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Archives from the MHM Collection
30, August 2017

The Case of the Mysterious Blue Writing

One of the most magnificent rooms in all of mid-19th-century St. Louis was . . . a private library in a Carondelet home. That home, and many of the more than 900 books within it, belonged to Henry T. Blow, a lawyer who made most of his fortune through manufacturing and mining. He also spent time in Venezuela and Brazil as a U.S. ambassador. Blow is a prominent St. Read more »

14, August 2017

History in the Heavens

It’s a rare day I’d say this, but on the early afternoon of August 21, I really hope you’re NOT inside the Missouri History Museum. In fact, I hope you’re not even in Forest Park! If you are, you’ll miss the history happening outside. Read more »

4, April 2017

The Most Disgraceful Election in American Politics

One of the beautiful things about the Missouri History Museum’s Library (aside from the setting, of course), is that sometimes you can come across some pretty cool stuff by accident. While working on a long-term project of inventorying and rehousing single-issue newspapers from our collections, we recently stumbled onto some amazing headlines from the front page of The St. Louis Chronicle concerning St. Louis’s mayoral race in 1901. Read more »

24, March 2017

Meet the Potters

St. Louis has a long tradition of cultivating both artists and avenues for delivering their work to receptive audiences. River Styx magazine, for one, has been a vessel for poetry, art, fiction, and nonfiction since 1975, presenting work from Pulitzer Prize winners, poets laureate, and novices alike. Read more »

20, February 2017

Breaking News: President Kennedy's Assassination

Last October, I received a letter from retired newspaper reporter Ted Pollard. In it he offered to donate a document related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Although he lives in Ohio now, for about six months in 1963 Pollard worked on the business desk of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. Each day he watched the incoming tapes of the noontime quotes from the Dow Jones business-wire machine, which sat next to the main, broad-tape teletype device that carried major news stories from the Associated Press (AP). Read more »

16, November 2016

Broken Glass Negatives? No Problem!

As an archivist in the Museum's Photographs and Prints department, I’m continually amazed at the variety of photographic materials we have in our collections. We have cased images, film negatives, and silver gelatin prints, just to name a few. But my newest favorites are the glass-plate negatives in the Swekosky Notre Dame College Collection, which date from the 1880s through the 1920s. Read more »

28, October 2016

Images in Reverse: A Look at Photographic Negatives

The photographs of the St. Louis Public Schools Collection provide a new look at St. Louis history from the viewpoint of one of the region’s oldest public school systems. The negatives alone offer over a century’s worth of memories, dating from the early 1900s into the 2000s. As one of the archivists for this collection, I’m responsible for carefully identifying the types of negatives I’m working with to ensure their proper preservation and storage. Here’s a crash course on identifying and storing photographic negatives—it may even help you with negatives you have at home! Read more »

27, October 2016

Who Stayed at 2316 Pine Street?

As a cataloger of urban architecture photos, I spend my days looking at pictures of old buildings—lots of them. That may sound boring, but when you consider the intriguing stories tucked away inside St. Louis’s historic structures, you realize it’s anything but. Read more »

26, October 2016

Finding Aids: The Keys to Unlocking MHM's Archives

Imagine you have a great-grandmother named Ethel, and she told stories about a love affair with a World War I soldier who died on the fields of the Meuse-Argonne. They exchanged letters that remained in your family until after her death. You’d like to read them, but they’ve been donated to the Missouri History Museum, along with genealogy research, newspaper clippings, and business records. The entire donation fills 28 boxes, but you’re interested solely in great-grandma’s love letters. Read more »

26, October 2016

A Rare Baseball Find: Stars Park

Walloping bats and roaring fans were commonplace at the intersection of Compton and Market back in the 1920s thanks to Stars Park, home of the Negro National League (NNL) franchise the St. Louis Stars. Originally called the St. Louis Giants, the team got new owners, a new name, and a brand-new ballpark in 1922. At the time, Stars Park was one of few facilities in the country built especially for a Negro League team, and the Stars played there until the NNL went out of business in 1931, a casualty of the Great Depression. Read more »