(Missouri History Museum)

In the age of emails, texts and tweets, we take a look back to a time when the handwritten letter was the primary way people communicated across long distances.

In his book To the Letter: A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing, author Simon Garfield examines the role of letters throughout history – a role that now must adapt to current technology.


From transporting Native Americans to the founding of the United States and beyond, the Mississippi River is an integral part of American history.

In his new book, Old Man River: The Mississippi River in North American History, author Paul Schneider weaves together all of these stories and more to tell the greater story of a continent formed and transformed by a river which both divides and unites.

(Courtesy Bath & North East Somerset Council, UK)

Bestselling author Bill Bryson has covered a range of topics over the years. He wrote about science in  A Short History of Just About Everything. He detailed his travel through the Appalachian Trail in A Walk in the Woods. And he outlined the idiosyncrasies of the English language in Made in America.

In his latest offering, One Summer: America, 1927, Bryson maintains his signature humorous tone as he offers historical tidbits covering a four-month time span in American history.

Images courtesy Stih & Schnock © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

When Berlin-based conceptual artists Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock first visited St. Louis in 2002, they were surprised by how familiar the city felt to them.

"We were baffled by how German it is. How normal everything sounds and looks," said Stih. "It wasn’t New York, it wasn’t Chicago, for sure not LA, It was something like a nice, quiet, city with extraordinary town planning."

(Courtesy PBS)

According to the U.S. Census, the United States will become a majority-minority by the year 2043, with Latinos representing the largest portion of the population.

While this shift in demographics represents a major sea-change for the country, in a way it is also nothing more than a continuation of a long story: the 500 year history of Latino Americans.

On Sunday, September 15, 1963, a 14-year old Carolyn McKinstry witnessed an event that would change her life forever – the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The incident killed Carolyn's four friends - and would become an recurring topic of conversation and lasting mark on America's history to this day.

(via Flickr/BrianSwan)

A new contest is designed to encourage Missouri residents to scour historic records held by the state's public institutions.

The Great Missouri Treasure Hunt is sponsored by the Missouri State Archives to promote awareness of historic records available on the Internet.

Participants will enter stories they unearthed from online records or documents. Entries will be broken down into family history, Civil War history and Missouri history.

The Pruitt-Igoe public housing project in St. Louis was once considered the template for post-war public housing, a national model.  For awhile it was—until it wasn’t.  The high rise complex was constructed in 1954.  Two decades later, and by then notorious, Pruitt-Igoe was a pile of rubble, imploded and bulldozed into history. What went wrong and why?  That’s the subject of a new documentary film called The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: an Urban History.   Directed by Chad Freidrichs, the film will have its St. Louis premiere this Saturday at the Missouri History Museum.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

History buff? Legal enthusiast? Generally curious about Missouri's past? Get excited.

The Missouri State Archives will be posting thousands of old state Supreme Court cases online for the public to view beginning late next year.

The Secretary of State's office says the State Archives has received a grant of more than $148,000 from the federal government for the project.

photo by Aaron Doerr

Bobby Norfolk was driving somewhere in 2009 when NPR's Fresh Air stopped him in his tracks.  He remembers the interview with author Larry Tye as "the most compelling hour of listening" he's ever experienced. Tye's biography of Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige started Norfolk on a journey that's culminated in his latest one man show,  Shadowball: The Negro Baseball Leagues.