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Archives from the MHM Collection
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 »

20, November 2013

Blending History

The Missouri History Museum has an iPhone App called Historic St. Louis, which contains almost 300 historic photographs of street scenes and buildings in St. Louis paired with a GPS map of their locations. When the user looks through a phone’s camera lens while at the location, the historic picture comes into view on the phone’s screen. In essence, the app allows you to create your own “then-and-now” photographs while walking through the city. Like many people, I’ve always enjoyed looking at then-and-now photos, but by far my favorite feature of the app is the slider. Read more »

29, August 2013

Museum Library Featured in Show on Genealogy

In a recent episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, actor Chris O’Donnell visited the Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center to see documents relating to his great-great-grandfather, Michael McEnnis. If you missed it, the full episode can be viewed for a limited time on the Learning Channel (TLC) website. Read more »

12, April 2013

The Sisters Who Captured the World's Fair on Film

During the 1904 World’s Fair, two sisters—Emme and Mayme Gerhard—cemented their place in photographic history. St. Louis natives, the Gerhard sisters learned their craft as young women, apprenticing with Fitz Guerin, a popular local photographer. When Guerin retired in 1903, the sisters took over his studio, just in time for the World’s Fair. However, both Emme and Mayme were already quite well known and respected for their work in the St. Read more »

30, October 2012

Remembering the Women's Suffrage Movement

As a modern woman, it is easy for me to take many things for granted. When I put out my trash and recycling, a garbage truck rolls by and seemingly makes the bags vanish. Food safety regulations help ensure that the tomatoes I pick up from the local grocery store are not going to sicken me. And when I need to travel, public roads lead me to where I want to go and traffic laws keep me safe along the way. These benefits of living in a modern society are there whether or not I acknowledge them, and I, along with most people, I suspect, hardly give them a passing thought. Read more »

15, August 2012

One Book's Journey

Books have always been very intriguing objects to me—I can get lost for hours exploring a library or a used book store, or even organizing my own personal library. This fact is one of the reasons I was so excited to begin my internship at the Missouri History Museum’s Library and Research Center.

Image at left: An illustration inside of a book titled The English Home of Major Andre at Bath. Missouri History Museum. Read more »

6, July 2012

One Early Childhood Center, Infinite Stories

In my first semester within the Museum Studies program at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, I began working as a graduate assistant within the Missouri History Museum Archives. There I experienced a sampling of the sort of tasks and projects that go on within a major archive, including processing collections. The first collection that came into my hands was the South Side Day Nursery Papers. Read more »

14, June 2012

An Unusual Find: Stories from the Library and Archives

Over the years, I have heard people speak of the Home Defender newspaper in a derogatory way. I had never looked at it myself until one day when a copy of it happened to turn up in front of me. It was the Dec. 11, 1915, edition, and I thought I would take a look. The Home Defender defended restrictive covenants in housing. A vote on the issue was coming up on Feb. 29, 1916, and the paper was encouraging people to vote for the restrictive covenants. Read more »