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Happy 175th Birthday, Mizzou!

Today is the 175th anniversary of the founding of the University of Missouri on February 11, 1839.  We're joining in on the celebrations by sharing the very first University of Missouri catalog, one of the oldest items in the University of Missouri Collection.  It wasn't issued until 1843 – that's the first year the university had a senior class – but it's an important piece of our history and shows just how far we've come over these 175 years. 

Title pageAs you can see below, the first senior class was made up of five students – two of whom were named Robert Todd.  If you've been around Columbia for a year or two, you may recognize some of the other last names on buildings and street signs around town.Student rosterThere were no majors back then.  Everyone took the same course of study, which was divided into three sessions per year.Courses of study"The University of Missouri having been permanently organized by the Board of Curators, and being now in successful operation, invites the candid attention of the public to its claims for general patronage."Other considerationsFor more on the history of the university, check out the digital exhibits available through the University Archives.

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Posted in University of Missouri Collection

Germania Kalender and the Academic Hall Fire of 1892

Academic Hall burned 122 years ago today, leaving the Columns to become a Mizzou icon.  Before the fire, the building housed classrooms, offices, libraries, and museums – almost the entire university.  Although parts of the Law Library were salvaged, the main library was a total loss.  Almost.

Germania Kalender survived because it was checked out during the fire.  However, it wasn't returned to the University until 1937, forty-five years later.  After it came back, it was placed in the Rare Book Room. It's in rough condition – who knows what it went through over at least 45 years of being checked out? – but it's been here ever since.

Damaged cover

Frontispiece and title page

The book was returned by Henry Gerling of St. Louis.  The date, September 24, 1884, and the library stamp for Missouri State University (which was one of the names used by the University of Missouri at the time) alerted him to the book's history.

Letter returning the book to MU

Pre-fire library stampWhen the book was returned, the story made the news.  These are clippings from the Kansas City Star (left) and the Columbia Missourian (right) from April 14, 1937.1937 news clippings

Germania Kalender has calendars and an almanac, as you'd expect from the title, but it also contains pictures and readings on various subjects for the entire family.

Illustrations

Political illustration

It even includes some early comics!

Early comic!

Early comic!

Find it in the MERLIN catalog.

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Posted in Rare Book Collection, University of Missouri Collection

Welcome back, students and faculty!

Every Day at the University of MissouriToday is the first day of classes at MU, and campus is bustling with new and returning students and faculty, just as it has for the past 173 years.  Today’s collection highlight provides a glimpse of campus as it was one hundred years ago.

University publisher Joseph Chasnoff produced a booklet entitled Every Day at the University of Missouri in 1912.  In the introductory text, he noted,

"Last Year 3000 Came"“To this town students come each year in ever increasing numbers to attend the University.  This year 3000 came.  They flooded out at the Wabash and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway stations.  They poured into and filled dormitory and rooming house.  The student is a predominant factor in Columbia.  He is one to three in numbers.  The population of the town is 10,000.”

The library, ChaThe Library is a Quiet but Busy Placesnoff notes, was a hub of campus in 1912 – as it is today. At that time, the library was housed in the west wing of Jesse Hall (then called Academic Hall).  In 1912, the library owned over 100,000 books.  Today, that number is over 3 million.

Most of the buildings pictured in the booklet are still standing.  A few photos, however, provide an idea of how much campus has changed.

Laws Observatory

Dormitories in 1912

A bird's eye view

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Posted in Rare Book Collection, University of Missouri Collection
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