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-009: General Daniel Bissell Papers
This collection contains 31 hand-written letters bound in a single volume. The correspondence covers the years 1800-1820. Correspondents include Gen. James Wilkinson; Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike; Gov. William Henry Harrison; Henry Dearborn; William Clark; Frederick Bates; Gov. Meriwether Lewis; and Auguste Chouteau
Immediately after the Louisiana Territory was ceded by France to the United States, Gen. Daniel Bissell (1768-1833) was appointed Commandant of the U.S. Military Department of Missouri. He built, by government order, the contanment at Bellefontaine, just north of St. Louis. As Commandant, Bissell officially welcomed the expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to St. Louis. After his military career ended, Bissell retired to a large tract of land on the Bellefontaine Road near St. Louis.
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.

Mercantile Library Collections Directory

Mercantile Special Collections Directory

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Barriger Special Collections Directory

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Pott Special Collections Directory