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WINTER, 2016
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Michael Ryan, Vice President and Director of the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library at the New-York Historical Society, addresses the crowd at An Audubon Evening, the 170th Anniversary Celebration of the St. Louis Mercantile Library in April 2016.

“Audubon and Beyond,"  The Mercantile Library’s Successful Natural History Exhibition, Continues

The Mercantile Library has been pleased over the tremendous response to the second in a series of five major exhibitions it has or will present leading to its 175th Anniversary in 2021.  To date it has attracted the largest audience of any show the Library has launched in its long heritage of exhibitions of rare books and art to its members and the general community.

The impetus behind the program has been to use the Library’s major collection of original engravings and lithographs, as well as various editions of the works of John James Audubon, including a complete set of his masterpiece, Birds of America (1828-38), as the backdrop to present the Library’s deep and historic interest in collecting natural history and the world of all living things in print.  Many of the most distinguished holdings of the Library are based in nature and science, as that world unfolded in the nineteenth century to the Library’s early leaders.  Works of exploration of newly opening lands like the American frontier, or previously remote and unknown areas like ancient India and dynastic Egypt, are presented side by side with illustrations of flora and fauna worldwide.  Classics of science, from Newton to Darwin, are on view with lesser known works of astronomy, anthropology, anatomy, geology and meteorology to name a few of the topics explored in this sprawling exhibition.  Polar exploration is generously represented. 

Ancillary exhibitions sprang up this year with Audubon and Beyond as well—in the first months, Other Audubons which explored the works of Edward Curtis and his North American Indian photography, a complete set of which is held by the Mercantile as an original subscriber to the monumental project; Romeyn Hough, who created a massive work on the woods of American forest trees, The American Woods, through the laborious process of mounting paper thin shavings of original grains to printed card stock;  and  Francois Andre  Michaux and Thomas  Nuttall’s Sylva of North America, an exuberant and colorful  collection of magnificent framed prints of leaves of American trees which were lovingly documented through travels along the Appalachian trails of early America. 

John Hoover curated these exhibitions which, as part of the Anniversary series, form a collecting history of the Mercantile on the eve of its 175th anniversary of service to scholarship in St. Louis and much further across the nation.

For docent led tours and events please contact Amanda Schneider  (314-516-7248; amandarschneider@umsl.edu.   

St. Louis Mercantile Library Art Museum Board Member Carolyn Sellers talks with a visiting family during the Family Day event on September 18, 2016.  
Cornus Florida, from North American Sylva, by Francois Andre Michaux, an Audubon of the American Trees. 
The Audubon and Beyond exhibition catalogue is available for purchase at the St. Louis Mercantile Library.  Soft cover $10 or Hard cover $25.  
Click here to order. 
The exhibition is still on display through June 2017.  Stop by on Saturdays at 11am or Sundays at 2pm for a free, docent-led tour! Click here for a complete list of holiday hours.
Exhibition Updates
There’s something for everyone in our current exhibitions.  Audubon & Beyond continues through June, 2017.  In the Bates Gallery the complementary exhibition The Nature of Light: Photographs by Heidi Lopata Sherman features stunning landscapes and interiors by this important St. Louis artist and will also close in June.  Presidents and War, ongoing in the Shopmaker Political Gallery, explores the complex role war has played in presidential campaigns and presidencies. The Shopmaker Political Print gallery features Laughing All the Way to the Ballot Box: Political Cartoons Through History from Mercantile Collections with historic and modern cartoons poking fun at many of the same issues we are debating today.  In February this gallery will feature portraits of Abraham Lincoln.​ 
Heidi Lopata Sherman. Berkshire Mountains, Williamstown, MA (Birch Tree), 1990. Hand-varnished Silver Gelatin Print.  From the Collection of the St. Louis Mercantile Library at UMSL. 
 
Bates Gallery
The Library is maintaining its busy exhibition schedule with installations that complement our major exhibition, Audubon and Beyond, as well as other special collections.  On Sunday, October 16th we opened The Nature of Light: Photographs by Heidi Lopata Sherman that features exquisite works by the late Heidi Sherman.  In 2014 Mr. Allen Sherman donated a significant collection of his late wife’s photographs to the Mercantile Library, and we are pleased to be able to present them in this special exhibition. 

The works on display fall into three major categories; early large scale, hand-varnished silver gelatin prints of complex landscapes and intriguing interiors; small platinum print landscapes; and color digital floral portraits.  Sherman had traveled extensively and throughout the variety of locations featured in her landscapes she remained focused on the specific beauty of each site.  Her landscapes are anchored in a human connection to nature that is reflected in compositions that invite the viewer into what often feels like a very personal space, even in the large format prints.  Conversely, the small platinum prints often achieve a remarkable sense of monumentality and draw the viewer physically close to better experience the scene.  In her interior works, Sherman made light itself the subject of the photograph, shooting directly toward a bright window such that the glow of sunlight becomes a nearly palpable compositional element.  These images can be startling or subtle, but each speaks to the importance of light as it takes on a symbolic role in Sherman’s works.  Her emphasis on the role of light in photography and on the primacy of human connections to nature make this exhibition a strong complement to Audubon and Beyond in which photography, the study of light, and humankind’s exploration of nature are so broadly presented.  The Nature of Light: Photographs by Heidi Lopata Sherman will remain on view through June, 2017, closing at the same time as Audubon and Beyond


Shopmaker Political Gallery
Presidents and War, a focused exhibition that examines the role wars have played in political campaigns and presidencies, opened in February 2016.  A variety of materials including glassware, campaign buttons, posters, photographs, political cartoons, newspapers and books illustrate how war and military conflicts have impacted presidents and candidates from George Washington to Barack Obama.  The artifacts show how Washington’s role as soldier-president set an example that was utilized by candidates to reinforce their image of leadership, how candidates have sought and won the endorsement of veterans and the military, how candidates used fear of war and the promise of peace as a powerful campaign tool, and how presidential handling – or mishandling – of wars affected their presidencies.  The exhibition is drawn from the Dr. Allen B. and Helen S. Shopmaker Political Collection, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat archives, and the Mercantile Library archival and rare book collections.  It will remain on view through spring 2017.
 
“About Vietnam” Brochure.  From the The Dr.  Allen B. and Helen S. Shopmaker American Political Collection at the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri– St. Louis.
 

 
Campaign Button, “IKE” in Morse Code.  From the The Dr.  Allen B. and Helen S. Shopmaker American Political Collection at the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri– St. Louis.
 
The Shopmaker Political Print Gallery
The Shopmaker Political Print Gallery, located in the atrium, recently closed the exhibition The Face of Washington in Missouri and the Nation that included a broad variety of prints and decorative arts featuring the portrait of our first President, and notably featured George Caleb Bingham’s oil portraits of George and Martha Washington.  The new exhibition is entitled Laughing All the Way to the Ballot Box: Political Cartoons Through History from Mercantile Library Collections and draws from the Shopmaker Political Collection as well as Mercantile print and rare newspaper collections.  The cartoons range from Civil War era to the present day and feature artists such as Udo J. Keppler (1872-1956), Daniel R. Fitzpatrick (1891-1969), Don Hesse (1918 - 1985), and William Gropper (1897 - 1977). The exhibition will remain on view through January 2017.  In February the presidential portraits series will continue with portraits of Abraham Lincoln.
George Whiting with E.B. and E.C. Kellogg, Jeff Sees the Elephant, 1862. From the Collections of the St. Louis Mercantile Library at UMSL. 
Pictured: This Pictorial Map of the mid twentieth century short wave radio network—complete with mythical beasts and deities—is unrecorded in the largest collections of picture maps in America—a work printed in the Netherlands, it represents one of the legendary forms of communication and will be presented in a upcoming exhibition of the Mercantile’s large holdings of this delightful map genre.  To Beau Brauer, who made the acquisition possible, we express the Library’s sincere gratitude.
Recent Acquisitions of Rare Books and Special Collections
 
As the Mercantile continues to build electronic holdings, including digital photo collections for local historians, scanned versions of the historic runs of St. Louis city directories for genealogists, among many other holdings of rail, river, and American historical collections, it is important to note that the Mercantile remains a port of call for the preservation and collecting of printed books and papers.  Many of these in turn will be shared with researchers locally in our reference room and increasingly with incalculable numbers of readers on line who visit our website.

Over the summer and fall fine printing, St. Louis historical photographic collections, local business archives, historic prints,  rare Americana of all kinds, from books  and maps to early political campaign buttons and posters, and art objects and paintings have all come to the Library.
A leaf from Johannes Gutenberg’s 1462 edition of the Catholicon, a medieval encyclopedia, was added to the printing history collections at the Mercantile recently.  This work represents some of the world’s oldest printing as well as the genius printer’s early interest in a form of stereotyping, after his great Biblia Sacra first employed his movable type. 
The Mercantile Library added this spring to its editions of seventeenth century North American travel narratives, the German edition of Father Hennepin’s remarkable narrative of travel along the Mississippi and its tributaries.  This version contains the first printed map identifying the Mississippi by name. We are grateful to an anonymous donor and to Mr. Blackford Brauer for providing the funds to make this purchase possible four the Mercantile’s historical waterways collections in the Pott Library.
An extremely rare pamphlet of forty seven lyrics of songs from the Ozarks, crucially important for studying the culture of music and entertainment in rural Missouri as collected in the 1920’s.  This is a magnificent Midwestern folklore survival with songs entitled “Ozark Wives”, “Our Baby Died”, “The Miner’s Prayer”, “Back Woods”, and “The Struggle for Life.”  A magnificent collection which reaches back to early Missouri days and developing cultural patterns of the “timeless” hills  of even today.
The Mercantile will be opening its exhibition of historic newspapers in 2017 and is currently collecting items for this timeless story,  thus is was a great boon to receive from a corresponding member in Florida this pamphlet used by the Post-Dispatch for St. Louis Student tours a half century ago.  To this donor and to all of the generous members who help make our collection grow through such fine contributions, the Mercantile Library is abidingly grateful.
Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Turley donated this fall the records of the Ambassador Real Estate Corporation as well as many other historical records, photographs and publications dealing with mid twentieth century downtown St. Louis real estate, including hundreds of identified block photos of the buildings there in those day, which are currently being digitized for the Mercantile and the Missouri Digital Library.
Art Museum Notes
 
It’s been a year now since the art collection was rehung on Level 1 to include works acquired over the past ten years.  Even so, there have been many changes to the collection including paintings by Frederick Oakes Sylvester; watercolors by James Godwin Scott, Jessie Rickly and Dale Nichols; oil paintings by Frank Nuderscher, Paul Harney and Joseph Vorst.  The Feldacker Labor Art Collection was greatly enhanced with additional donations of prints and sculpture, and the Trojcak African Art collection received a large number of masks, sculpture and textiles.

The Art Museum has received significant support from our members and friends for the Art Adoption campaign in support of several important acquisitions, and we are grateful for this generous response.  The Adoption program will continue to include annual appeal gifts designated for the art collection.  You may contact Curator Julie Dunn-Morton with any questions or to make your gift; 314-516-6740.

An ongoing project is the Catalogue Raisonné project on the works of Frederick Oakes Sylvester.  This prolific artist worked in the Boston area and in New Orleans before settling in St. Louis to teach at Central High School and at The Principia.  He was a member of the Saint Louis Artist Guild and a leader in the city’s art scene at the turn of the 20th century.  Any owners of Sylvester artwork are asked to contact the curator to have their works included in this important project; 314-516-6740 or dunnmortonj@umsl.edu.​
Frank Nuderscher, Arcadia Valley, oil on panel. 
Above: Frederick Oakes Sylvester, Missouri River from Elsah, oil on canvas.
Barriger Library Notes
 
One of the great collections within the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library is our collection of materials from the American Car and Foundry Company, originally headquartered in St. Charles, MO.  This collection came to the library in the 1990s when the company moved from its headquarters/research and manufacturing facility in St. Charles to a smaller building with other functions transferred to other sites.  The company’s archive of out of use car materials was offered to the library and incorporated into the collection.
This collection also came with a copy of the company’s original finding aid and was shipped to us in boxes labeled and organized according to that original finding aid.  However, not all of the material that was in AC&F’s hands was sent to the library.  Some material was held back because the equipment was still in use, other material was kept because of business reasons and some other material was held because it dealt with national security.  (AC&F built Minuteman Missiles and other materials for the Defense Department.)  Alas, this was not reflected on the finding aid we received and the library staff have had to disappoint researchers asking for material that was never transferred over.
 
This year, we are working on correcting this.  The entire AC&F finding aid is being updated by boxes at the library so that we will be able to show the precise holdings of the collection at the library.  Once this process has been completed the finding aid will be posted online for all to use.
 
In the meantime, we have been digitizing images from the collection, mainly railroad equipment produced by AC&F and posting them on the library’s flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/barrigerlibrary/albums. ​
Sean Visintainer addressing the crowd at the 2015 Wright Award Ceremony. 
Pott Library Notes
 
In the early fall the Mercantile bade farewell to departing Curator of the Herman T. Pott Inland Waterways historical collections, Sean Visintainer, who has taken the position Director of Special Collections at the University of Texas-Rio Grande ValleyA national search is underway to fill this crucial position for the St. Louis Mercantile Library.  In his tenure, Sean conducted a successful series of lectures on river history targeted for St. Louis schools and community groups, and helped build a strong digital presence for the Pott Library, large photographic collections and print holdings.
Added recently to the Pott Library’s extensive collection of early American river guides, those wonderful "Fodors" documenting the travelers on the waterways of the frontier, was this increasingly unobtainable 1806 edition of Zadock Cramer’s Navigator, one of the earliest of the first series of such guides to the Ohio and the Mississippi when the nation was young. This copy comes down to us with extensive notes and diary inscriptions by the original owner, including his account of using the book (reading on horseback?  Some things never change!) while crossing a tributary stream and being thrown in the rushing water—book, horse and reader were all saved but the owner noted the book’s water stains as a results of his carelessness, still prominent to the eye over two centuries later.
This special edition of charts for the 175 miles of the Rhine River from Waldshut to Landau was used probably by a merchant-trader in the area where the river borders Germany, Switzerland and France—a custom designed pocket map from Vaugondy’s larger Rhine Atlas from the early eighteenth century, which will be added to the Pott Library’s growing collection of Renaissance and early modern maps, plans, histories and studies of rivers worldwide.​
Staff Spotlight- Porsche Schlapper
 
Prior to joining the Mercantile, Porsche completed her Masters in Library and Information Science with the University of Wisconsin, where she developed a professional interest in historic digitization.  She then worked in the UWM academic library’s media department and completed an internship with the Milwaukee Public Library before participating in a joint project between Ancestry.com and the National Archives and Records Administration.
 
Born and raised in Western Missouri, Porsche has always been interested in the role Missouri has played in American history.  “In the short time since starting, I have really found my passion for local history reinvigorated in an even bigger way than I anticipated, and I fall a little more in love with Saint Louis every day.“  We are so glad to have Porsche on board, and are excited to continue working with her to accomplish the Library’s digitization initiatives. 
Staff Spotlight- Jesse Nay Lor
 
Jesse Nay Lor has been with the University of Missouri since 1996.  Prior to working at the Mercantile Library, he worked at the Millenium Student Center and the UMSL Police Station, and also worked with the Daughters of Charity.  Since his start at the Library in 2001, he has enjoyed getting to know the Mercantile's collections, as well as the opportunity to meet and talk with students in the Library.
 
Volunteer Spotlight-Truman State Interns
 
During the summer of 2016 the Mercantile had the pleasure of working with two energetic interns from Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo.  Ashleigh Harding and Sarah Barger each spent eight weeks assisting the three collections curators with various projects while also learning about the behind-the-scenes work of a library and museum.  Ashleigh’s primary project was scanning, creating metadata and uploading campaign materials from the Shopmaker Collection onto the Digital Library.  Sarah worked with the Barriger curator on digitizing material from the Bureau of Railway Economics.  This includes documents from the 1910s and 1920s that have not been available in digital form from any institution.  Sarah helped us digitize and upload 20 volumes from this collection.
 
Board Spotlight- Jane Gleason
 
Jane Gleason joined the Board of the Mercantile Library in 2000 and has served consistently since then with only brief absences and has taken on increasing responsibilities, from Treasurer to 1st Assistant Vice President.  In 2016 she graciously accepted the mantel of President of the Board.  Other St. Louis organizations also benefit from Jane’s enthusiasm and energy; she served as chairwoman of the county's Historic Buildings Commission and is a long-time board member of the Campbell House Museum.  Her interests in history and in artwork by regional artists contribute to her understanding of and support for the Library, and we are fortunate to have her as our Board president.
THE ST. LOUIS MERCANTILE LIBRARY
WELCOMES OUR NEW BOARD MEMBERS!
Mercantile Library Board of Direction
Ruth Bryant 
Ron Elz 
Dan Martin
Robert Morrissey 
Carrie Polk 
Phil Stupp 

Barriger Board of Trustees
Mike McCarthy 
Paul Titterton 
Mercantile Library Membership 
 
It is now time to renew your Membership for 2017!  Renew online or by mail today to make sure that you don't miss out on any of your great benefits, including checkout privileges at both the Thomas Jefferson and Mercantile Libraries, discounts on events and research services, and invitations to special member-only events!  We now offer a special "sustaining" membership opportunity, which provides the option to pay your membership dues monthly rather than in one lump sum every year. Soon we will also begin offering special reciprocal benefits to certain membership levels that can be used at other Membership Libraries and Museums throughout the United States!  Please watch your mail for more details, and call 314-516-7248 if you have any questions about Membership.  Not yet a member?  Join today! 

We have welcomed 92 new members in 2016!  Thanks so much to all of our members for your amazing support of the Mercantile.  
Upcoming Events
Don't miss any of our exciting events in 2017!  Click here for a printable calendar of events. Call 314-516-7248 to RSVP or for any questions.   We look forward to seeing you at the Library soon! 
St. Louis Fine Print, Rare Book & Paper Arts Fair
Plan now to join us May 5 – 7, 2017 for the 11th annual St. Louis Fine Print, Rare Book & Paper Arts Fair!  Our loyal dealers, both local and out-of-town, will be joined by two new dealers; Conrad R. Graeber Fine Art from Maryland and Read ‘Em Again Books from Virginia.  There is truly something for everyone, both in the treasures offered by our dealers and the many activities offered as part of the Fair.  Whether you are an experienced collector of rare first editions or a book lover on a budget, you’ll find something to love.  Fine art enthusiasts can browse historic and rare photographs, prints by a wide variety of artists, as well as original watercolors and pastels.  There is no lack of experiences to enrich your Fair experience.  Friday night’s silent auction is always fun with unique items and services, while Sunday will feature pastel and hand-press printing demonstrations and new subject-themed tour opportunities at the Fair.  For Fair updates check the website printfair.umsl.edu.
Support the St. Louis Mercantile Library
Please consider making a gift to the Library's annual appeal here at the end of another fine year of service.  Your gifts help us offer educational programs, maintain the Library's fabulous collections and aid in our staff's research, teaching, and curatorial services, as we all protect and preserve the great St. Louis cultural asset that is the Mercantile, now approaching its 171st year.  Thank you always for your support!
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The St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri- St. Louis
1 University Blvd. 
St. Louis, MO 63121
314-516-7240