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31, October 2017

Spirits in St. Louis

“The Misses Fox, the original and genuine Spirit Rappers, or Rochester Knockers are in St. Louis.” That was the headline in Glasgow, Missouri, in June 1852. Obviously eager to witness the phenomenon firsthand, the editor of the town’s Weekly Times newspaper finished the notice with a plea: “Send them up this way, gentlemen of the press.”

The “Misses Fox” to whom the article referred were sisters Kate and Maggie Fox, the unlikely founders of an obsession that swept the nation in the 1850s. Read more »

10, October 2017

Hidden Gems of Our Photos & Prints Archives

I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Missouri Historical Society's photograph and print collections for 20 years now, and even in that amount of time there are still images I’ve never seen. We have more than 900 distinct collections of related images that include, at our best estimate, about 1 million pictures. Some collections, such as the Easterly Daguerreotype Collection, and anything having to do with the 1904 World’s Fair, the riverfront, or St. 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 »