TRUMAN STATE UNIVERSITY Pickler Memorial Library Truman State University

The E. M. Violette Museum Collections


While E. M. Violette was a graduate student in the University of Chicago, he became interested in the use of visual aids in the teaching of history. As a professor of history at this institution, then the First District Normal School, he began to experiment with visual materials in the classroom. In 1923, the Museum contained several hundred items. Since then, its collections have grown to include thousands of catalogued items. The following are but a sample.

The Frank Cassity Collection

Nineteenth-Century Washer by Richmond Cedar Works of Richmond, Va. One of the outstanding collections given to the Violette Museum is that of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Cassity of Purdin, Missouri. In this collection of 105 items are many tools, farm implements, cooking utensils, pieces of furniture, and various household items found in the homes of Northeast Missouri during the middle of the 19th century. The washer pictured here was made by Richmond Cedar Works, Richmond, Va. The wooden dual-direction agitator inside is hand-powered by turning a cast-iron wheel. The attached wringer was made by the Rival Company and patented in June 1898.
Mr. and Mrs. Cassity's daughter, Ethel Cassity Schwengel, an alum (class of 1932), was married to another Truman State University alum, Fred Schwengel. For information about the Schwengels' contribution to Truman State University check out the Schwengel Lincoln Contest or Schwengel Lincoln Collection 

The Civil War Collection

live shell in a tree trunk This collection includes artifacts obtained from a number of sources; visitors may see such sundry items as Confederate money, Civil War papers and records, a lead melter and bullet molds, cannonballs, swords, ammunition belts, a bugle with attached braid, and so on. The item pictured here is a live shell in a section of tree trunk removed from the battleground at Chicamaugua. It was brought to the university by Samuel Pickler, a former faculty member of the Normal School.

The World War I Collection

statue of General John J. Pershing Of all the Twentieth Century conflicts, the "Great War" was viewed with the greatest enthusiasm. Much campus fervor was inspired by the selection of alum General John J. Pershing to command the American Expeditionary Forces in France. By the end of the war, fifteen faculty were away from campus engaged in war work; 443 students and former students were in military service.

Some of our alums brought back war souvenirs that they donated to the Museum to help educate successive generations. On display in the museum are various WWI artifacts, such as German and American military helmets, weapons, hard tack, magazine and bandolier, and much more.
The statue shown is of General Pershing as he came down a ship's gangplank into France, and was made by Ella Buchanan in 1919. The artist's niece, Thelma Campbell, donated it to the Museum in 1968. John J. Pershing was given the rank of General of the Armies of the United States by Woodrow Wilson in 1919, and has remained the only American to hold that title. He was an alumnus of this institution, having graduated in 1880 with a Bachelor of Elementary Didactics, a two-year teaching certificate degree.

The World War II Collection

propaganda leaflet In less than a quarter of a century, the University again found itself again involved in a World War. As during World War I, students threw themselves wholeheartedly into the war effort; by V-J day, August 15, 1945, approximately 2,000 former students and faculty members had served in the armed forces. 

The artifact shown is a propaganda leaflet entitled, "Das Neue Deutchland", of the type often dropped over German-occupied territory during the war. This artifact was donated to the Violette Museum by Orville Bowers in 1946.

The Knobbs Paperweight Collection

venetian glass paperweight One of the most beautiful collections given to the Violette Museum is the glass paperweight collection of Dr. Pauline Dingle Knobbs. Dr. Knobbs was an alumna (Normal School, class of 1924) and retired from this university as Professor Emeritus of Social Sciences. 

The paperweight shown here is genuine Venetian glass from Murano; it is in the shape of a whale and filled with multicolored flowerettes, in the millefiori style. Its length is 5 inches, width 2-1/2 inches, and height 1-3/4 inches. 


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