Southeast Professor to Give Presentation on Local History, Cemetery Research at State Historical Society Meeting



Oct. 15, 2007 – Dr. Bonnie Stepenoff, professor of history at Southeast Missouri State University and author of several books, and scholarly works, will present “Local Characters: Writing the History of Ordinary People” at the State Historical Society of Missouri’s Annual Meeting on Saturday, Nov. 3, in Columbia, Mo.

Historical researchers, academic or amateur, often don’t have to stray far from home if they are looking for pieces of neighborhood history; a walk in a cemetery or a search through a stack of family photos may be enough.  Stepenoff’s presentation will be one of two concurrent workshops offered by the State Historical Society of Missouri that solidify this idea. The other workshop is titled “There’s More to Missouri Cemeteries than Burials,” and will be presented by Dr. Maryellen Harshbarger McVicker, professor at Moberly Area Community College.

McVicker’s research has led her to discover that cemeteries, like cars and dresses, have different styles. Using these styles as a guide, McVicker will show how the economic level, gender, age, and, many times, even the ethnicity of the deceased can be discovered just by looking at the gravesite.

The workshops will be presented as part of the Society’s annual meeting Nov. 3.  These hour-long sessions will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will each cost $12 for Society members or $20 for nonmembers.

The Society will also be offering a free tour of Picturing Native Americans in the Nineteenth Century: Lithographs from McKenney and Hall’s History of the Indian Tribes of North America at the same time as the workshops.  Society art curator, Joan Stack, will guide the tour, discussing interesting information about the hand-colored lithographs and their subjects.

The State Historical Society of Missouri’s Annual Meeting and Luncheon will be held at the Reynolds Alumni and Visitor Center on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus.  Reservations for the luncheon must be made by Oct. 22.  For information or to make reservations, call the Society at (573) 882-7083 or go online at