History of the Transactions of The Academy of Science-St. Louis

In the Beginning…


IMG_0204The founders of The Academy of Science of St. Louis envisioned the mission of the Academy as global and widely distributed its research publication, Transactions of the Academy of Science of St. Louis, to libraries and research institutions throughout the world. These journals still exist in their original print form and are considered an important resource for many disciplines of science and engineering.

The Transactions comprise the majority of the Academy’s collection today and in addition to its scientific submissions, contain information about past Academy members and their letters of correspondence, records of events and even future plans for the Academy.

The Transactions of The Academy of Science of St. Louis is an internationally recognized journal of scientific research based out of the St. Louis region. Researchers and scientists in the area with an interest iIMG_0201n the sciences and involved in The Academy’s mission wrote the Transactions.

The Transactions covered research on natural history and science topics related to the American West, still largely unexplored in the 1860s. These scientific writings on the American West are what made The Transactions of The Academy of Science of St. Louis so highly important and extremely valuable to other science societies and scientific research at that time.

The most popular topic the Transactions covered, the American West, included the State of Missouri and the St. Louis area. As time went on and science progressed, additional topics were incorporated. Early Academy founder, medical doctor and botanist, George Engelmann, cataloged annual rainfall throughout the St. Louis region, whileIMG_0240 other members of

The Academy wrote about astronomy, electricity, applied mechanics and archaeological topics such as fossil finds and mound excavations like the excavation/salvage that took place at the St. Louis Big Mound in preparation for the development of highways and roads in the St. Louis area. The Transactions were also written as tender for the swapping and exchanging of articles and publications written by other science societies.

By 1881 The Academy of Science – St. Louis

“was exchanging those volumes for the publications of 260 science societies in Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Russia, Germany, France, Portugal, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, Great Britain, and the United States.”

More importantly,

“These publications, and the other activities of the members of the Academy, helped establish the city’s reputation as a center for science in the expanding Midwest.” (Vol 33. No 1).

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