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17, December 2017

Introducing St. Louis's First Photojournalist

Whether they’re global achievements or more localized affairs, “firsts” are compelling and memorable. They point out moments of change and remind us that things we regard as part of daily life had to start somewhere, with someone doing something never done before. Read more »

14, December 2017

How Baby Teeth Put an End to Nuclear Testing

“Any child with a wobbly baby tooth is a person of consequence in St. Louis, Mo.,” announced Newsweek in April 1960. Why would a national magazine make such a proclamation? Because St. Louis scientists were actively seeking the baby teeth of children raised during the 1950s and 1960s in order to test for exposure to nuclear radiation.

 
12, December 2017

An Art Deco Jewel in Forest Park

When artwork showing the proposed design for the “new” Jewel Box appeared in St. Louis newspapers, some residents were less than impressed. One anonymous reader wrote a prickly letter to the editor calling it “simply grotesque” and “not suitable for any public building that is to stand for generations.” Read more »

7, December 2017

Unveiling the Veiled Prophet

ACTION—a nonviolent, direct-action protest organization made entirely of interracial volunteer members—began protesting the white-only Veiled Prophet (VP) organization in 1967. These demonstrations were part of a strategy to enhance ACTION’s ongoing protest for fair employment—ACTION members did not protest the VP so they could be part of it. In fact, ACTION viewed the VP as a racist organization and advocated that it should be abolished so St. Louis could begin freeing itself from institutional racism and become a prosperous city for all.  Read more »

1, December 2017

William Carr Lane: St. Louis's First Mayor

William Carr Lane had a restless nature, floating from academic studies, to work, to militia fighting, to medicine. Eventually, President James Madison appointed him as “garrison surgeon’s mate” at Fort Belle Fontaine, north of St. Louis. Lane served there until 1819, when he settled in St. Louis. By this time, Lane was nearly 30, and although he maintained a continuous medical practice and served as chairman of the Department of Obstetrics at Kemper College, he began to turn more of his attention toward public office. Read more »

28, November 2017

5 Wacky Panoramas Details Hiding in Plain Sight

Thanks to their large widths, historic panoramic photos are able to cram lots of details into one space—often they aren’t even things the photographers meant to capture! They’re small snippets that live in the margins, details that, in the case of our Panoramas of the City exhibit, reveal the everyday lives of the people who called St. Louis home in the first half of the 20th century. Read more »

22, November 2017

When Innovations of the 1930s Came to Town

Who hasn’t thought “there has to be a better way to do this” or “if only such a thing existed”? Well, the exhibitors at the National Inventors’ Congress went beyond these idle musings to turn their daydreams into inventions! Read more »

17, November 2017

St. Louis's "Billionaire" Businessman

John O’Fallon barely knew his father, James, but the lingering tales of him as a “reckless, debt-ridden adventurer” undoubtedly contributed to John’s lifelong obsession with business success. Read more »

11, November 2017

WWI Victory Celebrations and Homecomings

World War I ended on November 11, 1918, with the declaration of an armistice. The four-year fight claimed millions of lives and displaced millions more. The United States played a brief yet pivotal role in the war, spearheading the Meuse-Argonne Offensive that forced Germany’s surrender. Read more »

9, November 2017

A Chimney Topper's Tale

On February 16, 1959, the first buildings started to fall in St. Louis’s historic Mill Creek Valley neighborhood. Their demolition had been years in the making: In 1954, Mayor Raymond Tucker proposed a plan to raze the more than 400 square acres of city that stood between Saint Louis University and Union Station as part of St. Louis’s post–World War II revitalization. Read more »