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. 

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.

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 November 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.


The Nature of Light: Photographs by Heidi Lopata Sherman

On Display through June 2017

Heidi Lopata Sherman (1954-2014) was, in her own words, “obsessed with light.” This retrospective exhibition presents the broad range of Sherman’s work, including small format platinum print landscapes, large format silver gelatin print landscapes and interiors, and brilliant large format flora studies.

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 this acclaimed photographer.  The catalog As I See It: The Photographs of Heidi Lopata Sherman will be avaialble for purchase, Courtesy of  Mr. Allen W. Sherman.  Please call 314-516-7248 to RSVP.


Laughing All the Way to the Ballot Box: Political Cartoons Through History From Mercantile Library Collections

On Display through January 2017

The use of humor and symbolism in American politics dates from the very birth of our nation and continues in the print and digital media of today.  Caricature – the art of the exaggerated portrait – has played a key role in political cartoons and anti-candidate campaign materials as well.  This focused exhibition presents samples of political and editorial cartoons from the 19th to the 21st centuries selected from the Shopmaker Political Collection.  These works explore reactions to the Civil War, issues of Theodore Roosevelt’s bid for a third term as president, the relationship of the House and Senate to the presidency, and public response to American politics, among others.  Several St. Louis artists are featured here, including Daniel Fitzpatrick who worked for the Post-Dispatch, Don Hesse who did editorial cartoons for the Globe-Democrat, and Al Schweitzer who created editorial artwork for several St. Louis publications.  Other artists were better known for their fine art career, but they also made political comments through their artwork, such as William Gropper.