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8, August 2016

Missouri Historical Society: The First 50 Years (1866–1916)

The Missouri Historical Society celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2016. This is the first in a three-part series on the organization's history.

In 1866, St. Louis was a city in the throes of great change. Longtime residents were becoming increasingly aware that the city’s history was disappearing into the mists of time. Recognizing the need to preserve whatever they reasonably could, a group of prominent men gathered together in the Old Courthouse on August 11, 1866, and formed the Missouri Historical Society (MHS). Read more »

28, July 2016

William Foden: America's Greatest Guitarist

When William Foden put his fingers to the strings of his beloved guitar, the instrument sang so richly one couldn’t help but be transported by his music. Read more »

15, July 2016

Who Knew? Going Beyond the St. Louis Question

History, tradition, and memories. That’s why we love our high schools here in St. Louis. Like it or not, “the question” has helped us make connections for generations. Plus, at cocktail parties it’s a great conversation alternative to politics. Nothing wrong with that! Read more »

14, July 2016

Harriet Hosmer: Nudity Pioneer

If you know the name Harriet Hosmer, you likely know of her work as a sculptor and have seen her pieces on display in museums throughout the world. But even though Hosmer is remembered today as a trailblazer and a monumentally talented artist, her road to fame was a difficult one. Born in Massachusetts in 1830, Hosmer demonstrated a unique artistic ability early on but was met with barriers to her professional and artistic development—and even the freedom to do what she loved. Read more »

12, July 2016

The Evolution of Mourning

When we attend funerals today, most of us pay our respects at funeral homes. In the 1860s, though, funerals took place in the homes of those mourning their loved ones and were rather intimate affairs. For example, the coffin was often made by someone close to the deceased or a local carpenter, and the body was prepared in the home by family or close friends. The funeral service itself took place in the home. Afterward, friends would carry the coffin to the cemetery, using a hearse only if the distance from the home to the cemetery was too great. Read more »

7, July 2016

Coco Chanel and the Nazis

From fashionistas to those who commit fashion faux pas, nearly everyone who has donned a little black dress owes homage to Coco Chanel. Her ingenuity graced the fashion world with taste, ease, and utter chicness as she revolutionized the way women wore black. Although she’s remembered and admired as a heroic icon in 20th century fashion history, Chanel may in fact have a scandalous past as dark as her beloved little black dresses. Read more »

17, June 2016

Pierre Laclède: Father Figure

Ask St. Louisans the question "Who's the father of St. Louis?" and most can tell you the answer in a heartbeat: Pierre Laclède. But what many may not realize is that the famed French fur trader had children and a family of his own . . . though his family structure was a bit unorthodox for the time. Read more »

19, May 2016

Craft Beer: Nothing New for the Lou!

Last year, in a pair of posts written for my personal blog (Distilled History), I detailed a crazy plan of mine to identify every single Read more »

16, May 2016

Rock On with the Teen Tones

In the middle of the 1950s, rock ’n’ roll was freshly sweeping the nation. It was so new that it hadn’t even caught on with St. Louis musicians—until a group of Affton High School students formed the Teen Tones, also known as Jules Blattner and the Teen Tones.  Read more »

27, April 2016

Anti-German Sentiment Hits Home

The threat of terror feels like something so unique to the present day that, sometimes, we forget how it has shaped our city and our country throughout history. One of the clearest examples of the ways the threat of terror shaped St. Louis happened about a century ago. Read more »