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6, April 2010

The Battle of Shiloh: “Language Is Inadequate”

One of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles took place 148 years ago on April 6 and 7, 1862. Major General U. S. Grant’s forces had gathered at Pittsburgh Landing, aka Shiloh, Tennessee, and were surprised by General A. S. Johnston’s Confederate attack on April 6. Read more »

2, April 2010

Play Ball!

In 1911, most well-to-do ladies did not follow sports teams or run businesses, but Helene Britton did both. That year, when she inherited ownership of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team from her uncle, Stanley Robison, many assumed the 32-year-old mother of two would sell the team or transfer ownership to her husband. Instead, she moved her family to St. Louis from their home in Cleveland to embrace her role as the first woman to own a major league baseball team.

Britton grew up in Ohio in a baseball family. Read more »

31, March 2010

Missal Bifolium, ca. 1450–1470

This artifact is an amazing, unique piece of the Missouri History Museum's collections—a 15th-century Italian illuminated manuscript. How did it come to be in St. Louis in the 21st century? It was collected by philanthropist and Missouri History Museum president (1907–1913, 1925–1930) William K. Read more »

24, March 2010

Poosh-M-Up Jr. 4-in-1 pinball game, ca. 1960

Pinball games or bagatelles date from the 1700s and have their origins with billiards. In the 20th century, many toy companies manufactured pinball games. Northwestern Products Company developed the Poosh-M-Up series of games in the 1920s, when the St. Read more »

22, March 2010

Chinatown in St. Louis?

The Library and Research Center’s Margaret Blanke Grigg Reading Room displays material from our collections. Our first topic for the year was race and ethnicity in St. Louis. Once we decided on this topic my first thought went to a researcher who years ago used to use our library quite frequently. She was researching the Chinese in St. Louis. A few years later, two books have been added to our collections from that researcher.

What I found most interesting and something of a surprise was the early immigration of the Chinese to St. Read more »

17, March 2010

Fighting the Good Fight—The Fenian Brotherhood

Looking at the calendar on March 17, many of us make a mental note to wear green in honor of St. Patrick. However, history remembers many more Irish heroes. In the mid-19th century (around 1858), the Fenian Brotherhood was formed in the United States by Irish immigrants to help liberate Ireland from British rule. The Fenians, as members were known, launched several raids into Canada (then British North America) from 1866 to 1871. Read more »

24, February 2010

The Civil War Digitization Project

Since the fall of 2008, MHM staff and a fleet of dedicated interns have been hard at work cataloging and digitizing all of our photographs and prints of the Civil War era in preparation for an upcoming exhibit on the history of the war in Missouri. So far we’ve cataloged over 2,000 images, including photographs of soldiers, lithographs of battle scenes, and engravings of St. Louis and Missouri events from national magazines like Harper’s Weekly. Read more »

15, February 2010

Charcoal Drawing of Corp. Elijah Madison, after 1864


Born into slavery in 1841 on a plantation near the present-day site of Babler State Park, Elijah Madison probably earned his freedom at the height of the Civil War when Federal recruiters announced that the U.S. Army would accept any able-bodied man of African descent into its ranks. Read more »

8, February 2010

Archives—No Wrong Answers in Love

Long before single people began searching for their love match through online dating services, data research companies existed to help the lovelorn weed through the masses. In particular, in the late 1960s, two companies in St. Louis—Data-Mate, Inc. and Computer Data Research Corporation—developed personality questionnaires to assist in locating "ideal" matches.

For $5, a man or woman would complete the Computer Data Research Group questionnaire, send it in, and then wait anxiously for the postman to deliver the important envelope containing a customized list of matches. Read more »