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Charles Jamieson, Still Life, oil on canvas.

Recent Acquisitions at the Mercantile Library Art Museum

The Mercantile Library Art Museum collection has grown thanks to several generous donations as well as through strategic purchases. We received watercolor paintings by Frank Nuderscher, Mary Hallett Gronemeyer, and Philip Gronemeyer.  Through the assistance of an Art Board member we received a large collection of paintings, drawings and collage pieces by Charles Jamieson (1921 – 2000) who is lesser known but has significant St. Louis ties.  Jamieson’s artistic training included studying with Joseph Vorst in St. Louis, with Wil Barnet at the Art Students League in New York, and with Walter Barker and William Fett at Washington University’s School of Fine Art.  He participated in group shows at the City Art Museum (now Saint Louis Art Museum) and at the St. Louis Artists Guild.  Jamieson was an art instructor at Maryville University for many years.  

Elizabeth Cavanaugh Cohen, Corn, Highway 94, artist’s proof, woodblock print, 1987.
Thanks to the support of our board and members, the Library made several significant purchases.  Two important oil paintings by Joseph Vorst greatly expand our interpretation of his work. We acquired works by two lesser-known St. Louis artists, including three prints by Elizabeth Cavanaugh Cohen (1924 – 2016) who was active in the Artists Guild and taught printmaking in her studio, and a collection of artwork by Seth Wissner (1922 – 2014) who studied with Werner Drewes and at the School of Design (New Bauhaus) in Chicago. 

Recent Acquisitions of the Pott Waterways Library

Recently the Library acquired an incredibly detailed Compton & Co. print of The Bridge at Saint Louis (Ead’s Bridge) from 1874. The print envisions the Bridge in use after completion, with trains in motion and boats lining the riverfront. Contemporary prints of this same image are lined with images of construction of the bridge based on photographs on the process as well as a portrait of James B. Eads. Our recent acquisition lacks these additional images, leading us to believe this copy served as a proof for the final print. This exceptional & rare print joins the many artistic depictions of Ead’s Bridge & Saint Louis riverfront the Pott Library and the Art Museum are proud to display throughout the building.

Digitization News

The Mercantile Library continues to forge ahead in its goal to steadily increase digital accessibility of our collections via scanning efforts. Thanks to the generous support of our members, we were able to add a second professional scanner and increase our student staff in recent months. One particularly notable project the library has recently started is the scanning of the Globe-Democrat photograph morgue. These photographs tell the story of both the city of Saint Louis and of the landmark newspaper, and the library is excited to make these steadily more available just in time to complement our current Headlines of History project. Pictures of Saint Louis apartment buildings and neighborhoods are currently being added, and can be explored on the UMSL Digital Library any time, day or night. The Digital Library is also a great place to explore newly added pictures of railroads, rivers, and scans of important letters and documents, with new images added every day. You can also find the Barriger Library and Pott Library on Flickr, where millions of page views to date serve as testament to how important this work is.

Thanks to everyone who celebrated the "Eclipse on the Mississippi" with the Mercantile

All eyes may have been on the sky for the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, but the rare sight of totality was not the only beautiful sight to be enjoyed by library members who attended the Gateway Arch Riverboat’s Eclipse Cruise of 2017. A scenic cruise down the Mississippi River, idling just south of Kimmswick for the duration of totality before returning to Saint Louis, made for a perfect day for the library members aboard the excursion vessel Tom Sawyer.

Pott Board Member Tom Dunn, who also serves as the Director of Operations for Gateway Arch Riverboats, helped to arrange the unique opportunity. Mercantile Library members and river & eclipse enthusiasts of the general public were united on board the boat for the full-day experience. Passengers boarded before the 11am departure, greeted with safety glasses for viewing the eclipse and brochures with information about solar eclipses and the history of total eclipses in the United States, provided in part by both Gateway Arch Riverboats and the Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library.

Guests were treated to live ragtime music and sightings of more than one commercial towboat and a government dredge. Even local news station KMOV joined in the fun, interviewing passengers and documenting the day for everyone back on land. When it came time for totality at 1:18pm, almost all the boat’s occupants squeezed onto the outer decks and looked up. The sky dimmed to twilight, cicadas could be heard on shore, and the temperature dropped. Others could be seen on shore, in neighboring vessels, and even over head in a parasail, all sharing this historic moment along the Mississippi River.

After totality, passengers headed back inside for more lively music, a lunch buffet, and eclipse themed cookies. Special “Eclipse Cruise” t-shirts were available for purchase through Gateway Arch Riverboats for anyone who wanted to remember the day in another way. As everyone disembarked onto the Saint Louis riverfront underneath the Arch, it was widely agreed that there had to be no better way to view a total eclipse than from the Mississippi River, and expressed the desire to experience the whole day again. Thankfully, the wait to do so won’t be long: the next total eclipse to pass over our region is in 2024.


The KMOV story about the 2017 Eclipse Cruise can be found at http://www.kmov.com/story/36184706/passengers-float-into-the-path-of-totality-to-see-the-solar-eclipse

Volunteer Tom Knoten provides invaluable support to the operations of the Mercantile Library.
Volunteer Spotlight
Tom Knoten joined the Mercantile volunteer corps in April 2017.  He has been a volunteer Advisor-on-Duty at the UMSL Veterans Center since 2016 and was attracted to the Library for its historic collections and educational programming.  Tom is a retired US Air Force Intelligence Officer with a distinguished civilian career in the law. His interests are history, philosophy, and writing, and we all look forward to our varied and fascinating conversations with Tom every Thursday afternoon. 
Support the St. Louis Mercantile Library
Please consider making a gift to support the St. Louis Mercantile Library.  Your gifts help us offer educational programs, maintain the Library's fabulous collections and aid in our staff's research, teaching, and curatorial services, as we all protect and preserve the great St. Louis cultural asset that is the Mercantile, now in its 171st year.  Thank you always for your support!
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The St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri- St. Louis
1 University Blvd. 
St. Louis, MO 63121