Meet Me In St. Lewis, Louie

A collection of little-known early-twentieth-century photographs of St. Louis recalls the author’s unfashionably happy childhood

Fireflies? Glowworms? Whatever the right name for them, in St. Louis we called them lightning bugs. On summer evenings we used to chase them across our lawns, which were not divided from one another, and collect them, when caught, in little medicine bottles. We had grandiose ideas of getting enough lightning bugs together to make lamps, but it never worked out like that because they died first. I remember that they had a not unpleasant smell when clutched in my sweaty hand, a smell like that of a dilute miner’s lamp, and their glow was greenish.Read more »

A Brush Hollow Tale

Tucked away in rural southwest Wisconsin, where the west branch of the Kickapoo River crosses Route 82, is an area of the state known locally as Brush Hollow. It was there, after the turn of the century, that McGarry Morley spent much of his vacation time as a youngster, for his grandfather owned a local farm. Young Morley “loved the people, and thoroughly enjoyed all the various happenings.” Much time has passed since then, and Mr.Read more »

Toys: A Parade From The American Past

Animals a-coming two by two: Up went the lid and you could stuff them in, Noah and all. Or you could throw them at Brother. A toy is pretty adaptable.

The beauty of a good toy is that it picks out the really important things: Oarsmen who actually row, for instance, or the steamer’s great walking beam, or a good loud bell on the train. Imagination does the rest. Any boy knows that. A toy is very like a primitive painting, a crude imitation of life; yet for all that a very shrewd glimpse at it too, for the collection we exhibit here is a kind of push-pull pageant of American history.