Volume 7, Number 1 - Fall 1979

President's Message

Since I will be away for the December meeting, I wish to express my appreciation of the wonderful cooperation I am receiving from the members and officers of the society during my term of office. I am proud of the accomplishments and activities of the group, and the increase in our membership and the improvements in our financial condition. We have had interesting programs which have been well received and our new program chairman, Mrs. Van Buskirk, has planned some more exciting programs. Come to the meetings and be entertained as well as enlightened.

It is again my privilege to report to the society the activities of the annual meeting of the State Historical Society of Missouri at Columbia, October 6, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the death of George Caleb Bingham, Missouri’s most noted artist. Our society, as well as many of our members, are members of the State Historical Society of Missouri. I have been a member for many years but until last year I had never taken the time and trouble to attend the annual meeting. I found the 1978 meeting to be such an inspiration.. I was glad to go again this year. Martha Koelling, my neighbor, a member of our society and president of Hickory County Historical Society, accompanied me and we attended the business session in the morning.

I will not attempt to relate to you the long list of facts and figures which were very impressive. We learned that the State Historical Society of Missouri, with 14,500 members, is the largest Historical Society in the United States, that there are 176 Historical Societies in Missouri, including nine new ones organized in the past year and two older ones reinstated. The activities of these local societies are published in the Missouri Historical Review published quarterly, providing, of course, these activities are reported to the state society. We have had good reports of our doings published, thanks to our efficient and dedicated secretary.

The State Historical Society Library is the second largest research library in Missouri. The amount of research done on behalf of state and local governments, departments and commissions was related and is almost unbelievable. This valuable source of information is available to each of us, free for the asking. We were told that the library receives and answers from 50 to 300 pieces of mail daily, as well as numerous telephone requests.

More than 500 persons attended the luncheon. The program was presented by Dr. Sidney Larsen, a nationally recognized authority on George Caleb Bingham, who spoke very entertainingly of his life and works. Mr. Bingham, who was born in Augusta County, Virginia, came to the Arrowrock area of Missouri at an early age, became an itinerant portrait painter, went to Europe and studied art, and became one of America’ s foremost artists. He lived in Arrowrock many years, later moving to


Independence. It is thought that his most famous painting, "order No.11" was painted where he lived in Independence. His unblinking eye showed clearly and intelligently the awakening of the rambunctious young giant, Missouri. His searching eye saw and his skilled hand created a visual record of the people, lands and politics of 19th Century America. His paintings depict three subjects: rural life, political scene and portraits. The Historical Society Library has a fine collection of Bingham paintings on exhibit. Dr. Larsen, with the aid of slides, showed the art of restoring paintings.

George Caleb Bingham’s great granddaughter, Mrs. King from Texas, was a guest at the luncheon, sitting in the audience next to Mrs. Koelling and she expressed her gratitude to the society for making it possible for her to attend and to see the way her great grandfather's paintings had been restored.

I wish to reiterate my belief that every family has a history that should be preserved, and that each county historical society should be a part of the area society. It is my wish that each county society contribute an article concerning their activities, to be published in our quarterly. Our membership extends from Connecticut to California, all parts of the nation, people who are interested in the White River Valley area and who anxiously await stories of "back home".

I am sure Mrs. Asher joins me in urging members to contribute articles of historical interest for publication. We should have an article from each county in our society, Taney, Ozark, Douglas, Christian, Greene, Stone and Barry in each quarterly. There is a wealth of information available. Let’s get it before the public.

Lucille A. Brown


This volume: Next Article | Table of Contents | Other Issues

Other Volumes | Keyword Search | White River Valley Quarterly Home | Local History Home

Copyright © White River Valley Historical Quarterly

 Springfield-Greene County Library