St. Louis. I’d never been there until my husband’s recent business gave me a chance to check it out. Funny I should have missed it over the years, as I attended the journalism grad school at the University of Missouri in Columbia. I remember piling into into a car to go eat catfish at a tin-ceiling hotel in Booneville, and traveling to Kansas City for barbeque at Arthur Bryant’s, which Calvin Trillin made famous in a 1972 piece for Playboy.
Even though I would have driven through St. Louis coming and going to Columbia from parts East, I don’t remember stopping in.
This time, I went with a mission in mind. I was looking for traces of Eliza Scidmore. Early in her career, she wrote frequently for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, then one of the most influential papers west of the Mississippi.
“A sense of place.” Like master biographer Robert Caro, I think it’s crucial to understanding the influences that shape an individual.
Scidmore wrote for the paper from Washington. But did she spend much time in St. Louis? That’s what I hoped to find out. Continue reading