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26, October 2017

Gaines v. Canada: A Monumental Civil Rights Victory

Of the several groundbreaking civil rights cases to originate in St. Louis and reach the US Supreme Court, Gaines v. Canada ranks high. The 1938 decision struck a resounding blow to the heart of segregation in higher education. It also signaled the beginning of the end of legal segregation, which had been put in place by the High Court’s 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision that established the doctrine of “separate but equal.” Pioneering NAACP attorneys Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall were determined to reverse the Plessy v. Read more »

24, October 2017

Let's Go to the Movies!

Going to the movies during the Great Depression was a very exciting experience—or at least that’s what I had always thought. Granted, that assumption was based largely on the number "Let’s Go to the Movies" from the musical Annie. The historical accuracy of singing and dancing ushers aside, it’s safe to say that seeing a movie today is a very different experience from what it was in the early 1930s. Many Sievers Studio Collection photos related to the St. Louis movie theater industry illustrate this perfectly. Read more »

22, October 2017

The Importance (And Challenges) of One Red Flyer

Panoramas of the City features some pretty breathtaking objects that immediately capture your attention as you make your way through the exhibit. There’s a stunning dress from a Veiled Prophet queen, a carefully restored 1927 Ford Model T Fordor Sedan, and a collection of some of the most eye-catching medals and awards won by Charles Lindbergh. Read more »

20, October 2017

A Personal Quest to Prove St. Louis the Best

For much of the United States of America’s first century, its national capital was a half-built city in a swamp. As the country expanded westward, and particularly in the years just after the Civil War, loud voices clamored for the removal of the US capital from Washington, DC. They argued that it was simply common sense to move it to the geographic center of the country: St. Louis, Missouri. Read more »

18, October 2017

Selling a War: World War I Propaganda

American leaders faced quite the public-relations crisis after finally deciding to enter World War I in April 1917. During the preceding three years of fighting in Europe, a serious split had developed in the United States between those who favored preparedness, including former president Theodore Roosevelt, and those who supported neutrality. The latter consisted of people who believed the fight was “Europe’s War” and first- and second-generation Europeans, often Germans, who wanted to avoid conflict with their native lands. St. Read more »

12, October 2017

Hidden Gems of Our Manuscript Archives

The Missouri Historical Society's Manuscript Archives contain more than 3,000 individual collections that range in size from a single document to 1,800 boxes full of documents. The vast array of material makes it difficult, if not impossible, for us archivists to know what’s in all of them. However, through our two primary tasks—processing collections and assisting researchers—we get to know the collections better.  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 »

6, October 2017

German Day at the 1904 World's Fair

If you were to tell a St. Louisan just after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase that in 100 years a celebration of German heritage would be one of the biggest parties around, you’d likely have been laughed out of town! Back then St. Louis was a largely French city, having just been purchased from France by the United States. Yet German Day at the centennial celebration of the Louisiana Purchase—better known as the 1904 World’s Fair—did indeed draw crowds from around the globe. The October 6 event was ultimately the fourth most attended day of the Fair. Read more »

4, October 2017

Join the Crowd at the 1937 Veiled Prophet Ball

When our team was trying to decide which panoramas to enlarge for our Panoramas of the City exhibit, we knew they had to be visually striking and contain a wealth of historical information about St. Louis. One such image was a panorama shot at the 1937 Veiled Prophet Ball, which was held in the Municipal Auditorium downtown. Read more »

1, October 2017

Curator Faves: Environmental Life Edition

Our region’s location at the center of the continent, with many great rivers, is enviable for building community and culture. Geography and environments collide and combine here, creating tremendous biological and resource diversity. As an environmental historian, I’m interested in the choices we make—as our region's current residents—and how those choices will (or won't) sustain future generations. As a curator, I want to preserve and exhibit artifacts that get people excited about our history of decisions. Read more »