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Upcoming Speaker Series Presentations
The Thursday Evening Speaker Series is free of charge and open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Unless otherwise noted, programs will be held at the Missouri State Archives, located at 600 W. Main Street in Jefferson City. The series is underwritten by the Friends of the Missouri State Archives.
[Presentation Videos from past events are available at the following location:
Missouri State Archives Presentation Videos.]
Fire, Pestilence, and Death: St. Louis, 1849
Thursday, January 24, 2019, 7 p.m.
In 1849, St. Louis was little more than a frontier town straining under the pressure of rapid population growth and poor infrastructure, often trapped within the confines of ignorance and prejudice. A cholera epidemic and the Great Fire that year were both a consequence of those problems and—despite the devastation they brought—a chance for the city to evolve. In his book, Fire, Pestilence, and Death: St. Louis 1849, author Christopher Alan Gordon offers a detailed study of these calamities. Drawing upon the archives of the Missouri Historical Society, including newspaper accounts, city and county records, letters, diaries and contemporary publications, Gordon reveals the story of 1849 St. Louis as it was experienced by people who lived through that incredible year. Join us as Gordon not only provides an in-depth look at the city during one of the most turbulent years in its history, but also a glimpse into the struggles of a growing nation and the determination of its people.
In the Shadow of Dred Scott:
St. Louis Freedom Suits and the Legal Culture of Slavery in Antebellum America
In Recognition of Black History Month
Thursday, February 21, 2019, 7 p.m.
In her groundbreaking work, In the Shadow of Dred Scott: St. Louis Freedom Suits and the Legal Culture of Slavery in Antebellum America, Dr. Kelly M. Kennington draws on the casefiles of more than 300 enslaved individuals who, like Dred Scott and his family, sued for freedom in St. Louis. As a gateway to the American west, a major port on both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and a focal point in the bitter national debate over slavery’s expansion, the city was an ideal place for enslaved individuals to challenge the legal systems and, by extension, the social systems that held them in forced servitude. Kennington offers an in-depth look at how daily interactions, webs of relationships and arguments presented in court shaped and reshaped legal debates and attitudes over slavery and freedom in St. Louis. Join us as Kennington discusses these historic suits, placing them in a broader national context and shedding light on the ways in which they influenced the national conversation on slavery.
Frolic of the Mind: The Illustrious Life of Rose O'Neill
In Recognition of Women's History Month
Thursday, March 21, 2019, 7 p.m.
Before Mickey Mouse, there were Kewpie dolls—the much beloved cherub-faced characters created by Midwest native Rose O’Neill. Introduced to the world in December of 1909 through a cartoon published in Ladies’ Home Journal, their frolics and impish pursuits became so popular that they moved off the page into doll form and beyond. The success of the Kewpie doll made O’Neill a millionaire, but it was just one of her many creative pursuits. She was also an important illustrator—the only female on the staff of Puck Magazine; an author of four published novels and several books of poetry; and a sculptor who exhibited her work in Paris. In Frolic of the Mind: The Illustrious Life of Rose O’Neill, Sarah Buhr, Curator of Art at the Springfield Art Museum, unites all of O’Neill’s creative endeavors, examining how she pursued these interests and lived life on her own terms, all in spite of the strict social rules placed upon women at the turn of the century. Join us as Buhr discusses the incredible life and work of artist Rose O’Neill.