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Archives from the MHM Collection
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 »

24, October 2016

Photo Archives: More Than Just Pretty Pictures

When people think of archives, they tend to think of written documents, such as old letters, diaries, ledgers, and manuscripts. They don’t immediately think of images as archival documents, but human beings communicated with pictures long before written language evolved. From cave paintings to selfies, the images we create are more than just pretty pictures. They’re documents that capture the events, people, and places we want to remember, and they communicate this information in a clear way that transcends all language barriers. Read more »

20, October 2016

Find Your Family's History

If I've learned anything throughout my years with the Missouri History Museum, it's that you can find family in all kinds of unexpected places. Case in point: While presenting at the St. Louis Genealogy Conference in Chesterfield earlier this month, I showed a photo of my grandfather, Ray Northcott, on his wedding day, pictured with friends Joe Zamberlan and Frank Digiovanni. Read more »

19, October 2016

3 Reasons to Love the Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries

One question I’m frequently asked when people find out I’m an archivist (besides “What’s an archivist?”) is: Which collection is your favorite? For me, that’s easy. I loved digitizing and transcribing the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries. Read more »

12, October 2016

An Archival Challenge: The Lewis and Clark Journals

As I’ve mentioned in earlier Archives Month posts, researchers who come to the Missouri History Museum’s Library and Research Center can use and handle most of the documents in the archives. However, in some cases the archivists have to decline access in order to preserve the documents for the next hundred years. One such case is our collection of five original journals from the Lewis and Clark expedition. Read more »