Oct 19 2009
Contact: Laura Egerdal, (573) 526-0949

Remembering Missouri Day

A column by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan

Anna Brosius Korn first came up with the idea of a Missouri Day in 1913. She was a native Missourian but moved to Oklahoma in 1906 after getting married. Just three years after arriving in her new state, Korn became a charter member of the Missouri Society of Oklahoma. She was a proud Missourian, and decided there should be a link uniting people with ties to Missouri living all across the country.

After returning to our state in 1913, she visited Jefferson City and the site of the State Capitol, which had been destroyed by a fire two years earlier. Inspired, she returned to her hometown of Trenton and drafted a resolution calling for a Missouri Day to be celebrated every October 1st. Korn chose October 1st for two reasons. First, Mark Twain noted that “Missouri is at her best in October.” And second, Jefferson City became the seat of government on October 1, 1826.

After writing a resolution, Korn took her idea to organizations in her hometown, and then across the state and country. It was adopted by many groups, including the State Teacher’s Association, Missouri Daughters of the American Revolution and the Missouri Society of Washington, D.C. After those successes, she drafted a bill in 1915 to make Missouri Day official and asked State Representative Dr. J.A. Waterman of Caldwell County to introduce the bill in the House.

There was only one change the legislature made to her bill – they moved Missouri Day to the first Monday in October so that it would always fall on a weekday. The bill passed the House and Senate unanimously, and Governor Elliott Woolfolk Major signed the legislation into law on March 22, 1915. Korn didn’t stop there, though, as she moved back to Oklahoma in 1917 and just four years later spearheaded the designation of an Oklahoma Day.

In 1969, the Missouri Legislature moved Missouri Day to the third Wednesday in October, but the meaning of Korn’s bill remains the same today.

As we observe the 95th Missouri Day, keep in mind why Anna Brosius Korn spent two years working to make sure we celebrate Missouri every year. As she wrote in the Missouri Historical Review a few months after her bill became law, “The day was devised primarily to unite all organizations in bonds of fraternal feeling; to foster a love for our history; to teach the rising generations of boys and girls the glories of Missouri; to encourage patriotism and promote all lines of interest in our forward march of progress.”