St. Louis Mercantile Library Special Collections

The special collections of the St. Louis Mercantile Library consist of over 400 individual collections with archival materials numbering in the millions, including over 100 historic newspaper titles, presidential letters, early travel diaries and civil war era letters, fur trade records and the newspaper and printing morgue of the St. Louis Globe Democrat, some of which is available digitally. The M-Series of collections represents the core of the Mercantile's holdings. Finding aids and descriptions can be accessed from the library's website through the Mercantile Special Collections Directory.
St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis
M-001: John Quincy Adams Letter
This letter, by former President John Quincy Adams, is in response to a request by the Mechanical Library Association of Baltimore for Adam’s to speak at their facility at some future date. This association was connected to and an outgrowth of the Baltimore volunteer Mechanical Fire Company, formed by the company for member’s self education. Adams is informing them that he will not be able to speak at the Association’s venue on the date requested. For a full description see the collection page.
M-006: John Bell Letter
John Bell was an American statesman, a U.S. Senator from Tennessee. This letter is written to Rolfe Saunders, Tennessee, concerning legislation.
M-010: Augustus A. Blumenthal Letter
The St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad Company
To Augustus A. Blumenthal Dr.
1864 October 1st
To have my --- Time, thru there carelessness demolished and to totaly destroyed and my driver killd. ----- $200.00
To Dr. Karnsby ---- attendens on the man runnet over $10.00
To Dr. Starkloff for the same $10.00
my Attorney John N. Stra-t is hereby authorized to recipt this Bill in my name Aug. A. Blumenthal
M-011: Daniel Boone Letter
Letter to Colonel William Cristen concerning plots of land., Reproduction of original letter dated 1785-08-23.
M-013 Maryland Land Grant
Royal land grant to Richard Brooks pertaining to 22 acres in Maryland.
M-015: William Cullen Bryant
American poet and newspaper editor William Cullen Bryant wrote this letter to S. N. Holliday, Esquire, concerning the poem "Thanatopsis".
M-016: Buchanan, James
Letter to A. C. Cazenove, Esq. concerning Nicolas Basler, by James Buchanan., 1.0 Comments: James Buchanan (1791-1868) was the 15th President of the United States (1857-1861). He is the only president from Pennsylvania, the only president who remained a lifelong bachelor, and the last president born in the 18th century. He was a U.S. Congressman and Senator for Pennsylvania and later served as Minister to Russia under Andrew Jackson. Buchanan was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 1844. He became Secretary of State under President James K. Polk (March 1845 - March 1849 - through all of Polk’s Presidency). The two most important international events during his tenure was the settling of the Oregon Territory boundary with Canada and the Mexican War (1846-1848). (This is the period in which this letter was written.) After he turned down an offer for an appointment to the Supreme Court, President Franklin Pierce appointed him minister to the Court of St. James's. Buchanan was nominated and elected President in 1856. He was viewed as a compromise between the two sides of the slavery question. His election victory took place in a three-man race with John C. Fremont and Millard Fillmore. As President, he was often called a "doughface", a Northerner with Southern sympathies. He battled with Stephen A. Douglas for the control of the Democratic Party. Buchanan's efforts to maintain peace between the North and the South alienated both sides, and the Southern states ultimately declared their secession in the prologue to the American Civil War in December of 1860 in the last days of his presidency.
M-021: Henry G. A. Caspers Journal
Henry G.A. Caspers was corporal, later promoted to sergeant, in the artillery company of Capt. Fischer, organized in St. Louis, Missouri. At Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, the company was mustered into the service of Col. Kearney. Most of Casper's military service was served in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico, during the time of the Mexican War. This journal dates from June 13, 1846 - December 1848. Caspers included lists of company members; duties and battles; plus references to Col. Doniphan's victory at Chihuahua, Mexico; General Kearney's march to California; and the murders of Santa Fe Governor Bent in Taos, New Mexico., 1 small leather-bound, handwritten volume. 34 pp.
M-022: August Chouteau Journal
Auguste Chouteau (1749-1829), one of the founders of St. Louis, Missouri, was also a fur trader, territorial judge, and patriarch of the most influential French family in early St. Louis history. Written in English, Spanish, and French, the documents relate to exclusive trading rights among the Osage, including receipts; relationship between the Spanish and Chouteau; and treaty of peace with Great Britain and suppression of Indian hostilities. The journal is a fragment of Chouteau's "Narrative of the Settlement of St. Louis." It is the only eyewitness documentation on the activities surrounding the founding of St. Louis. A literal translation from the original manuscript by J. Givin Brown and J. Wilmer Stith was published by the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association in 1857 in the 12th Annual Report and again in 1989., 1 journal ca. 1810-1820, unsigned but in Chouteau's handwriting on ledger paper, 14pp. [in French]
M-023: Henry Clay Letters
Two letters written by Henry Clay, American Statesman, Speaker of the House of Representatives and a U. S. Senator from Kentucky. The letters concern peace with Great Britain and cholera.
M-051: Thomas Jefferson Collection
This collection consists of two pieces of correspondence by Thomas Jefferson, former President of the United States.
M-058: Little Shield Sketchbook
This series of sketches, a visual autobiography of "Little Shield, Chief of the Arrapohas," shows his exploits of valor and historical enemies in pictographic form. Little Shield's figure is riding a horse into battle in each sketch. This journal is one of the earliest extant examples of Plains Indian ledger art, this series of sketches was created by Little Shield, an Arapaho Chieftain, who recorded his own exploits in a pictorial journal sometime in the 1860s. The work contains 23 pencil sketches, colored on lined tablet paper.
M-069: Osceola Poem
This manuscript poem, written by Osceola, a Seminole Indian Tribe Leader (1804-1838) was written to Mr. Wilson Price Hunt.
M-172: John O'Fallon Letter
One letter, dated May 2, 1828, to the Honorable James Barbour, regarding the recommendation of Thomas McNight for the appointment of superintendent of the Upper Lead Mines.
M-306: Early Account of Pearl Harbor Bombing
This typescript is one of the first detailed accounts of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. The account was written on December 8, 1941 by the Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay to the Commandant of the Fourteenth Naval District, and then forwarded on to "All Stations, Ships, and Units Concerned with Aircraft" on December 16th.
M-322 Dr. Allen B. and Helen Shopmaker American Political Collection
The Shopmaker Collection contains over three thousand items ranging from a George Washington token dated 1789 to buttons and textiles endorsing candidates in the 2008 election. The variety of objects reflects the changing tastes of the American public and the available production technologies, ranging from 19th century brass jewelry and clothing buttons embossed with candidate's names and party symbols to today's modern, mass-produced buttons, and from porcelain plates embellished with a portrait of First Lady Helen Taft to Nancy Reagan paper dolls. With artifacts representing nearly every American election, the Shopmaker Collection provides the viewer with a broad look at how candidates have used images, slogans and symbols to woo the public, and how the public has expressed its own, often outspoken, opinions on both individuals and issues.
M-355: Thomas T. Kerslake Overland Journal from Canada to New Zealand
Thomas T. Kerslake writes of his travels from Ontario, Canada to New Zealand in 1877. He leaves Plattsville, Ontario, Canada on September 29, 1877. Traveling across the United States by rail, he gives accounts of large and small cities (Chicago, Des Moines, Council Bluffs, Omaha, Promontory Point, San Francisco) and of the landscape and wild life on the plains and the Mississippi River. At San Francisco he boards the boat "City of Sydney" sailing across the Pacific Ocean, stopping in the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands before landing in Wellington, New Zealand in early November 1877.
M-365: Latta-Hord Laundry Company Photograph
This collection consists of a single photograph purchased from Ian Brabner Rare Americana. It's a circa 1909 photograph of the Latta-Hord Laundry Company in St. Louis, Missouri. The building has clean new signs advertising "We Want Your Work". The company's employees include various women posed together at the corner of the building and men who stand to the sides next to the company's horse-drawn carriages. Others peer out of the second story windows.
M-366: Savanna, Illinois Town View
This collection consists of a single photograph purchased from Ian Brabner Rare Americana. It's a circa 1910 photograph of the town of Savanna, Illinois.
M-368: Ronald Reagan "A Time for Choosing"
This early draft of Reagan's speech, "A Time for Choosing" is a signed mimeographed manuscript, 12 pages in length. The speech contains five annotations and deletions by Reagan.

Although the final version of "A Time for Choosing" was given on October 27, 1964, this earlier draft was created sometime in 1963. The draft bears little similarity to the final version, although Reagan's small government philosophy is on display in this draft.
M-369: Manuscript Cookbooks Collection
This collection contains manuscript works about cooking, including recipes and tipped-in content about homemaking., The preferred citation for this collection is "From the collections of the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri - St. Louis."
M-370: German Sisters Captivity Letter
This retained manuscript copy of an autograph letter by Thomas Neill to the sisters Sophia and Catherine German, was an attempt to secure their release from Cheyenne Indians that had captured the girls., John and Lydia German, as well as their seven children, were moving by wagon via the Smoky Hill Trail to Colorado when they were attacked by a hostile Cheyenne war party. Both parents and three of the seven children were killed and scalped. Four girls were taken captive. The two youngest girls, Addie and Julie, aged 5 and 7 respectively, were rescued in a military raid in November 1874. After the rescue of the two youngest girls, a letter was written, addressed to Sophia, aged 12, and Catherine, aged 17, by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Neill. The letter advised the sisters to read it Grey-Beard or Stone-Calf to secure the sister's release and for the Cheyennes to submit themselves to the mercy of the government. The sisters were rescued in March 1875 and reunited with their sisters at Fort Leavenworth.
M-380: Franz Liszt Score of Hungarian March
Hungarian March for orchestra composed for the coronation of Francis Joseph I, Emperor of Austria, as King of Hungary in 1867
M-380: Hungarian March
Framed musical score for Franz Liszt's Hungarian March, composed for the coronation of Francis Joseph I, Emperor of Austria, as King of Hungary in 1867.
M-391 Ramsay Crooks Fur Trade Ledger
Ramsay Crooks had immigrated into Canada from Scotland in 1803 but soon moved to Northern Michigan as clerk to a fur trader named Robert Dickson. In 1810 he was persuaded by Wilson Price Hunt, who was John Jacob Astor's agent in St. Louis, to join Astor's projected overland expedition to the mouth of the Columbia River. Prior to that, perhaps during the short period when he was in an unsuccessful partnership with Robert McClellan, he was trading on the Upper Missouri. Each entry in this notebook is headed by the native name of the individual tribesman involved, and lists each item traded, against which are shown symbols (mostly "0" or "1") each of which must indicate a specific number of pelts received in exchange. Most of the items traded are guns, ammunition, knives, beaver traps, tobacco, tomahawks and "half axes." Some rough penciled notes in a different hand towards the end of the little book, which are not attached to the name of any particular hunter, make a short list in French of various animals. Most likely a French-Canadian who worked with Crooks.
M-393: Sale of Real Estate Broadside and Manuscript
I Jno. K. Walker Sheriff as hereby certify that caused to be put up at the following named places a copy of this advertisement twenty days before the sale -- before the 30th day of March 1831 at the court house doors, at Fashnughty Barber Shop, at the Missouri Hotel at the city Hotel, at the Green Tree Tavern in the city of St. Louis, at Phillys Tavern in Bonhomnic, at Blacksmith Shop 5 miles east of Manchester, at -- Store in Manchester, at Lamisi Store in same place, -- McDonald's Mill in St. Ferdinand Township at Owens Station at Thomas Shop, at Connelly Grocery in Florissant, and at I. Aubuchon's -- same village, one at H. Jofo Tavern on Florissant Road -- at Darny -- Loc -- -- in St. Louis Township. Ten of the most public places in the county. Shff cost $5.00 Jno. K. Walker Shff.
M-435 Cunningham, Jane
Letter from Jane Cunningham to her cousin in response to a request for genealogical information. Cunningham discusses her father, uncles, and brother, with significant detail on their involvement in the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill in North Carolina (June 20, 1780) and conflict with Native Americans in Tennessee.

Mercantile Library Collections Directory

Mercantile Special Collections Directory

Barriger Library Collections Directory

Barriger Special Collections Directory

Pott Library Collections Directory

Pott Special Collections Directory