Name: Collection of the Mercantile Library
Address: 510 Locust Street
Architectural Firm/Architect: Dates:Library founded, 1846 - Building, 1852
Designation: City Landmark
The Mercantile Library is the oldest circulating library still in existence west of the Mississippi River. The original building, built in 1852, stood within the shell of what is presently seen. The building was built in 1889 and remodeled in 1952.
The Library contains 187,000 volumes, most of which represent the various liberal art disciplines, and 240 periodicals. Included in its manuscripts is the journal of Auguste Chouteau, describing St. Louis´ founding, and a City Directory from 1821 listing 740 names. Among its writings are those of Henry Clay, who lived for a time in St. Louis, Davey Crockett, John Hancock, Emerson, and Thackeray. There is also a Jenny Lind autograph and a Planters House bill of fare.
It was treasury of St. Louis history and culture years before there was a Historical Society or an Art Museum. Among its works of art are one of the original four death masks of Napolean; several Audubon books; and the works of Harriet Hosmer and Carl Wimar.
The library is currently located on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
site was made possible by: the City of St. Louis Planning and Urban Design Agency and