Author’s Journey Across Missouri to Speak at State Historical Society

John Robinson of Columbia drove every mile of every road on the Missouri state highway map in search of “the real America” beyond the interstate. Robinson discovered obscure places, forgotten facts, and interesting people along the way. A former director of Missouri Tourism, Robinson will be the featured speaker at the State Historical Society of Missouri’s History on Elm program, Tuesday, May 14, noon- 1 p.m. at the Center for Missouri Studies, 605 Elm St., Columbia.

Robinson wrote several books on his Missouri travels, available at the Center for Missouri Studies bookstore and other local bookstores. Whether he's uncovering tombstone histories or sitting down to a blue-plate lunch, Robinson relays his encounters in a relaxed storytelling style. “I’ve spent my whole life studying Missouri customs, culture and history, and weaving them into stories that probably won't show up in a high school history test,” said Robinson. 

In his book, A Road Trip Into America’s Hidden Heart, Robinson compares his unconventional journey to mowing a 68,000 square mile lawn as he drove solo trips across the state over a 13-year period. By the time he finished the journey, he calculated 250,000 miles on his car’s odometer. A 2014 web series highlighting Robinson’s epic trips won a regional EMMY Award for Finding Wild Missouri, produced by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The State Historical Society’s History on Elm series explores a variety of topics on the second Tuesday of the month at noon, ranging from Missouri art and authors to unique and interesting collections at the State Historical Society. The series is free to the public and registration is not required.