Skip to Content

George N. Meissner Collection

Identifier: MS-MS-ms080

The George N. Meissner Collection is composed of individual, or in some cases multiple, items of figures of historical or literary significance. Included are autograph signatures, letters, official documents, literary manuscripts, illuminated manuscripts, engravings, and a few printed items.

The subject areas included in the Collection are widely varied. Each of the Presidents of the United States through Wilson is represented, Washington and Lincoln by several items. Of particular note are letters from John Adams to Elbridge Gerry, 1775 June 18, describing proceedings at the Second Continental Congress; from Thomas Jefferson to the General Assembly of North Carolina, 1808 January 10, explaining his decision not to seek a third term; and from Millard Filmore and others to John W. Allen, 1843 December 29, discussing campaign machinery for the 1844 election. Numerous French artists of the 18th and 19th centuries are represented by items tipped in Stranahan, Clara, A History of French Painting ... (London, 1889) (Spec./ND 544/S 79/V. 1-3). Relatively large numbers of items are included for both Samuel Langhorn Clemens and Eugene Field. A group of 13 letters from three members of the Huntington family of Connecticut describe the condition of soldiers during the American Revolution, 1776-1782. Many items are addressed to either Anna Morgan, a Chicago educator of the turn of the century, or Edward Freiberger, editor of the Saturday Evening Herald. Individual items of particular note include a fragment of an autograph letter from Robert Southey, 1808 July 2, describing Coleridge; a letter from Coleridge to Sara Hutchinson, [1807?]: [circa February 12], accompanying a copy of Chapman's Homer; and items by Michelangelo, Rubens, Vespucci, Walt Whitman and Washington Irving. Following the autograph section in box 6 is a folder of typescript transcriptions of many items in the collection. A list of 11 illuminated manuscripts from the 14th and 15th centuries is at the end of this register.

Though housed in different locations because of the variety in nature, size, and format, each item is listed in the register alphabetically under the name of its author. Ephemeral items such as newspaper articles and engravings are listed and foldered by subject. Correspondence is arranged chronologically when an individual is represented by more than one letter. Other items are alphabetical by title.


  • Creation: 1429-1931


Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)


6.00 boxes

Biographical Information

George N. Meissner was born May 28, 1872, in Bunker Hill, Il. He moved to St. Louis in 1890, serving as secretary of the McKinney Baking Company from 1893 until its sale in 1911 to the General Baking Company of New York City. He continued as a director of General Baking Company until his retirement in 1928. In retirement he pursued his civic and collecting interests, assembling, primarily during the 1930's and 1940's, the collection of approximately 2500 printed items and 350 manuscript items given by his family to found the George N. Meissner Memorial Rare Book Department at Washington University. Mr. Meissner died in 1960 at the age of 87.

George N. Meissner Collection
Description rules
Language of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021 March 30: Resource record updated in ArchiveSpace by Sarah Schnuriger.

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Manuscripts Collecting Area

Joel Minor
Olin Library, 1 Brookings Drive
MSC 1061-141-B
St. Louis MO 63130 US
(314) 935-5495