Events, Research

Temporary closure of research center!

If you’re a Columbia history researcher, here’s news you need right now! The Research Center of the State Historical Society of Missouri is going to close on April 19 until it reopens Aug. 12, 2019.

Other options are listed below. But where will you turn? Share some other ideas and resources in the comments or on the Facebook page Comohistoricplaces.

Another reason to get going now is new building openings are often delayed, it might actually open a bit later than Aug. 12.

The Society’s other research centers will still be open, but that means a drive to Cape Girardeau, Kansas City, Rolla, Springfield or St. Joseph. Not that far, but not across the street either.

Here’s more information about this temporary suspension of services.

Other options:

  • Columbia Public Library — Don’t freak out too much. The Columbia Public Library will still be open with its research offerings in house and online from home using your library card to log in or online resources at the library such as

Not ready to research on your own? The library offers free classes including one on how to use HeritageQuest. The next one will be 9:30-11 a.m. There is also drop-in genealogy help at various times and days. Check out the library’s website for more information.

  • The Boone County History and Culture Center — In addition to exhibits and a large bookstore, the BCHCC has a research library available by appointment. The research library is staffed by volunteers, so call ahead to make sure it’s open. You can also contact the research library volunteers to ask questions and get guidance. (Full disclosure: I’m a volunteer there one afternoon a week and am always finding new resources.)
  • The Genealogy Society of Boone County & Central Missouri is also housed in the Boone County History and Culture Center. The website for the GSBCCM includes a list of the resources available there. Again, it is staffed by volunteers to check to make sure someone is there so you can access the materials

So what resources do you use for historical research? Hit me in the comments or head over to the Facebook page Comohistoricplaces for this website.



Black History, Get involved, Missouri State Historical Society

Political name calling circa 1862

Sometimes it’s interesting to know whatever is going on today has happened before including the namecalling of today’s politics.

Here’s an image of a Sept. 15, 1862 document, General Order No. 1, signed by Odon Guitar of Columbia.

Government Document General Order dated Sept. 15, 1862, requiring people to report for military duty.
Government Document General Order dated Sept. 15, 1862, requiring people to report for military duty.

In this document, Guitar states that anyone who does not report to military duty “will be regarded and treated as in active rebellion against the Government and in sympathy with the marauders and robbers who now infest the country.”

Marauder and robbers? Strong words for strong times.

Sometimes the Civil War seems so long ago how could it have anything to do with today.

But if you’ve ever noticed the inequity of graduation rates, unemployment, health outcomes, you’ve seen the results of the cause of the Civil War. And just as our country acknowledges the losses in battles with memorials so we never forget, we need to know our history in order to understand what’s going on today in our society.

Want to learn more about the Civil War in Missouri?

The State Historical Society of Missouri recent publicized a new resource on its website, American Civil War in Missouri: It offers links and a search engine to resources about Missouri during the Civil War. For example, here is a link to Regions in Missouri, then the Central counties, including Boone County. Under Boone County, you can learn when the county was founded, Nov. 16, 1820, and how many slaves were part of our population in 1850 and 1860. (About a third of the population.)

I know I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a history of ownership or being owned in my history. All of my family immigrated to the U.S. in the 1910s, yet I know this history of my country affects me every day

If you want to explore local history in the Civil War, this online resource includes a list of manuscript collections, including those of Odon Guitar of Columbia. By the end of the war, he was a colonel.

Yet, most of those who served were more like James L. Matthews, a name most of us don’t know. You can read a letter James L. Matthews wrote to his wife Fannie on Dec. 1, 1862, here in another manuscript collection, the Matthews Family Papers. In the letter, he writes about how much he misses her and how he’s sure she is anxious for him. He seems like an ordinary person, yet he’s living in extraordinary times.

Perhaps that’s how we’ll look back on the politics of today.



CoMo200, Events, Get involved, Uncategorized

Six ways to get involved in Missouri’s bicentennial

This article published Feb. 13 in the California Democrat outlines six ways to get involved in helping Missouri mark its 200th anniversary in 2021.

Get quilting! — One quilt block per county will be put together to create a Missouri Bicentennial Quilt. Learn more here. The deadline is Sept. 2.

Got pictures? — I know you have a shoebox full of great photos of Missouri. Time to sort them out. The Missouri State Historical Society is looking for 200 good photos. Learn more here.

A penny for history — School kids are being asked to collect pennies to help fund conservation efforts to of founding documents. This is a project of the Missouri Humanities Council. Learn more here. So far, there are only schools in Cape Girardeau and Kansas City list.

What makes a community a community? — If you’ve got ideas about what makes your Missouri community unique, this is the project for you. Groups and individuals are being asked to “document local traditions, creative expressions, meaningful place and organizations and institutions of significance, the article explains. Learn more here.

Missouri Encyclopedia — What bothers me the most about living in Missouri is how cool our state is and how few people seem to know that. This project is a step in the right direction. This is a project to create a Missouri encyclopedia. There are guidelines for writers and here’s an example of an article. This project really needs our local historians. For gosh sakes, Annie Fisher isn’t even listed … yet. Here’s your chance to touch the future and show people the Show-Me State.



Events, Get involved

Got something to say?

Here’s an opportunity to share what you know.

Applicants to be speakers are being sought for the “Show Me Missouri: Conversations about Missouri’s Past, Present, and Future.” The deadline to apply is Sept. 1, 2018 and 30 speakers will be selected.

Why not you? It even pays: $200 per speech plus a possible $150 for each event and you’ll be expected to give four talks a year.

The request for applicants says speakers can be authors, lecturers, scholars or historians. That’s right. No requirement for academic degrees.

The request for applicants comes from two nonprofits, the Missouri Humanities Council and The State Historical Society of Missouri

The only requirements are speakers should be willing to talk about “educational information related to Missouri’s culture, history, art,” and, “All proposals should focus on a topic related to the history, culture, geography, and/or people of Missouri.  Applicants may submit no more than two topics for consideration.”

The application provides samples of biographical information and a summary example of a proposal — with only three sentences. That’s right. Three sentences in the sample proposal.

You can do this.

Here’s the form. Got questions? Here’s who to contact. QUESTIONS? Call 816-802-6566 or email She writes back right away, too.

So do it. We need to hear from more than the usual suspects.

Events, University of Missouri, Women

Black women fighting for equality

Strong women fighting for equality isn’t new. At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, MU History Professor Keona K. Ervin will discuss her book, “Gateway to Equality: Black Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in St. Louis.”

The event will be held in Fisher Auditorium in 88 Gannett Hall.

According to an announcement from the State Historical Society of Missouri, one of the sponsors of the event, her talk will cover these historic times:

“From the Great Depression to the 1960s, the city of St. Louis experienced significant decline as its population and industrial base stagnated while its suburbs expanded. To combat ingrained racism, crippling levels of poverty, and substandard living conditions, black women workers in St. Louis formed a community-based culture of resistance, fighting for fair and full employment, a living wage, affordable housing, political leadership, and personal dignity… and … effectively grounded working-class struggle in movements for racial justice and set the stage for the defining campaigns of the explosive 1960s.”

The lecture by Ervin is part of a series is sponsored by the State Historical Society of Missouri’s Center for Missouri StudiesUniversity of Missouri’s Division of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity; and the Missouri Humanities Council.