Primary Sources Online

ALERT: Updates to the links are ongoing.

The Civil War Sesquicentennial has increased the pace of digitization of historical artifacts. Of course these projects will never be complete — there is always more to find when visiting a library, museum, or archive — and of course there is a difference between having a historical document, sculpture, or artifact in your hand, rather than viewing it online.

But the websites of the Missouri History Museum (including their Genealogy and Local History index) and the Missouri State Archives, among others, have provided spectacular new access to their collections.

The State Historical Society’s “Civil War in Missouri” site has collected many great resources, in written and visual material.

And the blog of the Missouri State Genealogical Association has great leads on city directories, house histories, cemetery indexes, and more. (Attached here is a list of those mentioned in the book buried in Bellfontaine Cemetery, thanks to Jerry Garrett.)

Below are links to documents essential to the writing of The Great Heart of the Republic, organized by the book chapter for which they are most relevant. I invite you to read the original sources, and to continue the crucial study of St. Louis within the West, the North, and the South during the Civil War Era. (These are only manuscript and visual sources; for those published as books, there is near-complete coverage in Google Books.)

Please contact me with any questions, and as you find other sources online.


Chapter 1 The Destruction of the Past

Henry Lewis, St. Louis Panorama

J.C. Wild, Panorama of St. Louis in 1841

J.C. Wild, image of the Chouteau Mansion, 1841

Chapter 2 Thomas Hart Benton’s Failed Compromise

St. Louis Mercantile Library — printed archival items including annual reports and more from steamboat and railroad collections

St. Louis petition on the Compromise of 1850 efforts

Chapter 3 Building the National Future in the West

Charter for Eliot Seminary, 1854

St. Louis University catalogs and student registers

William Greenleaf Eliot proposes Mary Institute to Hudson Bridge

William Greenleaf Eliot frees a slave from John Kasson

William Greenleaf Eliot’s journal for these years

Chapter 4 Antislavery Derailed

Effie Afton and the Rock Island Bridge

Chapter 5 The Limits of Dred Scott’s Emancipation

Negotiations over the sale of Chouteau Family slaves

William Greenleaf Eliot frees Sarah Green from Lynch’s slave pen

George Caleb Bingham, Jolly Flatboatmen at Port

Freedom bond for Dred Scott

Portrait of Dred Scott

Chapter 6 Germans and the Power of Wartime Union

Account of Camp Jackson, Badger Family Papers

Wide Awakes pin

1860 St. Louis City directory

John Fremont’s Proclamation of Martial Law and a lesson plan with more links

Comments from Fort Vancouver on Fremont, Badger Family Papers

Chapter 7 Building Union from Neutrality

William Greenleaf Eliot argues to endow Washington University amidst the war

George J. Engelmann, Confederate sympathizer

Collision between troops and citizens on Seventh Street

Edward Bates to Abraham Lincoln, efforts to hold the Southwest

James Broadhead’s account of St. Louis and the Civil War

Fremont order creating the Western Sanitary Commission

Calling for the Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair

Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair raffle prize quilt

Ladies Union Aid Society event in the Mercantile Library Hall

Chapter 8 Abraham Lincoln’s Lost Legacies

Ed Dwight, Soldiers’ Memorial at Lincoln University

Thomas Satterwhite Noble, The Slave Mart (“The Last Sale of Slaves”)

Charles Drake defends Radical Reconstruction

Chapter 9 The Capital Failures of Reconstruction

The Eliot Family attends the opening of Harrier Hosmer’s Thomas Hart Benton statue

William Greenleaf Eliot’s journal for these years

The Chicago Great Fire exhibition

Chapter 10 Separating the City, County, and Nation

Freedmen’s Memorial Inaugural Ceremonies

Archer Alexander’s pocket watch

Epilogue The Forgotten Civil War

1904 World’s Fair exhibition