Skip to main content

Events and Exhibitions


Headlines of History Summer Colloquial Series

In this series of events, the Mercantile Library curators will explore the intersection of river, rail, and fine art collections with the Library’s historic newspaper collections.  Each event features one curator showing special selections from the archives that relate to themes in our current exhibition, Headlines of History.  Tickets are $12 for Mercantile members or $15 for non-members.  Purchase a Patron Pass and receive a discount to attend all three colloquia; $30 for members, $40 for non-members. Seating is limited, and advance tickets are recommended. To purchase, print the order form and return with payment to the address on the form, or phone 314-516-6740.  Ample free parking in the West Drive Garage. For additional information email



June 24, 2018 2PM: The second summer colloquia will feature Nick Fry, Curator of the Barriger National Railroad Libray presenting Among Ourselves: Railroad Employee Newspapers and Magazines. This presentation will cover the history of railroad magazines and newspapers from their origin as technical journals to labor newspapers to company produced newspapers and magazines.  See ticket prices and purchasing options above.





July 29, 2018 2PM: The summer colloquia series concludes with a look at Artists and the American Press: From “Harper’s Weekly” to “Rolling Stone” presented by Julie Dunn-Morton, Curator of Fine Art Collections.  This talk will explore the variety of ways artists worked with American newspapers and magazines in the 19th and 20th centuries.  From world-renowned cartoonists to fine artists drawing advertising art to pay the rent, artists have played an integral role in the American press. See ticket prices and purchasing options above.   




July 13, 2018 2PM: TJoin us for the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association Annual Meeting at the Library on the Campus of the University of Missouri, St. Louis. Reports and Recognitions will be delivered by President Jane Gleason and Executive Director John N. Hoover. Also featuring a talk by Porsche Schlapper, Curator of the Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library, From Scrapbooks to Servers: Digital Preservation of the Chuck Berry Scrapbooks at the Mercantile Library.  Light summer refreshments will be served. Ample free parking in the West Drive Garage..   






Headlines of History: Historic Newspapers of St. Louis and the World Through the Centuries at the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association 

On Level One through 2019

This is the third in a planned tetralogy of exhibitions building to the 175th anniversary of the St. Louis Mercantile Library, and marks the growth and special nature of the collections of the Mercantile by focusing on one of the most used and important holdings at this research center, its newspapers.  This important exhibition features such items as the first known issue of the Missouri Gazette, the oldest newspaper printed west of the Mississippi; and an issue of the Pennsylvania Ledger from July 13, 1776 marking the first printing of the Declaration of Independence in a newspaper.   Future programming will include a Family Day and Director’s and Curators’ Colloquia.


A Summer Sampling: 19 Recent Acquisitions

June 22 – August 31, 2018

This is the inaugural installation of a new annual exhibition highlighting fine art acquisitions that have not yet been on view at the Library.  Through the generous donations of our supporters, both financial and of artwork, the Mercantile Library Art Museum continues its historic mission to tell the story of Missouri and the nation’s heartland region by collecting, exhibiting and providing a venue for Missouri art and artists and encouraging partnerships between scholars, artists, collectors and the region’s cultural community. The exhibition reveals how the collection has grown in historic works by artists such as Joseph Rusling Meeker (1827-1887), Paul Harney (1850 - 1915), and Frederick Oakes Sylvester (1869-1915), and in the works of modern and contemporary artists that include Joe Jones (1909 - 1963), Werner Drewes (1899 - 1985), and Roland Burrow (b. 1981).

100 Million Buttons

100 Million Buttons Can't Be Wrong

In the Shopmaker American Political Collection Gallery 

The Shopmaker Political Collection contains over five thousand items used by candidates in the election process.  Although the collection includes some materials from state and local elections, the vast majority of the collection relates to presidential campaigns.  Similarly, while the collection include bumper stickers, posters, hats, cigars, paper dolls, coffee mugs, and so much more, by far the largest number of objects are buttons.  This exhibition draws its inspiration and its name from the button Wendell Wilkie made famous in his 1940 bid for president, “100 million buttons can’t be wrong” and explores the fascinating history of the ubiquitous campaign button.  This focused exhibition examines the range of sizes, the degree of seriousness, and the use of text and images that have been used over the years.    

Lincoln Exhibition

Lincoln: The Changing Face of an American President

In the Shopmaker Political Print Gallery

The changes in Lincoln’s appearance that were manifested over the period of his presidency reflect the rigors of the Civil War and the personal tragedies he suffered with the death of his son, Tad.  This exhibition traces these changes through a selection of images of Lincoln across several media, including prints, photographs, sculpture and textiles.  The portraits tell the story of Lincoln’s rise from young circuit lawyer to inspiring president to icon of American democracy.  



Recent Acquisitions: New Works in the Mercantile Library Art Collection

In Meier Gallery, Level Two Atrium, June 1 - August 31, 2018

The Mercantile Library Art Museum’s collection of works by Missouri artists continues to grow through donations and acquisitions.  This focused exhibition highlights selected paintings and sculpture not yet seen by our members or the general public.  An early and atypical portrait by Paul Harney (1850 - 1915) and two contemporary portraits by Roland Burrow (b. 1981) illustrate the range of St. Louis’ figural painting tradition. Landscapes by Frederick Oakes Sylvester (1869 - 1915), Oscar Berninghaus (1874 - 1952), Frank Nuderscher (1880 - 1959), and James Godwin Scott (1931 - 2015), reveal the enduring legacy of the landscape school that flourished in the region in the 1880s and whose influence can still be felt today.