French St. Louis


French St. Louis

Landscape, Contexts, and Legacy

Edited by Jay Gitlin, Robert Michael Morrissey, and Peter J. Kastor

France Overseas: Studies in Empire and Decolonization Series

336 pages
4 photographs, 19 illustrations, 2 genealogies, 6 maps, 4 graphs, index


August 2021


$65.00 Pre-order

About the Book

A gateway to the West and an outpost for eastern capital and culture, St. Louis straddled not only geographical and political divides but also cultural, racial, and sectional ones. At the same time, it connected a vast region as a gathering place of peoples, cultures, and goods. The essays in this collection contextualize St. Louis, exploring French-Native relations, the agency of empire in the Illinois Country, the role of women in “mapping” the French colonial world, fashion and identity, and commodities and exchange in St. Louis as part of a broader politics of consumption in colonial America. The collection also provides a comparative perspective on America’s two great Creole cities, St. Louis and New Orleans. Lastly, it looks at the Frenchness of St. Louis in the nineteenth century and the present.

French St. Louis recasts the history of St. Louis and reimagines regional development in the early American republic, shedding light on its francophone history.


Author Bio

Jay Gitlin is a senior lecturer in history at Yale University. He is the author of The Bourgeois Frontier: French Towns, French Traders, and American Expansion. Robert Michael Morrissey is an associate professor of history at the University of Illinois. He is the author of Empire by Collaboration: Indians, Colonists, and Governments in Colonial Illinois CountryPeter J. Kastor is Samuel K. Eddy Professor and a professor of history at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of William Clark’s World: Describing America in an Age of Unknowns.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: A French City in North America: Essays on Early St. Louis on the 250th Anniversary of Its Founding - Jay Gitlin, Peter J. Kastor, and Robert Michael Morrissey
Section 1: Fashioning a Colonial Place: St. Louis Between Empire and Frontier
Chapter 1: Empire by Collaboration: St. Louis, the Illinois Country, and the French Colonial Empire - Robert Michael Morrissey
Chapter 2: Between Obligation and Opportunity: St. Louis, Women, and Transcolonial Networks, 1764-1800 - Robert Englebert
Chapter 3: The Capital of St. Louis: From Indian Trade to American Territory, 1764-1825 - J. Frederick Fausz
Chapter 4: Fashioning Identities on the Frontier: Clothing, Culture, and Choice in Early St. Louis - Patricia Cleary
Section 2: St. Louis and New Orleans: A Regional Perspective
Chapter 5: You Are Who You Trade With: Why Antebellum St. Louis Industrialized and New Orleans Didn’t - Lawrence Powell
Chapter 6: The Creole Frontier: Free People of Color in St. Louis and Along the French Mississippi Corridor, 1800-1870 - Andrew N. Wegmann
Section 3: Visualizing Place: New Sources and Resources for Telling the Story of St. Louis
Chapter 7: Visualizing Early St. Louis - Robert J. Moore Jr.
Chapter 8: The View from Upper Louisiana: Pierre Clement Laussat’s Concerns and Contacts, 1803-04 - John Lawrence
Section 4: Maintaining the French Connection of St. Louis
Chapter 9: Louis Cortambert and L’Esprit français in St. Louis in 1854 - Anne Juneau Craver
Chapter 10: The French Presence in St. Louis Today - Lionel Cuillé
Je Me Souviens: Lessons for Thinking about the Significance of the Founding of St. Louis - Jay Gitlin
Contributor Biographies

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