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Missouri’s Mad Doctor McDowell Confederates, Cadavers and Macabre Medicine
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Book cover: Missouri’s Mad Doctor McDowell Confederates, Cadavers and Macabre Medicine

From the 1840s, until his death in 1868, Joseph Nash McDowell was one of the most influential and respected doctors west of the Mississippi. He is primarily remembered, however, for illegally exhuming corpses in order to study human anatomy. Described as a body snatcher, grave robber, mad scientist and brilliant surgeon, St. Louis’s Dr. McDowell was a man so loathed by the public that he wore body armor and so idolized by his anatomy students that they dug up corpses for his experiments. This ghoulish doctor cast a pall over the city and left a host of fiendish mysteries. Did his mother’s ghost actually help him escape an angry mob? Did he really hang the corpse of his daughter in Hannibal’s Mark Twain Cave? What very real horrors remained in his medical college after loyal Unionists drove him out? Dissect a life shrouded in speculation and a legend littered with ghosts as author Victoria Cosner delves into the macabre world of Missouri’s “Mad Doctor McDowell.”

The Resurgence of Osage Culture and Language
In Recognition of American Indian Heritage Month
Thursday, November 9, 2017, 7 p.m.

Book cover: The Resurgence of Osage Culture and Language
Osage Homelands

Once the dominant tribe in Missouri, the Osage are part of a group of tribes—along with the Kaw, Quapaw, Omaha and Ponca—that traditionally spoke a Siouan dialect known as Dhegiha. To the astonishment of many, a survey conducted in 2000 found that only six individuals remained that could speak the dialect fluently. The Osage Tribal Council immediately declared a state of emergency, and, in 2003, formed the Osage Nation Language Program in an effort to preserve the language. Shortly thereafter, four of the six speakers passed away, making the situation even more precarious. What happened to the Osage Language? Was the program successful or did the Osage language fade away like those of so many other Native American cultures? Ed Smith, of Osage descent, will share the tribe’s efforts to preserve and revitalize their traditions and language.

Programming at the Missouri State Archives is free of charge and open to the public, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information contact Emily Luker at (573) 526-5296 or emily.luker@sos.mo.gov.