Maplewood History: The Fennell Trove – Now At SHSMO


The mission of the State Historical Society of Missouri is to collect, preserve, publish, exhibit, and make available material related to all aspects and periods of Missouri history. SHSMO also seeks to generate interest in and appreciation of the rich cultural heritage of the state and its people through education and outreach.

The main archives and storage facility of SHSMO is located in Columbia. In addition SHSMO has an office on every state university campus.  Persons interested in items in the collection can request that they be brought to the campus office most convenient for them. This courier service is an important feature that is not offered by other libraries or historical societies.  This is why I recommend SHSMO over the Mercantile Library which is also on the campus of UMSL.  The SHSMO office, called the St. Louis Research Center, is adjacent to the Mercantile Library both of which are housed within the Thomas Jefferson library.

Descendants of Charles and Mary Rannells, pioneers of the land that would one day become Maplewood, brought together items that had been stored in family members homes in several different states and donated them to SHSMO.  There are many fascinating items in this collection.  I have featured many of them in blog posts and in both of my books.

Woodside’s Family Photo Album        Woodside’s Family Photo Album – Part 2

Ned Rannells and the Big Cinch Busters

Matt Irwin Perkins, a descendant of Robert Irwin and Marjorie Slavik Irwin, had a very interesting collection of historic family material.  He was kind enough to let me photograph his collection over a weekend. From memory, he gave a high school memories book of his grandmother’s to the Maplewood Public Library.  He donated two albums of historic family photographs and other important documents to SHSMO.  Many folks enjoyed the blog posts that resulted from Matt’s generosity.

The Matt Irwin Collection      Talitha Wuellner       Talitha Wuellner More Images

Talitha Wuellner Still More Images      Scenes from the Lives of the Slavik Family

Young Marjorie Slavik   More Images of Marjorie Slavik   Bob Irwin During WWII

Marjorie and Bob – the End of the Story

The Fennell trove is the latest family collection to be put under the care of SHSMO.  Nancy Fennell Hawkins is our benefactor.  There are many rare images in this delightful collection.  Nancy’s ancestors operated a landscaping business at Rannells and Laclede Station Road.  The photographs of their teams of horses, the Black teamsters that drove them and their yard and equipment are amazing.  I am so happy that these very rare images will enjoy the protection of a facility such as SHSMO.  Fennell Trove – Part One    Part Two   Part Three    Part Four   Addenda  Sam Bland’s Journal   Sam Bland’s Journal – Part Two

This is a wealth of historic material that these very fine folks have donated to SHSMO.  Thanks to all of you.  We are very much in your debt.

Doug Houser     August 3, 2020


  1. Thanks for this reminder about the State Historical Society. So many people are not aware that the St. Louis branch is so conveniently situated at the UMSL campus or that the Society even considers the St. Louis area an integral part of its mission. Just to name a few of their St. Louis holdings, they have many of the historic records from St. Louis County Parks, a comprehensive collection relating to Gaslight Square and its denizens, and about forty years of photos by Art Whitman, who was the celebrated news photographer for the Post-Dispatch. We need to be vigilant that the SHSMO continues to receive the state funding it needs to maintain its high standards.


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