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St. Louis Politics & Activism

A black and white photo of a gentleman in a top hat helping two ladies off the cobblestone street and onto the Wayne & Carpenter #63 Streetcar in Saint Louis.

Numerous collections within the local history area of the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections focus on 20th-century life in the St. Louis-area.

The City of St. Louis Mayor’s administrations and board of aldermen files are some of the most heavily utilized in the Local History collections. Documents and records in these files include topics such as Mill Creek Valley demolition, public housing (particularly the Pruit-Igoe complex), city services (including Homer G. Phillips Hospital), and the relationship with St. Louis County.

Organizational records of the St. Louis Urban League and American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri offer further views on key topics such as civil rights, racial division, and social policy. Several collections also focus on local environmental activism, from ending smoke pollution in the 1940s to Earth Day planning in the 1970s.

Access these Materials

Explore the St. Louis History Research Guide

This page is an overview of primary and secondary sources available about local history in St. Louis, with an emphasis on community groups and urban planning.

Plan Your Visit


Special Collections Department
Phone Number
(314) 935-5495