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Events and Exhibitions

Headlines of History

December 8, 2017 All Boards Meeting and Volunteer Recognition Breakfast

Join us on Friday December 8th from 9-10:30am for the 2017 All Boards Meeting and Reception to honor our volunteers and docents.  The program will include brief presentations on recent acquisitions and current projects and recognition of our generous docents and volunteers. Please RSVP to Amanda Schneider at 314-516-7248 or



Headlines of History

December 8, 2017 Reception to Honor St. Louis Artist R.H. Dick

Join us on Friday December 8th from 10:30am-12:00pm for a reception in honor of St. Louis artist and long-time friend of the Mercantile, R.H. Dick, to celebrate the completion of Missouri History in Bronze.  Please RSVP to Amanda Schneider at 314-516-7248 or




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.

100 Million Buttons

Missouri History in Bronze: The Sculpture of R.H. Dick

In the Level Two Entrance Gallery

It is a special honor for the St. Louis Mercantile Library to present the work of a fine narrative artist, one whose uncompromised vision has been a pleasure for us to celebrate, to collect, and to pass down to future generations.  Working in the tradition of many iconic American sculptors, R.H. Dick has created a series of bronze sculptures that commemorate significant individuals in Missouri's frontier history, such as Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok, Sacajawea, Daniel Boone, and Black Hawk. These and other subjects whose stories are revealed in this series document the role that Missouri played in our nation's westward expansion. Works such as these that unfold and enrich the stories of our state's history are, indeed, a gift to the citizens of Missouri.    

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 Willkie 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 through January 2018

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.