St. Louis Mercantile Library

The St. Louis Mercantile Library is a Member- Supported Academic Research Center of History and Cultural Studies including the Barriger Railroad and Pott Inland Waterways Libraries and the Mercantile Library Art Museum.

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Address: 1 University Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63121
Phone Number: 314-516-7240
Fax: 314-516-7241
Established in 1846 by civic leaders and philanthropists, the Mercantile exists today as a vibrant community and cultural asset. It is the oldest library west of the Mississippi and the grandparent of St. Louis cultural institutions.

The St. Louis Mercantile Library Association has, since its founding, collected, preserved, interpreted and provided access to broad collections of Americana and cultural history, rare books, fine art, river and rail history, and historic regional business records and newspapers. Through its 170 years in existence, the Library has become a repository of our city's heritage in collections both deep and broad. Our ongoing mission is to provide research opportunities to the broadest possible audience, from the casual drop-in visitor to student groups of all ages to the most advanced academic scholar. We accomplish this mission daily through special and permanent exhibitions, digital access, in-person archival consultations, print publications, and entertaining and educational programs - most of which are offered free of charge, as are our docent-led tours. The Mercantile Library remains deeply grateful for the generous support of its members and the community, which have helped revitalize and strengthen the Library in its ongoing mission of cultural preservation, public access, and community outreach.

The current major exhibition "Audubon and Beyond: Collecting Five Centuries of Natural History at the St. Louis Mercantile Library". is the second after "Mapping St. Louis History" in a tetralogy marking in progression the 175th Anniversary of the founding of the St. Louis Mercantile Library, and will be followed in the series by "Headlines of History: Six Centuries of Newspapers at the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association" (in preparation); then "Americana" (in preparation). We are inviting the public through educational exhibitions to learn about the Library as we prepare for this historic anniversary, perhaps one of the most exceptional celebrations in St. Louis' cultural history to date, in that the Mercantile is the oldest of all St. Louis learned institutions.

To view the St. Louis Mercantile Library's exhibition and programming schedule,