Historical documents placed on display as part of MU Libraries' 150th anniversary with FDLP

Thursday, May 3, 2012 | 1:50 p.m. CDT; updated 9:02 p.m. CDT, Thursday, May 3, 2012
MU's Ellis Library assistant head of security, Julie Rogers, left, with head of security Pat Jones hang an American flag Thursday at Ellis Library. Rogers and Jones prepared the flag for the celebration of MU Libraries' 150th anniversary with the Federal Depository Library Program. MU is the 15th oldest of more than 1,200 libraries that are a part of the Federal Depository Library Program.

COLUMBIA — Several historical government books were brought out for display to commemorate MU Libraries’ 150th Anniversary with the Federal Depository Library Program on Thursday. The books are federally owned and are originals from the late 19th century and early 20th century.

The Federal Depository program was created by Congress to allow public access for government information by placing copy publications in libraries.


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One of the items from the program, and also part of the library display, is a 1914 book titled, “Committee on Woman Suffrage.” The book covers reasons why women should not be allowed to vote, claiming that too many voters already exist, women don’t have enough time (since they need to do household work) and chivalry will decline.

Another book in the collection is the “Handbook for the Ships Medicine Chest” from 1904. What appears at first glance to be a guide for doctors is actually a guidebook for ship travelers who had no idea how to practice basic medicine. One procedure about fixing a dislocated shoulder includes the instruction to place your boot in the patient’s armpit.

Approximately 20 books and documents were selected as part of the event scheduled for Thursday from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Ellis Library Colonnade. The selection is part of a larger collection from Ellis Library's government documents section and Special Collections room.

One of the oldest documents from the collection is "Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United Sates" from 1861, but half of it discusses Native Americans.

Another rare novelty book is “Native Tribes” from 1867. It was saved from the 1892 MU fire that burned Academic Hall and includes news that reporters collected about Native Americans.

“This is the actual book from that time. The same book they held in their hands in that time,” said Marie Concannon, the government documents regional coordinator. “When you get back that far in time, they get very rare.”

Few libraries have these two particular books, and any book from the Civil War time period is unique, Concannon said.

Deb Ward, assistant director of Research and Information Services, was scheduled to present alongside Concannon. Scheduled guest speakers included 9th District, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer and assistants representing Missouri's U.S. Senators, Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt.

The MU library program is the 15th oldest in the nation out of more than 1,200 member libraries. According the program's website, the MU library made a political statement when it joined the federal program in 1862, a year when Boone County was mostly pro-Confederate, with the fourth highest number of slaveholders and third highest number of slaves of any county in Missouri.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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