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-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-114: Records of the Saint Louis Lyceum
The Saint Louis Lyceum was a public forum for lectures and debates in early St. Louis. It was founded in 1838 in the spirit of the Lyceum Movement, a national effort towards self-improvement and community led education for adults. It maintained and built upon the library of the city's first subscription library, the St. Louis Library Association, which was founded in the early 1820s. The Lyceum overlapped in activities and collections with the Young Men's Lyceum and the Mechanics' Institute of St. Louis. The archives and books of these early libraries were bought by the Mercantile Library in the early 1850s, and became a cornerstone bibliographic collection at the Mercantile. This collection was reassembled from the stacks of the Mercantile through study of the original accession records concerning the acquisition in 1851. The larger collection consists of approximately 500 printed books and pamphlets from this early book collection, some with association annotations, original ownership marks, or bookplates. Most of the scanned materials relate to the week to week meeting minutes, circulation records, and founding documents.
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