The St. Louis Mercantile Library celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2021. According to its website: “Founded in 1846 and chartered by the State of Missouri in that year, the St. Louis Mercantile Library is the oldest general library in continuous existence West of the Mississippi River.” The library is now located on the campus of the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Mercantile libraries are one of the major types of membership libraries. They were started by businessmen in behalf of young merchants’ clerks embarking on their careers. They began in Boston and New York in 1820 but were eventually established in most major cities in America including St. Louis. I have a philatelic exhibit featuring America’s membership libraries and mercantile libraries constitute a major component of the exhibit. I have a number of artifacts in the exhibit relating to the St. Louis Mercantile Library, some of which are shown below. I have a previous blog post which discusses the bookplates of the Mercantile Library. I also have a blog post about my visit to the library in 2015.
|Life membership certificate for William E. Ware dated 1855. |
|1895 postal card listing services and membership terms.|
|Stampless mourning cover sent to the St. Louis Mercantile Library on Sept. 7, 1850.|