Welcome to Our Missouri, a podcast about the people, places, culture, and history of the 114 counties and independent city of St. Louis that comprise the great state of Missouri. Each episode focuses on a topic related to the state ranging from publications about Missouri’s history to current projects undertaken by organizations to preserve and promote local institutions.
The Our Missouri Podcast engages with experts and scholars on a variety of topics related to the state's complex history and culture. Each episode is recorded in the J. Christian Bay Rare Books Room at the State Historical Society of Missouri’s Columbia Research Center, and is generously provided to you by the State Historical Society of Missouri, thanks to the support of members and donors. Join host Sean Rost as he explores what makes Our Missouri.
New episodes are posted twice a month. You can also subscribe via Apple iTunes or Google Play.
Once upon a time, sixty years ago (now nearly 150 years ago), a little girl lived in the big woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs. With that opening scene, Laura Ingalls Wilder launched the Little House book series that eventually became a key piece of American culture. But, did you know, that despite her stories of little houses on the prairies of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, and the Dakota Territory, Laura Ingalls Wilder actually spent a majority of her life in the tiny town of Mansfield, Missouri? This episode features Pulitzer Prize-winning author Caroline Fraser talking about her recent book, Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder. In her award-winning book, Fraser provides a stunning account of the events that not only shaped Laura Ingalls Wilder's life but also inspired her later literary masterpieces.
About the Guest: Caroline Fraser holds a PhD in English and American Literature from Harvard University. She is the author of God's Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church and Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution. Additionally, she served as editor of the Library of America edition of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books. Her work has also appeared in the New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and Outside Magazine, among others. Her most recent book, Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, Plutarch Award, and the Pulitzer Prize in Biography.
In 1935, Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, was at a crossroads in her life. Financially, she had weathered the low points of the Great Depression but still found herself on unstable ground after orchestrating the construction of a new building called the Rock House on her family's Mansfield property. Personally, the relationship between Rose and her mother had grown especially strained. In this More Missouri Moments mini-episode of the Our Missouri Podcast, Caroline Fraser, our guest from "Episode 2: Prairie Fires," takes us to the summer of 1935 when Rose Wilder Lane moved into the Tiger Hotel in Columbia and began work on what would become an unsuccessful book project about Missouri history.
Current visitors to the Missouri State Capitol Building in Jefferson City will notice large sections of the facility blocked off due to an ongoing construction project to update and maintain the more than 100-year-old structure. While its exterior grandeur might be presently obscured by scaffolding, this episode's guest, Bob Priddy, takes us to all corners of the historic structure in a discussion of his book The Art of the Missouri Capitol: History in Canvas, Bronze, and Stone, co-authored by Jeffrey Ball. In their book, Priddy and Ball provide an expansive overview of the present Missouri State Capitol building from the destruction of its predecessor by lightning in 1911 to the contemporary efforts to preserve its pristine existence along the banks of the Missouri River. Along the way, the authors offer the reader a well-researched story of the capitol’s construction adjoined by stunning photographs that document the building’s rich history.
About the Guest: If you have listened to Missourinet over the last 40+ years, you will certainly recognize Bob Priddy's voice. For his substantial career in radio journalism, Priddy was inducted into the Missouri Broadcaster's Association Hall of Fame in 2018. He is also a noted author with several books to his credit including Only the Rivers are Peaceful and Across Our Wide Missouri. Since 2016, Priddy has served as the president of State Historical Society of Missouri’s Board of Trustees, and he has served as a volunteer leader of the organization since 1985.
On February 5, 1911, a storm blew in to Jefferson City, Missouri, that most residents alive at the time would never forget. As the storm raged, a bolt of lightning struck the dome of the Missouri State Capitol building. By morning, despite the brave efforts of residents to save the structure and its contents, the fire-ravaged ruins of the capitol were all that remained. In this More Missouri Moments mini-episode of the Our Missouri Podcast, Bob Priddy, our guest from "Episode 1: The Art of the Missouri Capitol," takes us back to that fateful night and explains just how close Jefferson City came to losing its state capital status both before and after the February storm.