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30, June 2011

Race, Class, and Social Movements: Black Worker Struggles in St. Louis, 1930–1973

Stories of social struggle in the city of St. Louis demonstrate the deep ties between civil rights and labor rights there. The study of history has often discussed the fights of working people for better wages, safer working conditions, and a stronger voice in the workplace as distinct and separate from the fight of African Americans for equality, justice, and civil rights. The truth is these two movements, black freedom and labor, are linked inextricably. Read more »

21, June 2011

Civil War Love Letters: June 21–22, 1861

James Love and his company spent two weeks traveling up and down the Missouri River on business for General Nathaniel Lyon. Claiborne Jackson and his forces, led by Sterling Price, headed south to rendezvous with General Ben McCulloch’s Confederate troops. General Lyon ordered his troops to move south as well. James received a letter from his cousin, John Adams, who said that Molly’s brother, William, was part of this force. William left St. Louis with the 4th United States Reserve Corps, Missouri Infantry, which was headed for southwest Missouri.

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19, June 2011

Civil War Love Letters: June 19, 1861

James and his company remained in Jefferson City, Missouri, where they helped Colonel Boernstein restore and maintain order. The state capital had been the center of secessionists in Missouri, especially in the state government. Now, the citizens had to adjust to life under federal control. Boernstein had to establish the necessary pickets, patrols, and expeditions, especially into neighboring secessionist counties. The capital was not the only part of Missouri dealing with conflicts between Union supporters and secessionists. Read more »

18, June 2011

Civil War Love Letters: June 18, 1861

James now explains the activities of his company since their departure from St. Louis on Saturday, June 15, 1861. The troops marched through the streets of St. Read more »

17, June 2011

Sketches of War

As a conservation lab technician I have the privilege of working with objects from the Missouri History Museum’s collections, and each new day comes with another historically significant object. One of my responsibilities is assessing the condition of artifacts that are tentatively included in the Museum’s upcoming exhibit, The Civil War in Missouri (opening November 11, 2011). While examining several of these objects, I noticed that many of the pencil drawings were all signed by the same artist: Alex Simplot. Read more »

16, June 2011

Civil War Love Letters: June 16, 1861

On May 11, 1861, James E. Love enlisted for three months of service with the 5th Regiment, United States Reserve Corps. The regiment was part of four infantry regiments and five regiments of the United State Reserve Corps, or “Home Guards,” that Captain Nathaniel Lyon enrolled to protect the U.S. Arsenal in St. Louis. At the time, tensions were high between Missouri citizens who supported the Union, and Missouri’s pro-Confederate governor, Claiborne Fox Jackson, and other Southern sympathizers. Read more »

13, June 2011

The Short Life of a Civil War Newspaper

A number of archival materials (papers, books, newspapers, and lithographs) have returned to their home at the Missouri History Museum. These artifacts were sent out to be treated by conservators at the Northeast Document Conservation Center, who specialize in paper-based materials. In addition to the museum’s financial contributions, the IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) Civil War Project Grant was instrumental in funding the conservation of these artifacts. Read more »

9, June 2011

How an American Was Kidnapped by Chinese Bandits in 1925

“Held Prisoner by Chinese Bandits for Ten Weeks” ran the headline in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Sunday Magazine on January 24, 1926. “Dr. Harvey James Howard, Department Head at Peking Union Medical College in Peking, China tells the colorful story of his adventures while a prisoner of Chinese bandits.” His story may have been colorful, but it was also harrowing. Dr. Howard was never sure he would survive his adventures with the Hung Hutze in the summer of 1925. Read more »

2, June 2011

The Heavy on Mortar Shells

Museum professionals have to be creative in responding to the different types of challenges that arise in the workplace. For example, how do you move a museum artifact that weighs more than 200 pounds? The artifact in question is a mortar shell that will be included in the Missouri History Museum’s upcoming exhibit The Civil War in Missouri (opening November 11, 2011). During the Civil War, this type of shell could be launched more than two miles using a Model 1861 13-inch Siege and Seacoast mortar. These mortars could be used on either land or water. Read more »

1, June 2011

Diary of Adam Burns Smith

Adam Burns Smith enlisted with Co. B of the 33rd Missouri Infantry Volunteers (Union) in Jefferson City on August 14, 1862. The next year Smith found himself in the midst of Gen. U. S. Grant’s protracted campaign to capture Vicksburg. Like many soldiers, Smith kept a journal to record the daily events of his life. His lengthy, and often detailed, entries described operations along the Tallahatchie River in Mississippi and around Helena, Arkansas, including skirmishes with rebel forces at Fort Pemberton near Greenwood, Mississippi, and gunboat maneuvers. Read more »