October 16, 2016: Members' Preview, The Nature of Light: Photographs by Heidi Lopata Sherman

Join us at the St. Louis Mercantile Library on Sunday October 16th from 2-4pm, when we unveil this stunning new exhibition featuring photographic works by acclaimed photographer Heidi Lopata Sherman. Please call 314-516-7248 to make your reservation.Join us at the St. Louis Mercantile Library on Sunday October 16th from 2-4pm, when we unveil this stunning new exhibition featuring photographic works by acclaimed photographer Heidi Lopata Sherman. Please call 314-516-7248 to make your reservation.


audubon and beyond

Audubon and Beyond: Collecting Five Centuries of Natural History at the St. Louis Mercantile Library

On Display through June 2017

This most imaginative exhibition the Library has presented to date will seek to engage the St. Louis public with interactive programs and lectures on the green world around us. Audubon and Beyond tells the history of the Library’s contributions to early St. Louis’ scientific education through its imaginative and awe- inspiring primary and original collections, some of the most diversified in any early American library outside of the American Museum of Natural History itself. This introduction to such a wide universe of nature at the Library will undoubtedly provide a common ground on which to link natural history to the natural present. This exhibition is the second after Mapping St. Louis History in a tetralogy marking in progression the 175th Anniversary of the founding of the St. Louis Mercantile Library.


The Face of Washington in Missouri and the Nation

On Display through September 2016

This is the first of a series of exhibitions which the Mercantile Library will present in the Shopmaker Political Print Gallery on Presidential portraiture, “The Face of the Presidency” but surely none will have greater breadth on the choices of exhibition materials than this one, focusing on the face of the First President. The exhibition is anchored by George Caleb Bingham’s portraits of George and Martha Washington, taken from the seminal works by Gilbert Stuart in the 1790’s.  These iconic images are complemented by a portrait bust in marble, numerous prints and portraits in other formats to broadly explore the pervasiveness of George Washington’s visage in American visual culture.  This focused exhibition succinctly presents an in-depth look at a familiar face as it was seen and presented over time.



Other Audubons of Early America's Natural World

On Display through September 2016

The natural setting of the early American wilderness was a nearly overwhelming allurement to explorers and naturalists. Just as John James Audubon walked the back trails of the woodlands, others preceded him in missions of scientific discovery, and others followed in his own footsteps. These early scientists and naturalists saw a new, untouched world and knew they were privileged to do so. Most of them were so enraptured by what they viewed that they produced great books which have become classics in their own right. Some of these artists and historians of man and nature clearly envisioned their role as preservationists of the record that was passing quickly away due to the encroachments of settlers and civilization, and we are indebted to their own monumental contributions to documenting the natural setting of the past. Come explore works by the "Other Audubons", including François André Michaux, the Audubon of the American Trees, Edward Sheriff Curtis, the Audubon of Lost American Indian Life and Lore, and Romeyn Beck Hough, the Audubon of American Wood.


Nash bookplate

Selections from the Africana, African Americana Collections, and the Nash Collection of Africana and African American Literature and History at the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association

On Display through  Fall 2016

The Mercantile Library was founded amid the tumultuous intellectual and cultural currents of mid-nineteenth century America. As a result, the Library amassed broad literary and historical collections that provide numerous opportunities for research by students and advanced scholars on the rich and diverse topics of Africana and African Americana. This focused exhibition highlights these collections with examples of original artwork, historic newspapers and photographs, as well as archive and manuscript examples of labor history, business, and urban and civil liberties events. Also included are rare books and first editions of literature, biography, and history from the story of discovery, slavery, and abolition, to war and freedom. The exhibition is anchored by the Helen E. Nash Collection of Africana and African American Studies, with selected pieces from the Trojcak African Art Collection that includes West African masks, textiles, and sculpture. This display gives an idea of the range of the current collections and points the way to future collecting at the Mercantile.

About Vietnam

Presidents and War

On Display through September 2016

This focused exhibition examines the role wars have played in political campaigns and presidencies.  A variety of materials including glassware, campaign buttons, posters, photographs, political cartoons, newspapers and books illustrate how war and military conflicts have impacted presidents and candidates from George Washington to Barack Obama.  The artifacts show how Washington’s role as soldier-president set an example that was utilized by candidates to reinforce their image of leadership, how candidates have sought and won the endorsement of veterans and the military, how candidates used fear of war and the promise of peace as a powerful campaign tool, and how presidential handling – or mishandling – of wars affected their presidencies.  This special exhibition is drawn from the Dr. Allen B. and Helen S. Shopmaker Political Collection, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat archives, and the Mercantile Library archival and rare book collections.  It is complemented by other selections from the Shopmaker Political Collection also on display in the gallery on Level 2 of the Library.