St. Louis Mercantile Library | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mercantile Library

An exhibit on the history of newspapers is now on display at the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
(Courtesy: St. Louis Mercantile Library)

During the mid-1800s, St. Louis had between 20-25 daily newspapers operating concurrently.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about a new exhibit at the St. Louis Mercantile Library, "Headlines of History: Historic Newspapers of St. Louis and the World Through the Centuries,” with the library’s director, John Hoover.

“It’s in 11 parts,” Hoover said. “We start in colonial times and even earlier times when newspapers didn’t look like newspapers at all.”

Daven Anderson's "Last Light" captures life on a boat hauling 15 barges on the Ohio River at twilight.
Daven Anderson

Riddle me this: What surrounds us as Americans that most of us have never directly experienced?

If you guessed “our nation’s waterways,” you would be correct. Rivers and lakes are everywhere you turn in this country. This is perhaps no more so true than in St. Louis, which is cradled by the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and their many tributaries.

So it makes sense that St. Louis-based painter Dave Anderson would turn his most recent gallery exhibition into a tribute to America’s aquatic arteries.

Entrance to the Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis
Provided by the library

If your job were to nourish and to advance a venerable cultural institution so skillfully that its dignity and integrity would be burnished while, at the same time, you send it riding high into the cultural and civic mainstream by selling it to an over-stimulated, word and image weary public, what would you do, what should you do?

The show at the Mercantile Library has so many elements, some are on the floor.
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To celebrate a major birthday — say, 50 or older — many hosts serve cake and display photos of the celebrant: baby photos, first steps, awkward adolescence, coming of age and major landmarks of adulthood.

For St. Louis’ 250th birthday celebration, John Neal Hoover has done just that. At the Mercantile Library’s new exhibition, Hoover hung several century-old photos, older paintings and drawings, but mostly he tells the city history in maps.

Firecracker Press

This weekend the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis is hosting its 8th Annual Fine Print, Rare Book & Paper Arts Fair. Vendors and dealers will be set up in the J.C. Penney Building Saturday May 3 and Sunday, May 4, with a benefit preview this evening.

(Courtesy St. Louis Mercantile Library)

This Sunday an exhibition called “Presidents and Politics” opens at the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri St. Louis.

The campaign buttons, posters and cartoons on display seem quaint compared to this year’s high-tech presidential race, but they also show American politics has always been spirited.

The memorabilia is part of the Dr. Allen B. and Helen S. Shopmaker Political Collection, a gift to the Mercantile Library.

Harriet Hosmer's Beatrice Cenci
Provided by St. Louis Mercantile Library

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Harriet Hosmer wasn't born in St. Louis. She didn't grow up here or, in fact, live here for very long.

But the woman who would go on to carve her own way as a neo-classical sculptor in a man's world was changed by her time in St. Louis. And she left her mark, including some of her work, in several significant places.