This is one of 11 Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums to open in the United States in recent years, a project of David Karpeles, a real estate investor from California who has a passion for original writings that have had a profound impact on society.
A few really cool things in this museum that speak to its location in STL – the city’s application to join baseball’s National League and the Soulard Discovery map.
His collection, that rotates among all of his museums, includes original drawings and hand written pages by Mark Twain, a log book from the RMS Carpathia that rescued survivors of the Titanic, and poetry fresh from the pen of Wordsworth and Poe, among others. But if you want something from this century – the Karpeles collection includes a handwritten copy of the first Harry Potter book.
Karpeles has chosen not to build a new structure, but to find old, abandoned buildings in fading neighborhoods in order to truly revitalize and benefit the communities in which he has brought these great works. This particular building was built as a Baptist church in 1911 and is just gorgeous in its own right.
And all of the museums in all 11 towns are always free of charge.