My name is Mark Loehrer, I’m a graduate student at the University of Missouri- St. Louis. I am currently finishing up my Masters in History, hoping to complete by thesis by early 2018. In the past few years I’ve gone from activist in Ferguson to archivist (intern) at the State Historical Society of Missouri to graduate research assistant. It’s done a number on me both mentally and physically.
To cope with the stress of grad school I’ve taken to collecting postcards. It was expensive for a while there. Then I got to the point that I had virtually every easily found and affordable ($10 or less) postcard I could get my hands on. At that point I figured the best way to share my collection would be to digitize and publish them online. Hence the website. Not exactly the origin story you were hoping for eh?
My interests are primarily in public policy with a narrow focus on community and neighborhood development (War on Poverty era). My work revolves around tracing the intersection of race, class with public policy both in St. Louis and elsewhere in the rust belt. I am particularly taken by examples of direct citizen control over decision-making and program implementation from Model Cities to CDBG.
My first labor of love which continues to this day is newspapers. As an undergrad at UMSL I spent the better part of a year digitizing from microfilm the first decade of the black owned St. Louis Argus. Topics covered in this period range from the East St. Louis massacre to the 1916 Segregation Ordinance, negro league baseball and the YMCA fundraising campaign. I have uploaded and organized these issues at the Internet Archive.
Over the past year and a half I have created a few of websites which seek to empower researchers such as OpenArchiveStl which offers growing library of public government documents on topics such as urban renewal, transit planning and policing in St. Louis, Cleveland and elsewhere. Under ‘collections’ researchers will find a library of plans drawn up by longtime St. Louis City planner, Harland Bartholomew as well as a complete collection of City Plan Commission Reports from 1920 to 1969.
I’ve also met a host of wonderful people such as Charles Klotzer, publisher of FOCUS/Midwest and the St. Louis Journalism Review. Working for Charles has been time-consuming but more than worth the effort. His twin publications offer insight, humor and period specific research that students and scholars alike will appreciate for many generations to come. Therefore it was my idea to digitize and make publicly available the entirety of his first major publication, FOCUS/Midwest. Here you’ll find issues that discuss a variety of topics relevant to not just St. Louis but Chicago, Kansas City and Memphis. Topics include race and policing, civil rights, housing, neighborhood development, politics, environmentalism, reproduction rights and right-wing extremism. It is, much as its founder, wonderfully left of center.
I’m also excited to announce the upcoming digitization of the St. Louis Journalism Review in the fall of 2017.
I’m pretty prolific on social media but if you’re just looking for history/discussion I highly recommend you check out my instagram/Tumblr. Here I post quite often a variety of items including historical newspapers, archival documents, city plans, postcards and maps.
And before you even think it, I’m not as young as I look. I’m almost 30. Stop mistaking me for a teenager!