Collections

Civil War Letters of Polk County Confederate Describe Battles at Pea Ridge and Vicksburg

When the Civil War broke out, James Washington Woodard lived with his wife and four children on a farm in Polk County, Missouri. Sympathetic to the Confederacy, Woodard, like many of his neighbors, joined the Fifth Missouri Infantry Regiment in January of 1862. He rose to the rank of lieutenant before he was killed on June 29, 1863, five days before the Confederate surrender at Vicksburg. A collection of Woodard’s papers recently donated to the Springfield Research Center provides insight into his wartime experiences.

Springfield’s Summer of Terror Captured in Robert Lipscomb Collection

For three months in 1953, the residents of Springfield, Missouri, lived in fear as deadly snakes roamed the Queen City of the Ozarks. Town residents armed with hoes, pitchforks, and long poles patrolled the streets, and children were not allowed to play outside. The Great Cobra Scare of 1953 is legendary in Springfield history. Life and Time magazines sent reporters to cover the story. Eleven cobras were eventually apprehended, but no one knew where they came from until 35 years later. 

Co-op Cut Rate Drug Store

Southeast Missourian—Elaine "Tommie" Davis opened the Co-op Cut Rate Drug Store, at 40 N. Main St., in Cape Girardeau on Oct. 18, 1933. An article ran in a 1941 issue of "Drug Topics" stating that Davis's store was one of the first to operate a Women's Department in a drug store. This ground-breaking department, for the time, combined baby needs, "Beauty Bar" and personal needs into one area of the store. This allowed for a one-stop-shop for female shoppers in downtown Cape Girardeau. The store also catered to men by selling...

Protecting the home front: 7th Separate Company of the Missouri Home Guard

Southeast Missourian—The United States entered First World War on April 6, 1917, when Congress declared war on Germany, followed by a similar declaration on Austria-Hungary on Dec. 7. American troops would not be sent en masse until 1918. With war being waged, the Missouri National Guard was...

“A Trial by Fire Process”: Digital Archiving at the State Historical Society of Missouri

bloggERS!—Interviewee Senior Archivist Elizabeth Engel serves at the Columbia Research Center on the University of Missouri campus. Elizabeth’s entry into the archival field was due partly to happenstance. After enrolling in the University of Iowa’s (UI) School of Information Science, Elizabeth expected to work in public libraries—especially because she had worked in similar settings during her high school and college years. However, she seized upon an opportunity to complete a work-study assignment at the...

Trans World Airlines Collections Document Kansas City’s Place in Aviation History

Missouri holds a significant place in aviation history, not least because of the longtime presence within the state of Trans World Airlines (TWA). Long headquartered in Kansas City, TWA once planned to build its primary hub there, but after many years of disagreement with the local authorities, the airline giant instead established its operations center at St. Louis Lambert International Airport while moving its corporate headquarters to New York. In 1992, TWA filed its first of three bankruptcies and moved the headquarters to St. Louis.