Tag Archives: Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell Documentary Premiere

A new one hour doc­u­men­tary titled “Robert Camp­bell, Moun­tain Man” was com­mis­sioned by the BBC for a series of famous Irish immi­grants who become suc­cess­ful in Amer­i­ca, Robert Camp­bell was the first per­son they picked!  Last June, Alan McFar­land and Michael Beat­tie (producer/director) were accom­pa­nied by an Irish film crew in the U.S. for 13 days of film­ing. View­ers are treat­ed to stun­ning new footage of the Rocky Moun­tains and the Great Plains and inter­views with the Camp­bell House staff and experts on the his­to­ry of the fur trade.  Watch a pre­view of the doc­u­men­tary.

There will be a pan­el dis­cus­sion imme­di­ate­ly after the screen­ing with direc­tor Michael Beat­tie and pre­sen­ter Alan McFar­land.

Screen­ing is FREE and open to the pub­lic. Reser­va­tions are request­ed, please reserve online at nineNET.org/campbell or by call­ing 314–421-0325.

Park­ing is free in the lot adja­cent to Nine Net­work, enter on Spring Street. The event is out­doors, bring chairs for seat­ing.

Can’t attend this event? Watch the broad­cast one Nine PBS on Mon­day, July 2 at 8 P.M.

Christmas at the Campbell House

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Part of what makes Camp­bell House so unique is that the vast major­i­ty of every­thing you see when you go through the House is com­plete­ly orig­i­nal.  No fakes, MSGs or fillers.  What you’re see­ing belonged to the Camp­bells, was used by them on a dai­ly basis, and is still call­ing CHM home more than 160 years lat­er.  But when it comes to Christ­mas­time at the Camp­bell House, we’ve had to be a lit­tle bit cre­ative.

2929787835_xmas_tree_question_mark_M_answer_103_xlargeYou see, though we would like to say that all of the beau­ti­ful orna­men­ta­tion, lus­cious green­ery, and Vic­to­ri­an frills found through­out the build­ing is spot-on orig­i­nal as well… it’s not.  In fact, we only have TWO orig­i­nal Camp­bell Christ­mas pieces in our col­lec­tion.  That’s not two sets of dec­o­ra­tions or two box­es… it’s two.  And there’s a pret­ty easy expla­na­tion for why this is.

The Camp­bells, as we’re well aware, knew how to throw a par­ty.  Folks like Pres­i­dent U.S. Grant, Gen­er­al William Tecum­seh Sher­man, James Eads, and Hen­ry Shaw reg­u­lar­ly supped here at the House, and Vir­ginia even had the for­mal par­lor dou­bled in size to accom­mo­date the elab­o­rate get-togeth­ers.  As you can imag­ine, their Christ­mas par­ties (and lat­er, their son Hugh’s Christ­mas par­ties) would have been a grand affair, and the Camp­bells made sure their guests went home with gifts to remind them of the evening.  But these weren’t spe­cial­ty gift bags or neon t‑shirts with “Camp­bell Xmas Par­ty 1854” embla­zoned across the front.  When you came to a Camp­bell Christ­mas par­ty, you were allowed to take with you an orna­ment from their tree.  And, as many guests came and went through the halls of this grand home, so too did the Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions.  Kind of a neat tra­di­tion, right?  Great for the guests, not so great for us here at CHM who would love to get our mitts on some of those orna­ments in the present day.

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Par­lor tree, mid-con­struc­tion.

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Com­plet­ed par­lor tree.

So, when you come through Camp­bell House this hol­i­day sea­son (and we HIGHLY encour­age you to do so), know that you’re look­ing at our best guess of what a Camp­bell Christ­mas might have looked like.  Is it spot-on orig­i­nal?  No.  But it is quite the sight to behold.  Hol­i­day dec­o­rat­ing takes the bet­ter part of a month to com­plete.  It’s worth the effort.

Check out pic­tures below of the two remain­ing Camp­bell Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions in our col­lec­tion.  Also some pic­tures of how we deck our halls dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son!

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The only Camp­bell orna­ment remain­ing in the CHM col­lec­tion. A small, cel­lu­loid (thin plas­tic-like mate­r­i­al) piece depict­ing a young girl with a bas­ket of apples. The orna­ment was tak­en off the Camp­bell Christ­mas tree and giv­en to a young vis­i­tor in 1922. 

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The only oth­er Camp­bell Christ­mas piece still in our col­lec­tion today, is this rein­deer. Orig­i­nal­ly part of a full set of San­ta’s eight rein­deer that sat on the Camp­bells’ din­ing room table (see below), Vix­en end­ed up with a dif­fer­ent St. Louis fam­i­ly for more than 90 years before he was returned to Camp­bell House.

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Ster­ling sil­ver harp name­plate on the crit­ter’s back iden­ti­fy­ing him as Vix­en. Please dis­re­gard the neon green iPhone case.

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The orig­i­nal full set of rein­deer on the Camp­bell fam­i­ly din­ing table,  cir­ca 1895.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Thanksgiving Story: Father Dunne’s Boys and Hugh Campbell

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Father Dunne and some of his boys”

Father Dunne’s News­boys’ Home and Pro­tec­torate, as an orga­ni­za­tion, will be 108 years old this com­ing Feb­ru­ary. Back in 1931, dur­ing the 25th anniver­sary cel­e­bra­tion, the St. Louis Globe-Demo­c­rat rec­ol­lect­ed that, “A mys­te­ri­ous ‘Friend of the Home,’ who has nev­er per­mit­ted his name to be known, began his min­is­tra­tions at [at the Home on] Sel­by Place, send­ing every now and then a wag­onload of pro­vi­sions and leav­ing with Father Dunne, gifts of mon­ey, always anony­mous­ly. In those ear­ly days it is prob­a­ble the home could not have exist­ed but for this friend. Suf­fice it to say that his inter­est has nev­er abat­ed. A boun­ti­ful Thanks­giv­ing din­ner every year since then is one of his out­stand­ing bene­fac­tions.” This is the sto­ry of who that anony­mous bene­fac­tor was.

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Fr. Peter Joseph Dunne

The future Father Peter Joseph Dunne was born June 29, 1870 in Chica­go.  His father was a car­pen­ter, but both his par­ents did not enjoy good health, and the fam­i­ly moved to a small farm in Kansas in 1873 to get away from “the sti­fling city streets.” Nev­er­the­less, Peter Dunne’s moth­er died in 1879 and his father took Peter and his four sib­lings to reside in Kansas City, Mis­souri, where Peter’s father died three years lat­er.  An orphan at the age of 12, Peter was employed in a print­ery, but lat­er found work at the Catholic Orphans’ Home for Girls in Kansas City where his sis­ters resided.  Work­ing var­i­ous odd jobs and appren­tice­ships through age 24, Peter moved to St. Louis in the win­ter of 1891, where he first was a team­ster, then, after pan­ic of 1893, became night watch­man at Saint Louis Uni­ver­si­ty.

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Though poor­ly edu­cat­ed, the Jesuits put him on the path to priest­hood. He spent four years at St. Benedict’s Col­lege in Atchi­son, Kansas, then entered Ken­rick Sem­i­nary in 1898.  At age 32, Peter Joseph Dunne was ordained a priest on June 13, 1903. His first assign­ment was at St. Columbkille’s Church in Caron­delet, then, in May 1905 to St. Rose’s Catholic Church.  No doubt always alert to the prob­lems of par­ent­less boys and the need for edu­ca­tion, on Sep­tem­ber 10, 1905 he preached a ser­mon claim­ing the edu­ca­tion of boys in St. Louis, as in the rest of the nation, was neglect­ed in favor of girls. “Girls are not inclined by nature to be as bad as the boys,” thought Father Dunne. “Boys are not nat­u­ral­ly bad, but they must be prop­er­ly trained.” The St. Louis Repub­lic news­pa­per report­ed, “The attack on the sys­tem of the instruc­tion of youths as con­duct­ed by the Catholic Church is said to be the first pub­lic utter­ance of its kind.”

Untitled-1Per­haps in reac­tion to Father Dunne’s ser­mon, or per­haps it was already part of the plan, on Decem­ber 6, 1905, Arch­bish­op John Glen­non announced the estab­lish­ment of a “home for poor boys and girls” in St. Louis, most of whom worked menial jobs, such as sell­ing news­pa­pers or shin­ing shoes, to sur­vive on the streets. He appoint­ed Father P. J. Dunne as direc­tor to “devise ways and means for its cre­ation and main­te­nance.” The home was to be locat­ed on Six­teenth or Sev­en­teenth Street, between Wash­ing­ton Avenue and O’Fallon Street (“the con­gest­ed dis­trict east of Jef­fer­son Avenue.”) Accord­ing to Father Dunne, they would start with the boys:  “News­boys, boot­blacks and all home­less boys who are too old to find a shel­ter at orphan­ages will be cared for free of charge.” In addi­tion, the home would pro­vide “a refuge for boys who are arrest­ed and tak­en before the juve­nile court.”  Father Dunne would solic­it funds from local busi­ness­men: “Sev­er­al promi­nent St. Louis phil­an­thropists have already sig­ni­fied their will­ing­ness to do all with­in their pow­er to pro­mote the enter­prise.”

IMG_6234But funds were slow in com­ing in. In ear­ly Feb­ru­ary 1906 Father Dunnes’ News­boys’ Home opened at 1013 Sel­by Place (in north St. Louis, just across from today’s Carr Park). Three boys were the first res­i­dents. The first night there was no fur­ni­ture, but a neigh­bor­ing mer­chant loaned him blan­kets and com­forts for the night.  Sev­en­teen years lat­er, at the annu­al Thanks­giv­ing din­ner, Father Dunne recalled how sev­er­al days lat­er “This kind man came to the house and I was not at home. He asked the cook if there was any­thing to eat in the house for the boys. She told him there was very lit­tle – one-half a loaf of bread and two dough­nuts. The gen­tle­man went to a whole­sale house and sent up a two-horse load of gro­ceries and pro­vi­sions that last­ed us many months.”

Per Father Dunne’s rec­ol­lec­tion, this same “unknown bene­fac­tor” would vis­it the Home as fre­quent­ly as twice a week to check on things. By May 1906 the num­ber of home­less boys had increased to 35. With the help of friends, includ­ing the anony­mous gift-giv­er, Father Dunne rent­ed a larg­er house at 2737 Locust Street.  It was here that the news­boys’

"That Feller", Mr. Hugh Campbell

That Feller”, Mr. Hugh Camp­bell

cel­e­brat­ed their first Thanks­giv­ing. The St. Louis Repub­lic head­line read “Prince of Mys­tery Stuffs News­boys,” and described “that feller” – as the news­boys referred to the donor – as a “dis­tin­guished-look­ing, hand­some and a thor­ough aris­to­crat in his bear­ing” who watched as the 56 res­i­dents ate turkey, dress­ing, rolls, fruit, nuts, pie, cake, and ice cream, all served by wait­ers “who looked as if they might have stepped out of the Ara­bi­an Nights.”  At each boy’s plate were a dol­lar bill, a box of Busy Bee can­dy, and a toy turkey.  The anony­mous bene­fac­tor would go on to spend approx­i­mate­ly $1,000 every Thanks­giv­ing for the next 25 years to pro­vide a sim­i­lar feast. It was only after the donor’s death in 1931 that Father Dunne offi­cial­ly iden­ti­fied the spon­sor as Hugh Camp­bell, Jr., the mil­lion­aire son of Robert Camp­bell.

Ban­quets occurred year after year, seem­ing­ly grow­ing in excess (and cer­tain­ly in the num­ber of res­i­dent boys) over time. On Novem­ber 10, 1907, just before the occa­sion of the sec­ond Thanks­giv­ing ban­quet, Father Dunne’s News­boys’ Home and Pro­tec­torate moved to brand new and even larg­er quar­ters at 3010 Wash­ing­ton Avenue, at the cor­ner of Wash­ing­ton & Gar­ri­son avenues.  This was the result of dona­tions from 30 local busi­ness­men, with Hugh IMG_6230Camp­bell alleged­ly pro­vid­ing the bulk of the funds.  The Home could now pro­vide for at least 125 boys, and more over time. By 1909, news reports record­ed not only the sump­tu­ous feast (always catered), but accom­pa­nied by a stringed orches­tra (most often De Martini’s), that would enter­tain the boys with patri­ot­ic Amer­i­can or live­ly Irish music.  Each meal began with a prayer of thanks for the unknown bene­fac­tor, who seemed to attend in the ear­ly years, but less fre­quent­ly as the years passed.  At its’ height, the Thanks­giv­ing ban­quet pro­vid­ed no less than 600 pounds of turkey to feed upwards of 200 boys.

FrDunneHC2 (1)The news­boys referred to the stranger who pro­vid­ed the din­ners as “that feller” or “Mr. Mur­phy.”  Hugh Camp­bell report­ed­ly told Father Dunne that his dona­tions were to remain anony­mous, and if his name ever got out, the News­boys’ Home “would nev­er get anoth­er nick­el.” He also told the priest, “You had bet­ter take what you can while I’m liv­ing because my will is made and you will get noth­ing when I die.”  It was only after his death on August 9, 1931 that the extent of his gen­eros­i­ty to the News­boys’ Home was made known.

Dur­ing one of the Camp­bell estate law­suits, in 1933, Father Dunne tes­ti­fied that Hugh Camp­bell first came to the Sel­by Place res­i­dence in 1906 after read­ing about the new home in the news­pa­per.  We know now that Hugh has always had an inter­est in these types of char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tions, hav­ing donat­ed to the cre­ation of a “Street Boys’ Home” in St. Louis in 1877.  Hugh also gave Father Dunne mon­ey, in addi­tion to the cart full of food, and con­tin­ued to pro­vide for the home and spe­cif­ic boy’s in par­tic­u­lar through the years.  Besides the Thanks­giv­ing ban­quets, start­ing in 1906, Hugh donat­ed the mon­ey for con­struc­tion of the Wash­ing­ton Avenue build­ing in 1907. In 1908 he donat­ed por­traits to the Home of Father Dunne, Car­di­nal Glen­non, and the “orig­i­nal news­boy” Jim­my Flem­ing, in addi­tion to funds for the mar­ble altar in the chapel.  In 1909 he pro­vid­ed the mon­ey for the facil­i­ty swim­ming pool.  Hugh also sent sev­er­al of the boys through the Ranken School of Mechan­i­cal Trades, bought one boy an arti­fi­cial leg, sent “fruit enough for six months” with the Thanks­giv­ing day din­ners, and fur­nished the Home’s 75 piece band with uni­forms.

After Hugh’s death anoth­er “unknown bene­fac­tor” pro­vid­ed the Thanks­giv­ing meal in 1931.  The ban­quets con­tin­ued in the ensu­ing years, but news reports nev­er again empha­sized the extrav­a­gance of the feast.  Father Dunne died in March photo (6)1939.  In 1948, RKO pic­tures released a movie “Fight­ing Father Dunne” star­ring Pat O’Brien as Father Dunne, a fic­tion­al­ized low bud­get response to 1938’s MGM pro­duc­tion of “Boy’s Town.” This despite the fact that Father Dunne’s News­boys Home and Pro­tec­torate had pre­ced­ed Father Flanagan’s orig­i­nal home for home­less boys by 10 years and Boys’ Town by 14.

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Father Dunne and boys with new­ly designed build­ing at 3010 Wash­ing­ton Avenue

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For­mer Dun­ne’s News­boys’ Home build­ing at 3010 Wash­ing­ton Avenue in the cur­rent day

The News­boys’ Home and Pro­tec­torate con­tin­ued through the years.  It remained at 3010 Wash­ing­ton Avenue, but in 1947 was reor­ga­nized and placed under the Catholic Char­i­ties depart­ment of chil­dren.  In 1956 the home cel­e­brat­ed its 50th anniver­sary at the Wash­ing­ton Avenue loca­tion.  In July 1970 the build­ing at 3010 Wash­ing­ton Ave was sold to the Sal­va­tion Army and Father Dunne’s News­boys’ Home moved to 4253 Clarence Ave (the build­ing at 3010 Wash­ing­ton Avenue still stands today and was vacat­ed in May 2013 by the Sal­va­tion Army). The con­cept of the home­less news­boys had changed over time, and ser­vices were pro­vid­ed for trou­bled and emo­tion­al­ly dis­turbed youth. In 1988, the News­boys’ Home moved to 853 Dunn Rd (on the cam­pus of the for­mer Aquinas High School).  In 2006, “Father Dunne’s Old News­boys’ Home,” a Catholic Char­i­ties’ agency pro­vid­ing res­i­den­tial ser­vices for boys in fos­ter care, ages 12–21, was one of five agen­cies that merged to form Good Shep­herd Chil­dren & Fam­i­ly Ser­vices.

**Spe­cial thanks to CHM Senior Research Tom Gron­s­ki for guest-writ­ing this blog post.

Fall 2013 Campbell House Newsletter — Hot Off the Press!

NewsletterGraphicAlrighty, folks.  So this has been a long time com­ing, and our apolo­gies for not hav­ing some­thing up a lit­tle soon­er but there has been SO MUCH going on around Camp­bell House over the past cou­ple of weeks- not the least of which is the pub­li­ca­tion of the lat­est edi­tion of our newslet­ter, the Camp­bell House Couri­er!

Next week we’ll have up anoth­er post­ing in our “Peel­ing Back the Lay­ers” series on the CHM restora­tion, but for now we want­ed to get you as jazzed as we are to read about every­thing that’s been going on here at the house over the past year.

Check out the link below to read about our Glo­ri­ous Gowns exhib­it, the new­ly installed restored par­lor draperies, get some updates from Direc­tor Andy (AKA: The Boss), some major events we’ve held like ‘Feast­ing with the Camp­bells’, and a real­ly inter­est­ing nugget of research that we found on Robert Camp­bell and Texas. (hint: if Robert Camp­bell hadn’t been around, the city of El Paso as we know it would not exist today.)

Have we piqued your interest?  Good!

Now click here to check it out.

 

*swoon*

We just stum­bled across this arti­cle that ran in the Feb­ru­ary 13, 2000 edi­tion of the St. Louis Post-Dis­patch. The quote is so good, we had to share it. From a let­ter Robert wrote to his fiancée Vir­ginia short­ly before the were mar­ried in 1841:

Pre­pare one of your sweet­est kiss­es and have it on the bor­der of your sweet lips to wel­come me on my arrival to con­trive our meet­ings so that I can, with your sense of pro­pri­ety, fold you in my embrace and rev­el in your charms with­out being inter­rupt­ed. I must not indulge in this strain for it pro­duces such excite­ment that my writ­ing would scarce be leg­i­ble.

Yowsah.

An image of the Post-Dis­patch arti­cle that announces the dona­tion of the Diebel Col­lec­tion of Camp­bell let­ters and the inti­mate nature of their con­tents. Appro­pri­ate­ly, it ran right before Valen­tine’s Day 2000.