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Archives from the MHM Collection
10, June 2015

A Grand Tour

If time travel were possible, the first thing I would do is head back to around 1870, pack a steamer trunk, and board the next ship headed to Europe. I would travel through Great Britain, France, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Prussia, and end in Italy. If I were a true citizen of 1870, I would have been able to see paintings I had only heard of, hear music played by the composers instead of through sheet music, and see the architecture of countries where 300 years was considered a recent addition to the neighborhood. Read more »

19, May 2015

From the Library: Black Misery by Langston Hughes

Black Misery, written by Langston Hughes and illustrated by Arouni, may not be a new book to many, but it was new to me recently when it came to my desk to be processed and moved into the Museum's library collection. Hughes finished the captions for the book in 1967, making it the last book he worked on before his death that same year. Black Misery is classified as a children’s or juvenile book, but once you read the 60-page book it becomes apparent that it is intended for a larger audience. Read more »

13, February 2015

Uncovering an Unsung Hero: Mary Taussig Hall

In today’s world of empowered women and increased focus on gender equality, we are not shocked by stories of fearless women dedicated to making lasting change in their communities. But looking through the archives of the Library and Research Center of the Missouri History Museum, I came across the story of a woman out of place for her context in history. Read more »

26, January 2015

I'll Miss You, Star Clipper


Why would a librarian at a historical society write a tribute to Star Clipper, a comics store in the Delmar Loop?

I’m responsible for developing the Missouri Historical Society’s collection of printed and published items. Primarily, we collect works about St. Louis. To help tell the story of our city and region, we also collect some works published in St. Louis or written by St. Louisans. Our library collections are available for research at our Library and Research Center on Skinker. Potentially, they are also available for exhibition or other museum activities. Read more »

24, January 2015

Searching the Library and Research Center: Missouri Mystery, Magick, and Poetry

During my first year as a graduate assistant at the Missouri History Museum, I was conducting research in the Library and Research Center when I came across a book in the card catalog titled The Water Witch. Being a lover of all things magical, I was intrigued and requested the book from the stacks. While it wasn’t a long-lost tome of ancient magick, I nevertheless found myself enchanted. It turned out to be an absolutely delightful book of Missouri poetry that was published in 1924. Read more »

29, July 2014

Man of Letters, Man of Missouri: A Look at the Life of Friedrich Muench

Walking into the Missouri History Museum’s Library and Research Center on the first day of my internship, I gazed in awe at the beautiful building. I was led into the magnificent Reading Room where, amid the book-lined shelves and under a golden dome, I learned of my project for the summer: process the archives of Friedrich Muench. I had never heard of this man and knew nothing about him besides the fact that he was German. Read more »

7, March 2014

Russell Froelich: Behind the Lens

The photo at left is of Russell Froelich, a photographer who worked for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, and the St. Louis Star in the first half of the twentieth century. At first glance, I thought this image was an old-time version of a selfie. More likely it was not taken in front of a mirror but rather by another photographer. Read more »

24, February 2014

Otto Widmann: Missouri’s Pre-eminent Birder

When Otto Widmann was 33 years old, a chance encounter with a backyard visitor rekindled a passion for nature that had been pushed aside by the realities of tending to his business and making a living. The German-born drugstore owner and his wife, Augusta, observed a Baltimore (northern) oriole singing outside their St. Louis home in 1873. Widmann later wrote, “It came to a peach tree in my garden, when his strong whistle called my attention to him.... Read more »

12, February 2014

The Great Squirrel Invasion of 1839

Large pest infestations were not uncommon in the early years of Missouri agriculture. Swarms of hungry Rocky Mountain locusts swept western Missouri during several summers in the 1870s. Nineteenth-century sources also tell of large infestations of eastern tent caterpillars that plundered orchards and weakened valuable trees. But even the most-experienced farmers were shocked by the great furry hoards that invaded central Missouri in 1839. Read more »

31, January 2014

Enjoying a Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

Every month the Missouri History Museum accepts new items into its collection to ensure the survival of material culture for the future. I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of the Museum’s list of recent acquisitions, a fascinating look into the treasure trove that is the Museum’s storage space. One item that caught my eye was the collection of artifacts from the Freund Baking Company, donated by Michael H. Freund. Read more »