets that live in the margins, details that, in the case of our Panoramas of the City exhibit, reveal the everyday lives of the people who called St. Louis home in the first half of the 20th century. Read more »

25, November 2017

5 Famous Authors' Takes on St. Louis

St. Louis has a history of producing wordsmiths who recall their hometown fondly, but what about writers who aren't from here? We pulled some of the most entertaining assessments dating back to the 1920s and 1930s from the book Seeking St. Louis: Voices from a River City, 1670–2000 and the scrapbooks Read more »

22, November 2017

When Innovations of the 1930s Came to Town

Who hasn’t thought “there has to be a better way to do this” or “if only such a thing existed”? Well, the exhibitors at the National Inventors’ Congress went beyond these idle musings to turn their daydreams into inventions! Read more »

17, November 2017

St. Louis's "Billionaire" Businessman

John O’Fallon barely knew his father, James, but the lingering tales of him as a “reckless, debt-ridden adventurer” undoubtedly contributed to John’s lifelong obsession with business success. Read more »

15, November 2017

Of Primary (Source) Importance

Distilling 200+ years of civil rights history into a 76-page book provides an immediate recipe for writer’s agony—and that’s before the wrinkle of crafting text for an upper elementary school audience. Yet that’s the task Dr. Melanie Adams and I faced in researching and producing Standing Up For Civil Rights in St. Louis, a young reader’s companion to the #1 in Civil Rights exhibit currently on view at the Missouri History Museum. Read more »