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This collection of articles focuses on Missourians who have made a unique or significant impact on the state of Missouri or a location within it.

The Missouri Encyclopedia defines as a “Missourian” anyone who was born in the state, lived in it for a considerable period of time, or holds significance for the state’s history and culture despite a brief length of residence.

The Missouri Encyclopedia does not publish articles on people who are still living.

Jane Ace (1900?–1974)

Jane Ace, a radio actress whose birth name was Jane Epstein and who was known professionally as Jane Sherwood, was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Said to have been seventy-four at the time of her death in 1974, she was probably born in 1900 or 1901, but secondary sources reveal no reliable date of birth. The date of her marriage to Goodman Ace, a Kansas City Post journalist, is equally uncertain. Although many sources contend it was in 1928, the most reliable, Mark Singer’s article in the New Yorker, says 1922.

Zoë Byrd Akins (1886–1958)

Zoë Byrd Akins was born on October 30, 1886, in Humansville, Missouri, the second of three children of Thomas Jasper and Sarah Elizabeth Green Akins, who was for many years the chair of the Missouri Republican Party. Through her mother, Akins claimed kinship to a number of prominent Americans, including George Washington and Duff Green.

Thomas Allen (1813–1882)

Thomas Allen was among the most prominent and powerful individuals who led St. Louis in its transition from commercial outpost to industrial metropolis. Best known for his political service and for his leadership in establishing the Pacific Railroad, Allen played an equally important role in the development of St. Louis land during the city’s most rapid period of growth.

Tom Bass (1859–1934)

By popular consensus, Tom Bass was one of the most skillful and popular horsemen of his era. At the time of his death in 1934, his home in Mexico, Missouri, was overflowing with awards he had collected over a lifetime as a rider and trainer of fine show horses.

James “Cool Papa” Bell (1903–1991)

Pitching immortal Satchel Paige, noted for his tall tales as much as his pitching, claimed that James “Cool Papa” Bell could run so fast—in the outfield or on the base paths—that when he turned out the light at night, he was in bed before the room got dark. Then there was the time, said Paige, that Bell hit a line drive up the middle between the pitcher’s legs, but was called out because the ball hit him as he slid into second.

Emily Newell Blair (1877–1951)

Writer, suffragist, national Democratic Party political leader, and feminist, Emily Newell Blair was born in Joplin, Missouri, on January 9, 1877, the eldest daughter of James Patton and Ann Cynthia Gray Newell. After graduating from Carthage High School in 1894, she attended the Woman’s College of Baltimore (later Goucher College) and the University of Missouri. When her father died, she returned to her family’s home in Carthage, Missouri, to help support and care for her brother and three sisters.


Celia, the property of Robert Newsom, stood trial in Fulton, Missouri, in 1855 for the murder of her master, a prosperous Callaway County farmer. The events that led to her arrest, her trial, and her ultimate fate provide a fascinating case study of the significance of gender in the slaveholding South and the manner in which the southern legal system was manipulated to ensure the slaveholder’s power over his human chattel while creating the illusion of a society that extended the protection of the law to its slaves.

Kate Chopin (1850–1904)

Kate Chopin began and ended her life in St. Louis, with an interlude as a young wife and mother in New Orleans and rural Louisiana. Her stories of Creole life in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, established her as a talented local-color writer in the southern tradition. Some of her lesser-known stories explored the complexities of the emerging urban culture of the late nineteenth century. The Awakening, her second novel, won her a place in history, both as a writer and as a critic of women’s roles in the family and the community.

Anna Lansing Clapp (1814–1889)

Anna Lansing Clapp, president of the Ladies’ Union Aid Society (LUAS) of St. Louis, was born on August 28, 1814, at Cambridge, New York, to parents of Dutch ancestry, Harmanus Wendell and Catalina Hun Lansing. After completing her education at Albany, Clapp taught for three years in the school of the Reverend Nathaniel Prime in Newburgh, New York. In 1838 she married Alfred Clapp and moved to Brooklyn, where she joined several benevolent organizations and served as treasurer of the Industrial School Association. The couple relocated to St.

Adaline Weston Couzins (1815–1892)

Adaline Weston Couzins, a volunteer nursing escort and relief worker during the Civil War, was born in Brighton, England, on August 12, 1815. Brought to the United States at the age of eight, she eloped with John Edward Decker Couzins in 1834. A carpenter and builder by trade, her husband served as the chief of police in St. Louis throughout the Civil War and as US marshal of the eastern district of Missouri from 1884 to 1887.

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