Zoë Akins portrait

Zoë Byrd Akins was born on October 30, 1886, in Humansville, Missouri, the second of three children of Thomas…

The Ben Bolt Theatre. [Courtesy of Danny Knouse]

The Ben Bolt Theatre was a spectacular building that stood for half a century as a notable…

Kenneth Brown Billups Sr. [National Association of Negro Musicians]

Kenneth Brown Billups Sr. was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 14, 1918, the son of…

William K. Bixby. [Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis, Photographs and Prints Collection, N20996]

One of the key St. Louis businessmen and philanthropists of his generation in St. Louis,…

Kate Chopin portrait

Kate Chopin began and ended her life in St. Louis, with an interlude as a young wife and mother in New…

Edmond J. Eckel. [Elwood L. McDonald, History of Buchanan County and St. Joseph, Missouri, 1915]

Born on June 22, 1845, in Strasbourg, France, Edmond Jacques Eckel demonstrated an early…

W. C. Handy playing at the fifth annual American Negro Music Festival in St. Louis’s Sportsman’s Park in 1944. [State Historical Society of Missouri, Arthur Witman 120mm Photograph Collection (S0732), 732.31462]

Although William Christopher Handy spent relatively little of his long life in Missouri,…

Fannie Hurst. [New York Public Library Digital Collections, Billy Rose Theatre Collection, TH-22169]

Fannie Hurst, the daughter of Rose Koppel and Samuel Hurst, was born at the home of her…

Lonnie Johnson performing in 1965 at the Folk Festival Show, Palisades Amusement Park, New Jersey. [Cornell University Library, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Amsterdam News Photograph Archive, #8084]

Alonzo “Lonnie” Johnson was an extraordinarily gifted blues guitarist and talented singer…

Joseph James Jones, circa 1937. [Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art, Forbes Watson Papers, 1840–1967, 2976]

The biography of Joseph James Jones is both the story of the life of an American artist and…