Friday, February 19, 2010


Members of the State Historical Society of Missouri will be pleased to hear about two new grants that will greatly enhance access to collections. The grants are supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Missouri State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

Nearly $40,000 was awarded for the digitization of art images, including paintings, drawings, lithographs, photographs, and editorial cartoons. Twenty-eight portraits and scenes painted by George Caleb Bingham, and over 300 paintings, drawings, and lithographs created by Thomas Hart Benton are covered by the project. Works were selected based on their historical value and continued popularity with researchers and the general public, and will include the well-known Bingham Civil War picture, Martial Law, or Order No. 11, and Missouri River scene, Watching the Cargo. Benton’s illustrations for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Life on the Mississippi, which have not been widely seen since their initial use in the Limited Edition volumes of the 1930s and 1940s, are also part of the project.

Over 3,500 photographs from various collections covering a variety of Missouri topics, including railroads and depots, courthouses, political rallies, and additional subjects will also be made available. Included are the Otto and Joe Kroeger Collection, the Maximilian Schmidt Collection, and Charles Trefts Collection. The Kroeger collection is comprised of images centering on Jefferson City during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Schmidt collection was created by Boonville jeweler Maximilian Schmidt who picked up photography as a hobby at the beginning of the 20th century and documented his everyday life and surroundings. Charles Trefts was a professional photographer whose works include coverage of the St. Louis area over much of the 20th century and a focus on the Ozarks region during the 1930s. All of these collections were donated to the Society by descendents of the photographers.

The Society’s Editorial Cartoon Collections include the majority of works, both press proofs and original drawings, created for the St. Louis Post Dispatch by Pulitzer Prize-winning artists Daniel F. Fitzpatrick, from 1917 to 1958, and Bill Mauldin during 1958 to 1963. The works graphically, and often poignantly, reflect attitudes and opinions of the artists and Missourians from the early days of the 20th century through World War I, the Great Depression, the Second World War, and subsequent mid-twentieth-century events that reflected America’s development as a world leader.

A second grant of $2,800 will convert recorded interviews with forty Missouri political leaders and activists to digital audio format. The audio portions and written transcripts will be made accessible online. This grant furthers the work of the “Politics in Missouri Oral History Digitization Project” which is a joint resource of the Society and the University of Missouri Western Historical Manuscript Collection.

For more information or to keep up with the progress on each of these grants, contact the Society at (573) 882-7083.

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