About the Library
Board of Trustees
Membership and Giving
Help The Library
Support the Library
Amazon Wish List
Mercantile Library Special Collections
Pott Library Special Collections
Barriger Library Special Collections
Events and Exhibitions
Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library
John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library
Board of Trustees
St. Louis Mercantile Library Art Museum
Highlights of the Collection
Early St. Louis Artists
Prints and Drawings
August 26, 2016: Curator's Colloquium, Rail Engineering and Technological Discovery
Join us at the Library for the final presentation in the Summer Colloquial Series on Natural History, on Friday August 26, 2016 at 10:30am, when Nick Fry, Curator of the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, will discuss "Rail Engineering and Technological Discovery." Tickets are $10 for members or $12 for non-members. To make a reservation, call 314-516-7248 or return the reservation form to: The St. Louis Mercantile Library; 1 University Blvd.; St. Louis, MO 63121.
September 18, 2016: Family Day at the Audubon and Beyond Exhibition
Come explore the Natural History Collections of the St. Louis Mercantile Library at a back to school event for the whole family on Sunday September 18th from 1-3pm. This interactive event is free and open to the public, and will feature educational activities for children and adults of all ages! With thanks to our special guests from Milkweed for Monarchs and the Wildlife Rescue Center. Please call 314-516-7248 to make your reservation.
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.
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 August 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.
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 May 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.
Presidents and War
Opening February 22, 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.