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Archives from the MHM Collection
20, April 2011

Civil War Love Letters

The Missouri History Museum Archives has many collections that provide firsthand accounts of the Civil War. One such collection is the James E. Love Papers. James enlisted with a Union regiment in St. Louis in May 1861. When his regiment left St. Louis in June 1861, James started writing letters home to his fiancée, Eliza Mary “Molly” Wilson. James continued to write these letters throughout his entire Civil War service. We believe this collection is unique because it documents not only one man’s experiences during the war, but also the great love story of James and Molly. Read more »

16, March 2011

Learning About the Osage

When I pitched the idea of writing about the Osage people in Missouri, my thought was to write about the general history of their time in the state, before a series of treaties, eight in total dating from 1808 to 1865, forced their removal from Missouri and eventually into the state of Oklahoma. I started to do some reading, and a few stories within that larger story just stayed with me. So instead of a general history here are a few interesting stories I learned about the Osage. They involve William Clark, the young Osage woman Mohongo, and the Osage word Chouteau Tah Wan. Read more »

15, February 2011

The Splendid Heritage of Native American Languages

Editor’s Note: In December 2010, Sara Murphy, a graduate student in the University of British Columbia’s School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies, spent a two week practicum at the Missouri History Museum’s Library and Research Center. In conjunction with the Splendid Heritage exhibition, one of her practicum projects was to examine and reflect on the books in the MHM Library that are written in Native American languages.

In the back of a Cherokee-language New Testament from 1860, I found a newspaper article, sepia-toned and cracking. Read more »

14, January 2011

Rose O'Neill: Creator of the World-Famous Kewpie

Kewpie postcard titled "Votes for Women," 1915.

Before Barbie came to dominate the doll world in the 1960s, another doll, the Kewpie, was the darling toy of li Read more »

22, December 2010

So Who Lived in Your House?

All St. Louisans are used to the question, “So where’d you go to high school?” But have you ever been asked, “So who lived in your house?” I have, and I found the answer where I work, the Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center.

Here’s who lived in my house.

A widow had it built in 1885 for her two sons. She bought the land from a local businessman whose family is still in business today. The Harrison boys were both in the fur trade business, one being a trimmer and the other a tanner. They lived in the house for only a few years. In 1891, the Schwarz family moved in. Read more »

21, September 2010

If You Don’t Know What to Do, Don’t Do It!

September is National Preparedness Month. To most of us these days, that means being ready for natural disasters, with a supply of candles, water, and a radio. But back in the 1940s and 1950s threats of air raids, blackouts, and gas and bomb attacks were real.

Because we just don’t see literature like this anymore, we now bring you some brochures from the Missouri History Museum’s Archives:

The “Civilian Defense Index” of 1942, published by the Massachusetts Indemnity Insurance Company, offers tips on both natural disasters and human-made attacks, along with first aid. Read more »

21, June 2010

Pocket Treasures

One of the side benefits of rehousing our special collections material is that we find wonderful little treasures. We have a three-volume set of books, The expeditions of Zebulon Montgomery Pike, to headwaters of the Mississippi River, through Louisiana Territory, and in New Spain, during the years 1805–6–7. The volumes were published in 1895. We were making phase boxes (protective two-piece boxes or enclosures, made out of heavy stock paper) for them when a volunteer started pulling out maps from a pocket in the third volume. Each map was folded down into 4" x 7" dimensions. Read more »

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 »

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 »