Missouri State Historical Society, News Roundup, University of Missouri

News: Highlights of Historical Society building and marking ROTC 150th year

May 13, 2019 — New Historical Society building will connect Missourians to a rich past. Source: Columbia Missourian. Summary: The new headquarters for the State Historical Society of Missouri on Elm Street will open this summer. It will be 76,000 feet, double its old home in Ellis Library at MU. The $35 million building includes exterior limestone quarried in Missouri. It was designed by Gould Evans, a Kansas City architectural firm.

May 10, 2019 — With expanded veterans center, MU celebrates campus ROTC. Source: Columbia Missourian. Summary: The review of members of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, an annual event, this year marked the 150th year of ROTC at MU.

Get involved, University of Missouri

1949 and 1959: Photos of Columbia

Want to see what Columbia looked like to photographers of the Missouri Photo Workshop in 1949 and 1959? I found the images stunning.

Photographers come from across the U.S. and around the world to participate in this Workshop at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. Since 1949, Workshop participants have gone to a small town in Missouri each year to documenting lives there, according to an announcement on the Missouri School of Journalism Facebook page posted today.

Twice, Columbia was the town documented. These links to 1949 and 1959 will take you to a slideshow of haunting views of Columbia.

If you’re not from Columbia, here’s a link to find other towns which were featured.

There are no captions, only images. But I find myself wondering who are these people. Where are they today? Do they see themselves? Do they see our lives in 1949 or 1959?

Do you know them? Can you identify them?



Black History, Schools, University of Missouri

Two surprise news items: Legion of Black Collegians history and Sanborn Field

At MU, in 1950, the first black student was enrolled at the University of Missouri.  In 1968, there were fewer than 500 black students there and no black professors at all. That year, the Legion of Black Collegians was launched to support black students

Two years prior, in 1948, a fungus was discovered that lead to the development of an antibiotic. It was found in the soil at Sanborn Field, one of only about 2,500 National Historic Landmarks in the U.S.

The permission to republish these two articles from MIZZOU magazine’s Winter 2019 issue provides information on the racial struggles at the MU and the importance of Sanborn field. This magazine is typically only available to those who receive this MU alumni magazine, so this is a special opportunity to learn about MU’s history.

  • Winter 2019 — Marking 50 Years. PDF copy. Source: MIZZOU magazine. Summary: The Legion of Black Collegians is celebrating 50 years. The article notes mile markers such as the launch of the LBC, the first formal student organization focused on the black student population, 1969 the creation of the Black Studies Program, the 1974 successful advocation for the removal of Confederate Rock from campus, the 1990 sit-in to get Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday recognized as a holiday, 2013 change of the Black Studies Program into the Black Studies Department, LBC students and others form Concerned Student 1950 to demand policy changes to shift the culture at MU, 2018 the UM System pledges $8.5 million for the Missouri Compact for Inclusive Excellence, and in 2018, MU dedicates building or spaces to Lucile Bluford, George C. Brooks and Gus T. Ridgel. Note: The copy of this article is republished here with permission from MIZZOU magazine.
  • Winter 2019 — Old Field, New Ideas. Source: MIZZOU Magazine. Summary: Sanborn Field, established in 1888, was named a National Historic Landmark in 1964. It was named after J.W. Sanborn, director of the Missouri Agricultural Experimental Station. In 1948, William A. Albrecht found streptomyces aureofaciens there which became the basis for Aureomycin, an antibiotic widely prescribed from the 1940s to the 1980s. The Smithsonian Institute has a sample of the Sanborn soil. The copy of this article is republished here with permission from MIZZOU magazine.
Black History, Boone County Bicentennial, CoMo200, Events, General, Get involved, National Register of Historic Places, Notable Properties List, University of Missouri

Seven ways to use this website

If you’re a regular reader, thanks! If you’re not, here are seven ways this website can help you and will convince you to follow this website.

  1. First, I keep up with and post any news and events related to history on the page “All Media Coverage.” That’s why this week’s list includes information on upcoming meetings to mark the Boone County bicentennial. All the news comes from reliable news outlets such as KOMU.com, the Columbia Daily Tribune or the Columbia Missourian.  Note, I’m a one-person show, so I’m not perfect. If you see something missing, send me a note or comment below. I’m a keen fan of crowd-sourced knowledge!
  2. Forgot that important happening or upcoming event? Use the All Media Coverage page to refresh your memory.
  3. Only interested in Black history? I got a page for you that I keep updated. There’s an update today! Really want to follow BoCo200 or CoMo200 information? I’ve got a page about that, too. In today’s update, there’s a link to one of the most moving articles I’ve read about the links to slavery common icons have. Those columns at MU? Not such a beautiful site since I now know they were likely built with slave labor.
  4. Not keen on the news? Only want to find out what buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places or the city’s Notable Properties List? No problem. Houses, Apartments, Areas, Buildings, Schools including the University of Missouri, Stephens College and Columbia College all have their own pages. Each page is organized by address so you can find out if that cute house that looks fresh out of a fairy tale at 121 N. West Boulevard is on the National Register.  Spoiler: It’s not.
  5. Can’t be bothered with looking at this website? I understand. We’re all busy. You can sign up for emails whenever I post something.
  6. In love with Facebook like I am? You can find my posts there along with other information as I catch it.
  7. You can send me questions or comments and I’ll try to find answers for you. I have uncovered primary documents proving that David Guitar of 2815 Oakland Gravel Road never served in the Confederacy. An owner of the house during the 1940s renamed the house Confederate Hill, but the original owner of the house never fought against the Union forces. I’ve found a downtown building built by the first Korean student at the University of Missouri. Do you have a question you’d like answered? Let me know and I’ll try to find the answer.

Here’s this week’s news roundup. Enjoy!

  • April 20, 2019 — Center unveils historic photo collection. Source: Columbia Daily Tribune. Summary: Immigrants. A mother. A Reconstruction-period soldier. These images are among the historic photographs on display in the exhibit “Faces Found: Boone County Portraits 1886-1940,” at the Boone County History and Culture Center.
  • April 18, 2019 — Bicentennial mural project meeting in Sturgeon. Source: Columbia Daily Tribune. A meeting is set for April 27, 2019 in the Sturgeon Christian Church Fellowship Hall to seek input about what should be in the mural artist Stacy Self will create for the 200th anniversary of the founding of Boone County.
  • April 14, 2019 — Rude Awakenings: Invisible chains hang on our iconic columns. Source: Columbia Daily Tribune. Summary: An article noting the African-American history that goes unnoticed. For example, the columns left standing in the Quadrangle of the University of Missouri are from a building built in 1839, most likely using enslaved labor. The article notes that in 1830 nearly a quarter of the Boone County population were slaves. The article calls for making sure the history of blacks are not ignored during the bicentennial celebrations.
  • April 12, 2019 — Boone bicentennial plans moving ahead. Source: Columbia Daily Tribune. Summary: Reporting on plans developed for celebrating Boone County’s 200th anniversary. Those plans include having a mural created with input from various Boone County towns. For example, Hallsville residents want representations of Native Americans from the Osage Tribe and a 1963 explosion included. Boone County was created in 1820. The mural will hang in the Boone County History and Culture Center.
  • April 12, 2019 — Letter to the Editor: Looking for new Good Old Boys. Source: Columbia Daily Tribune. Summary: Men who meet at Midway Truck Stop are looking for men to join them for dinner, as many members have left. The meal is at 5:30 p.m. in the cafe. The next meeting will be Monday, May 6.
Black History, CoMo200, Events, University of Missouri, Women

I’m obnoxious. Here’s why

And I want you to get on the same bandwagon I’m on — working to get black history included in our upcoming 2021 bicentennial celebration of Columbia, Missouri.

In fact, I don’t just want you to get involved, I need you to get involved because a lot of history, black and otherwise, hasn’t made the history books. Or any books.

When Brent Gardner, chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Bicentennial Celebration Planning, kicked off the group’s work, the first thing he did was outline the goals of the group. And the first goal was to be inclusive. (Insert my joyous YES! here.)

This is where you come in. Do you know someone who hasn’t made the history books? Perhaps a person of color who made history but hasn’t gotten the media or history coverage he or she deserves? Maybe a woman? We all know J.W. “Blind” Boone. Some of us know who Ann Hawkins Gentry is. But who were the people who immigrated here during the various waves of new citizens? A friend of mine lives in a house once owned by Hungarian immigrants. What is their story?

This is where you come in

I’m a member of the CoMo200 History Working Group and our charge is to develop a list of people who should be lauded.

Our group meets the third Tuesday of the month in City Hall. This month its March 19. The meeting is open to anyone who wants to help.

Can’t attend but still have ideas or names of people who have been missed in the mainstream narrative? Send them to me. Leave a comment. Send a smoke signal. We need your input because we it’s all of our history, not just those who made the first few rounds of the official narrative.

Yes, I’m obnoxious.

Some might say I’m persistent. Either way, I’m OK with that since it’s for a good cause and I’ve gotten results. What’s the cause and what has been the results?

Everywhere I go, I tell people I’m looking for those who are missing from history so they can be recognized in the upcoming 2021 Columbia bicentennial celebration.

Everywhere. Like when I attended an event for the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture founded by Adam Saunders, Dan Soetaert and Bobby Johnson. While chatting with Saunders, I mentioned my mission. The center helps people garden within the city and also donates significant amounts of produce to the local food pantry.

Then Feb. 26, 2019, an article written by Billy Polansky of Urban Ag was published in the Columbia Daily Tribune. Coincidence or results? Who cares. I now know about one more person who belongs in our history, but might have been missed.

Maybe you missed it, too.

Here’s a link to an article about Henry Kirklin. In case you don’t want to click to the article, Kirklin was born in 1858 as a Boone County slave, and freed when he was 5. He went on to found his own business selling fruits, vegetables and plant starts. He also taught at MU’s horticulture department, even though because of the laws at the time, he couldn’t go inside any of the university buildings. Instead, he taught white students about pruning and propagation outside.

Kirklin has a page at the State Historical Society of Missouri.

But how many other people have we missed? I have missed out on knowing about?

Tell me. I want to learn about the people who didn’t make the history books, the people that surprise us. That’s what I want to be the lasting mark of our city’s 2021 bicentennial.

Tell me, who’s missing from our history?





Historical Homes, University of Missouri, Women

Romance, mistakes and hidden history

Watch out guys! If you think getting your beloved flowers is going to cut it after this, you might be mistaken.

The house at 206 Bingham Road is going to put you to shame. Built in 1928, the Tudor Revival features the intertwined initials of architect Harry Satterlee Bill and his wife Florence Harrison Bill. Yeah, their love is literally built into the house. Chocolates ain’t gonna compare to that.

But this is also a blog post about another kind of mistake — mine.

When I listed the historic homes on this page, I mistakenly listed the owners as Harry Satterlee Bill and his wife Florence Henderson Bill. Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader, I was alerted to the mistake and corrected it today. But the great news about making mistakes is you get to learn from them and I did. According to this website Find a Grave, Bill wasn’t even Bill’s name. The document on Find a Grave states that Bill’s original surname was De’Bill. Further, the website includes the information that he was born  “Harrie Satterlee De’Bill, according to the census records of 1880-1900 and his 31 May 1900 passport application.”

And that is what I love about research. Just when you think you’ve found the truth, more information is uncovered which puts things into perspective.

That brings us to some hidden history. It probably wasn’t just romance that made the Bills put their initials into their home, it was reality.

While Harry Satterlee Bill’s accomplishments are documented in, well, documents, and buildings, his wife’s contributions are less well known. In some cases, even her first name gets lost when she’s referred to as Mrs. Bill, as was traditional at that time. Note Harry Satterlee Bill lived from 1876-1946, and Florence Harrison Bill lived from 1879-1958.

As for Mr. Bill’s accomplishments, he was one of the city’s most prominent architects. His work includes his home at 206 Bingham as well as the home at 211 Bingham and the addition to the Central Dairy building at 1104 Broadway. He was also a professor of architecture at the University of Missouri for 17 years and helped to found the Mid-Missouri Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Yet, his wife did more than keep the home fires burning. According this 2017 document created for Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission, Florence Bill took care of the construction details for their home. If you’ve ever even done a kitchen renovation (yes, this is the voice of experience), you know how many details there are in any construction project, so this was no little task.

But there’s more. According to information found on the Missouri Historical Society website, the collection of the Harrison Family Papers includes nine manuscripts for publications in the Bulletin of the Missouri Historical Society.

So as we head into the Valentine’s Day season, along with appreciating the people you love in your life, you might give some thought to the women who went before and didn’t get the gratitude they deserved. And maybe you want to keep it to yourself that Harry Satterlee Bill went way beyond candy hearts in proclaiming his love for his wife Florence Harrison Bill.

No way any of us can beat that.

Black History, Books, University of Missouri, Women

Six degrees of connection: Lucile H. Bluford

History is all about connections, change and, I hope, progress. Lucile H. Bluford isn’t from Columbia, Missouri but she’s connected to Columbia, Missouri.

A book about this journalist, Black feminist and civil rights advocate was published on April 23, 2018 and I apologize for not publicizing it then. To buy it direct, click the title: “Lucile H. Bluford and the Kansas City Call: An Activist Voice for Social Justice.” The book is authored by Sheila Brooks, Ph.D., and Clint C. Wilson.

Lucile H Bluford and the Kansas City Call book cover, used with permission.
Lucile H Bluford and the Kansas City Call book cover, used with permission.

So who is Bluford and how is she connected to Columbia?

Born in 1911 in Salisbury, North Carolina, Bluford was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, where her father moved the family when he took a position to teach there in 1918. She wrote for her high school newspaper at Lincoln High School and wanted to attend college to study journalism but at the time, the University of Missouri wouldn’t admit African Americans, according to the State Historical Society of Missouri.

Several connections to the University of Missouri

Bluford’s first connection is one of disconnect. Because MU wouldn’t admit her, she attended the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, and graduated in 1932 with high honors.

The next connection is again another of disconnection. In 1939, she “applied to the University of Missouri School of Journalism to do graduate work. She was accepted into the program, but when she went to Columbia to enroll, she was turned away. University officials had not known that she was African American. Just the year before, Lloyd Gaines, an honors student from Lincoln University, had sued the Univesity of Missouri to be accepted into its School of Law. After his case when to the United States Supreme Court and the court ruled in his favor, Gaines mysteriously disappeared,” according, again, to entry on Bluford entry on the State Historical Society of Missouri website.

But Bluford did not disappear. She filed several lawsuits against the university and in 1941, the state supreme court ruled in her favor — but the School of Journalism shut down its graduate program pleading a lack of faculty and students due to World War II.

Finally, there are three positive connections to MU. In 1984, the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism recognized Bluford and awarded her with the Honor Medal for Distinguished Serice in Journalism.

In 1989, the university awarded her with an honorary degree.

2018, MU named a residence all for her, an event which received significant media coverage. 

More connections: Brian Brooks

Brooks, professor emeritus of MU’s School of Journalism, called Bluford, “Little known outside the Missouri-Kansas area, Lucile Bluford nonetheless is one of the true heroines of the U.S. civil rights movement,” according to the book’s website.

Another connection: Clint C. Wilson II – School of Journalism Honor Medalist

The book co-author, Wilson, was given the School of Journalism’s Medal of Honor for Distinguished in Journalism in 1999. Wilson is professor emeritus of journalism, communication, culture and media studies at Howard University.

The book itself, according to a blurb in the October 2018 issue of the Missouri Historical Review, publication of The State Historical Society of Missouri, “attempts to place Bluford in historical context, in art by surveying black women journalists-activist predecessors such as Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Ida B. Wells, Charlotta Amanda Spears Bass, Mildred Dee Brown and Daisy Bates. The latter half of the book includes a quantitative analysis of reportage and opinion pieces on various civil rights issues written by Bluford between 1968 and 1983.” 

So while I don’t know if there’s a historic house in Columbia where she lived while she tried to attend the University of Missouri, Bluford and the book is connected to Columbia, through the historic racism and the progress made in Columbia shown by the University of Missouri recognizing her work even if belatedly.