Henry Ford, the great automobile maker, once said, “History is, more or less, bunk.” The great philosopher Cicero wrote, “History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time. It illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life, and brings us tidings of antiquity.” It is well that there is a dedicated group of people that are more inclined to agree with Cicero than with Ford. Without them, Missouri’s heritage would be virtually unknown. In the late 1890s, the Missouri Press Association was still young. This organisation of newspapermen held its fifth winter convention at the Coates House in Kansas City in January, 1898. It was during that meeting that the publisher of the Shelbina Democrat, W. O. L. Jewett, proposed that the president of the press group name a five-member committee to draw up plans for a state historical society. President George Trigg, the editor of the Richmond Conservator, set up the committee and named Columbia publisher E. W. Stephens as its chairman. The association also decided at that meeting that the headquarters should be in Columbia.

AUDIO: AOWM March 9, 2005 (mp3)