History

Pearl Harbor survivor Bill Johnson reads the list of names inscribed in the USS Arizona Memorial.
Chief Journalist David Rush | U.S. Navy

Dec. 7, 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the “date which will live in infamy”: the Pearl Harbor attacks. On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh will devote the entire hour to discussing the attacks, including listeners and veterans memories of that time period.

An example of an image found in "Capturing the City," which features workers at the intersection of Grand and Olive circa 1907.
Capturing the City

Charles Clement Holt was many things: an engineer, a draftsman, a surveyor for the St. Louis Streets Department. He became so good at the latter that he eventually became head of the Streets Department.

Slinkies are one of the toys on exhibit in the Missouri History Museum's "Toys of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s" exhibit. https://www.flickr.com/photos/southpaw2305/4291636470/in/photolist-7xeL1f-64TFJk-64XYyu-4DfKXx-8hNXsa-e44sdM-oGHS7T-e44ri4-e4a5i1-ixGSpw-mk
Clare Black | Flickr

Baby Boomers, rejoice! A nostalgic throwback exhibit has rolled into town highlighting the toys of yesteryear. Hailing from the Minnesota State Historical Society, you can view collections of toys from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s through January 22, 2017 at the Missouri History Museum.

Sharon Smith, curator of Civic and Personal Identity at the Missouri History Museum, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the exhibit and what separates toys of Baby Boomers’ childhoods from the rest.

Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau are credited with the founding of St. Louis in 1764.
Wikimedia Commons

The common version of the founding of St. Louis goes something like this: Pierre Laclède was told by the French government to travel from New Orleans and construct a trading post near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers in 1763. Bringing along his stepson, Auguste Chouteau, in early 1764, Laclède opened a trading post 18 miles south of the confluence in what would become St. Louis.

St. Louis resident Imre Jokuti, who fought in the Hungarian resistance, drinks a toast to those lost during the 1956 failed revolution against the Soviet Union during a commemoration Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Friday marked the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union's crackdown that ended the Hungarian revolution. 

Imre Jokuti of St. Louis fought with the resistance before he fled. He shared the memories of his escape from Budapest:

Imre Jokuti, who escaped from Hungary while fighting in the revolution, sings the Hungarian national anthem at St. Mary of Victories Church on Nov. 4, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Wearing a ribbon with the Hungarian flag’s red, white and green colors attached to his lapel, Albert Futo sang a hymn in his native tongue with the St. Mary of Victories Church choir in St. Louis Friday morning.

For Futo, this special Mass commemorating the 60th anniversary of Hungary’s uprising against the Soviet Union has personal significance.

Did you know Pixy Stix got their start in St. Louis?
bryan t | Flickr

Attention trick-or-treaters: The candy haul you’re preparing to collect tonight might just have some candy in it with St. Louis origins. Pixy Stix, in all their sugary goodness, for example, got their start here when they were invented by Sunmark Corporation (formerly Sunline Inc.) in 1942. 

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, in honor of Halloween, we heard from a local food historian about candies that got their start in St. Louis — and what candies are still manufactured in St. Louis today.

Thomas Harvey, of Arch City Defenders, said Ferguson city prosecutors were trying to send a "chilling" message to people who would come there to protest.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Are protests effective agents of social change? What actions are justified during a protest? How does the language used to describe protests impact people’s perceptions of certain events?

Throughout history, individuals have joined together in groups of various sizes to protest against powerful authority figures or perceived injustices.

In 1916, women in St. Louis brought an era of non-violent protest to the women's suffrage movement.
Wikimedia Commons | http://bit.ly/2bzknmM

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we looked back on a movement 100 years ago in St. Louis when 3,000 women marched to remind Democratic National Convention attendees that women still didn’t have the right to vote. That was in June of 1916, four years before women won the right to cast ballots on Aug. 26, 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution.

The start of the marathon race at the 1904 Olympics, held in St. Louis.
Missouri History Museum | http://bit.ly/2bqId2E

As the Rio 2016 Olympics begin to wind down, it is worth remembering that St. Louis once played host to the Olympics: the 1904 Olympics, the first to be held on U.S. soil — and they were a mess. Doping, shameful “Anthropology Days” competitions among “savages” and minimal international participation were a recipe for a games that the Wall Street Journal once dubbed “Comedic, Disgraceful And 'Best Forgotten.’”

Ironically, St. Louis wasn’t even supposed to host the 1904 Olympics. As Sharon Smith, Curator of Civic and Personal Identity at the Missouri History Museum, relayed it on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air: “St. Louis took those Olympics from Chicago.”

Fabulist bat is sucking the life out of a downed soldier
Provided by St. Louis Art Museum

Francisco de Goya’s “Disasters of War” is considered one of the most personal and influential print series in the Western canon. This will be the first time the complete series will be shown in St. Louis. Elizabeth Wyckoff, the art museum's curator of prints, drawings and photographs, says the work that was created more than 200 years ago remains relevant today.

St. Louis Fire, illustration in a German book from 1857.
Henry Lewis | Wikimedia Commons

Fires, floods, tornadoes, oh my! St. Louis has been witness to many kinds of disaster over the years and on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we talked about the most disastrous ones … and where you can find remnants of their existence still today.

Jesse Francis has worked his whole career to preserve historic French vertical log homes.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis area’s storied French past is well known — but do you know much about historic French architecture in the region? On Monday, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the hallmarks of traditional French architecture, the vertical log home, with Jesse Francis, the cultural site manager for the St. Louis County Department of Parks and Recreation.

The Karpeles Manuscript Museum-St. Louis is one of fourteen locations across the United States that hold the world's largest private collection of original manuscripts.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The first draft of the Bill of Rights. The paper Einstein’s E=Mc2 was written on. Noah Webster’s first dictionary. These are three influential documents that are included in collector David Karpeles’ largest private collection of original manuscripts in the world — three of over one million such documents.

Henry Schvey and Carrie Houk, of Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Tennessee Williams was not the world’s biggest fan of the town he grew up in. But that’s not stopping the first-ever Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis from happening here in tribute to one city's greatest playwrights and most beloved iconoclasts.

President Harry Truman signed this official portrait during his first term in office. The autograph reads: To the Key Club, a great organization in a great city, St. Louis, with best wishes and happy memories. Harry S Truman
Harry S Truman Library & Museum

If you're surprised to find some courts and state offices in Missouri closed Monday, you might not know about Truman Day — an official state holiday celebrating the president who was raised in Independence, Mo. 

(Courtesy: Chaumette Vineyards & Winery)

Updated May 9, 2016 at 10:40 a.m. with new information

The National Park Service has completed a multiyear study and is recommending that parts of Ste. Genevieve be included in the national park system. Before the land could become an NPS unit, either a law must be passed by Congress and signed by the president, or executive action must be taken by the president.

'Secret St. Louis' author Dave Baugher walked us through the backstories of 10 local sights and their backstories
Google Maps

Updated 9:21 a.m., March 30 with clarification on No. 8 - As a St. Louisan, there are things we pass by all the time that are just plain weird. How many of us actually stop to ask why they are that way? That’s the reasoning behind St. Louis Public Radio’s Curious Louis project and also why local author Dave Baugher wrote a book investigating all the things he wanted to know the backstory of.

OakleyOriginals | Flickr | http://bit.ly/1Qd8rzx

Prolific writer Howard Megdal, whose work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, USA Today, among others, just released his fourth book “The Cardinals Way: How One Team Embraced Tradition and Moneyball at the Same Time.” In it, he details how the Cardinals franchise has been able to embrace both “moneyball” and tradition to become one of the most beloved and successful teams in the sport.

Bundesarchiv Bild | Wikimedia Commons

Lithuanian-American young adult author Ruta Sepetys has known her whole life of the trials faced by refugees fleeing war. Her father fled from Lithuania when the Soviets occupied the country following World War II and spent nine years in refugee camps before he was able to come to the United States.

Adam Kloppe, a public historian with the Missouri History Museum joined Don Marsh to discuss the museum’s new exhibit "Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America," and the St. Louis connections to that world.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The NSA, Edward Snowden, homeland security, terrorism … none of these terms are far from any American’s mind these days. But they are founded in historic events that have emerged through the United States history.

On Wednesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” Adam Kloppe, a public historian with the Missouri History Museum joined Don Marsh to discuss the museum’s new exhibit "Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America," and the St. Louis connections to that world. The exhibit comes to St. Louis from the International Spy Museum, located in Washington D.C.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Lou Baczewski joined “St. Louis on the Air” last year to discuss his plans to document his grandfather’s World War II service to benefit veterans’ organizations. Now, he’s returned from a bicycle tour in Europe, where he retraced the route of his grandfather’s division during the war. He biked over 400 miles and raised $5000 for veterans’ organizations during the process.

Press Image courtesy of Kimberley French, 20th Century Fox

If you haven’t seen the “The Revenant,” nominated for 12 Oscars, you’ve probably heard about the mythologized performance of Best Actor-hungry Leonardo DiCaprio who went to great lengths to make his performance as the wild and ferocious frontiersman Hugh Glass believable.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Fargesn Media Project is a collaboration between Jewish and black activists who are looking to catalog the voices of those who participated in protests in Ferguson and throughout the St. Louis region, starting in August 2014. It was inspired by Rabbi Michael Rothbaum's Rosh Hashanah sermon, Ferguson/Fargesn.

James Fernandez and Luis Agreo.

A Spanish author and filmmaker and NYU professor have come to St. Louis this week to do field work and discuss their book about Spanish immigration in the U.S. — particularly to St. Louis. Luis Agreo and Dr. James D. Fernandez travelled the world for nine years to understand the plight of Spanish immigrants across the globe.  It is called "Invisible Immigrants: Spaniards in the U.S. (1868-1945)."

Wikimedia Commons

Downtown St. Louis has been characterized by myriad personae over the years. It’s a place where Native Americans arrived by canoe and built a grand mound city. It’s also a place that holds both great Victorian architecture and International Style skyscrapers.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Joe Johnston has been cataloguing the history of Missouri’s vigilantism for years—last November, he joined “St. Louis on the Air” to discuss the sweeping highs and lows of such history. On Wednesday’s show, Johnston joined host Don Marsh once again to talk about “It Ends Here: Missouri’s Last Vigilante,” his latest book.

Missouri History Museum

Updated 1:24, Nov. 11 with agreement  -

This Veteran’s Day, the Missouri History Museum takes over as official custodian of Soldiers Memorial Military Museum. The city and history museum formalized the agreement outside Soldier’s Memorial.

Courtesy of the Hands On Black History Museum

The recent $5 million gift tech company Emerson made to the Missouri History Museum will fund the museum’s first exhibit from its initiative to improve the representation of African-American history in museum programing. The exhibit will attempt to show St. Louis' position as a leading city of the civil rights movement.

During a 2010 interview, Norman Seay shared this photo of Jefferson Bank protesters being led to jail. A young William Clay, before he was elected to Congress, is second from left. Seay is the man wearing a hat and is behind the man with a pocket handkerc
Provided by Mr. Seay

A major gift is helping the Missouri History Museum contradict the notion that the civil rights movement was a quiet affair in St. Louis.

“The lunch-counter sit-ins happened in St. Louis before they happened in North Carolina, but people don’t know that story,” said Melanie Adams, managing director for community education and events. “People don’t realize that there were slaves suing for their freedom before Dred Scott. Those stories just are not out there being told.”

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