Stars and Stripes Library / Museum

This spring I took Mother down to Advance for a Past Matrons meeting. After it was over, one of her friends insisted that we drive down to Bloomfield to see the new Missouri Veterans Cemetery and the Stoddard County Confederate Memorial, which I’ve already written about. She also said we should see the Stars and Stripes Museum / Library.

To be honest, I wasn’t all that crazy about going to the museum. It’s pretty nondescript looking from the outside. I figured I’d walk in, shoot a few pictures to be polite, then be back in the car in 15 minutes. I was hooked. We spent about an hour and a half in the place and didn’t begin to scratch the surface.

First off, I was vaguely familiar with Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper. I knew that cartoonist Bill Maudlin and bush-eyebrowed Andy Rooney worked for it. I knew that General Patton tried to get it banned and Ike overruled him.

First edition printed in Bloomfield

What I DIDN’T know was that the newspaper started right here in Bloomfield, Mo., when soldiers from the Illinois 8th, 11th, 18th and 29th regiments found the Bloomfield newspaper office empty and decided to publish a newspaper, The Stars and Stripes. It was the first and only newspaper published there, but it started a tradition that continued through both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and our excursions into the Gulf today.

The Stars and Stripes Association, made up of former and present staffers, has a 30-minute video on its website detailing the life of the publication. I was glued to it.

Andy Rooney video

There’s a video at the museum of the late Andy Rooney telling about his stint with the newspaper and how Patton tried to shut it down.

You can touch the newspapers

The thing that struck me more than the exhibits, which are really well done, was that copies of the newspaper were spread out on tables where you could touch them, read them and discover stories that brought history alive. A story on the front page of the Sept. 27, 1945, edition said, “Gen George S. Patton Jr. described his comparison of Nazi power politics with Republican-Democratic party battles at a press conference last week as ‘an unfortunate analogy.'”

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Helpful Librarian Sue Mayo

Librarian Sue Mayo made us feel welcome and pointed out things we would have missed. The site is billed as a “Museum / Library.” I have the feeling you could do some serious research here. I would have written about the museum earlier, but the Stars and Stripes website has been down and I wanted to be able to link to it.

The museum and the Missouri Veterans Cemetery are side-by-side, so the same directions apply:

  • From Highway 60 take Highway 25 north exit toward Bloomfield. Travel approximately 4 miles north and the cemetery and museum will be located on the west side of Highway 25.
  • If arriving from the north on Highway 25, travel through Bloomfield and the cemetery and museum will be located at the southern edge of Bloomfield on the west side of the road.

Photo Galley of the Stars and Stripes Museum

Click on any photo to maker it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to step through the gallery. We’ll have a story on Friday about servicemen from Perry County to commemorate Veterans Day.

16 Replies to “Stars and Stripes Library / Museum”

  1. Cool…..perhaps the ONLY reason for a BIG CITY guy from Cape to go to Bloomfield. I always wondered where the Stars and Stripes started! Who would have known that!

    1. Paul, do you have a sister named Debbie? She was in many of my classes at CHS. We lived at Fairview Place, also known as Estesbrook when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade. One of the neighbors had a flying squirrel. Are you the same Paul I knew?

  2. Every time I see those Hueys it brings a lot of memories. When you see a dozen of those coming up from the horizon, while you are stuck in the mud, wet and exhausted, you know help has come. We’re going home boys!

  3. A timely review of the Stars and Stripes Museum–just
    in time for Veterans Day 2011. I finally visited the
    close-to-Cape historical museum several years ago when
    my grnddaughter was doing her internship for degree in
    historical preservation at SEMO University. LIke you,
    I couldn’t get away–spent nearly two hours brousing
    through exhibits, posters, memorabilia, letters, documents and excellent photographs. (Jo Ann Bock)

  4. Ken, your former debate partner John Mueller was a reporter for the Stars & Stripes. I donated his uniform and several articles he wrote.

    1. Neat. The last time I saw John he was working for the AP in Tallahassee. I had a gotta-get-out-of West Palm Beach-blues moment and just headed west, more or less flipping a coin at every crossroad.

      I ended up on Cedar Key on Florida’s Gulf Coast on the 4th of July and saw someone who looked familiar walking down the street. It was John. How about THOSE odds? That would have been in the early 1970s.

  5. To (who)-whom concerned, I was fortunate enough to have been raised in Stoddard county, (Bernie). I was told as a youth that parts of the Union, as well as the Confederate army marched on the high ground of Crowley’s Ridge, about five miles West of Bernie. I am somewhat of a history buff. I thought such a story was very interesting. When I read concerning the “Stars and Stripes” and its origin, I was so surprised that I was not taught such an appreciative fact in school. My intentions are to visit the museum, during our next trip S. The Stars and Stripes is certainly known by many though I believe it’s beginning should be more widely shared.–Don

  6. I am interested in an article/announcement from the Monday, 24 July 1944 issue (Vol. 4, No. 225, page 1 I believe) about the Combat Infantryman Badge pay increase authorized by Congress. It shoud be with an article about the capture of St. Lo in Normandy on the 18th. I don’t want to pay $29.95 for it, but I would like to know if you have the ability to provide photocopies of such items at reasonable prices.

    This is to support personal research for my father’s military record, 29th Infantry Division, WWII.

    Thnaks for your help.

  7. I have an original Africa Edition of The Stars and Stripes, dated July 3, 1943. Will you tell me more about it? Rarity? History?

    Thank You,
    Rosalia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *