Last updated: April 10, 2015
Seeking St. Louis: Voices From a River City, 1670-2000. Lee Ann Sandweiss (ed.). St. Louis: Missouri Historical Society Press, 2000.
Seeking St. Louis: Voices From a River City is a compelling look at voices from the past and what they have to say about the river city of St. Louis. The book is a wonderful collection of perspectives, both famous and not-so-famous.
The book contains selections from all genres—travel diaries, poetry, fiction, journalism, drama, and rare out-of-print and previously unpublished archival material—including poems by Angus Umphraville, from the first volume of verse published west of the Mississippi, and newspaper articles by Theodore Dreiser when he was a beat reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. Other compelling excerpts were authored by such notables as Auguste Chouteau, Charles Dickens, William Wells Brown, William T. Sherman, Sara Teasdale, T. S. Eliot, Tennessee Williams, Fanny Hurst, William S. Burroughs, Miles Davis, Nzotake Shange, John Lutz, Carl Phillips, and Quincy Troupe. A biographical introduction precedes each entry to place the author and the excerpt in the proper historical context.
The content of Seeking St. Louis was enriched by the involvement of several of the St. Louis area's foremost literary experts—Robert Boyd, Jan Garden Castro, Gerald Early, and Wayne Fields, who served as contributing editors.
If anyone is searching for perspectives on St. Louis this is a great place to start. Beginning with Pere Jacques Marquette and concluding with Gerald Early, 300 plus years of St. Louis are illustrated through various memoirs, stories, poems, essays and plays as told by St. Louisans, both known and unknown.