Inside Columbia


Book A Date

By Inside Columbia

On Thursday, Jan. 27, from 4-5 p.m., MU Libraries will present a book talk via Zoom with Benjamin Moore, author of The Names of John Gergen, Immigrant Identities in Early Twentieth-Century St. Louis.   

Rescued from the dumpster of a boarded-up house, the yellowing scraps of a young migrant’s schoolwork gave Moore the jumping-off point for this study of migration, memory and identity. Centering on the compelling story of its eponymous subject, The Names of John Gergen examines the converging governmental and institutional forces that affected the lives of migrants in the industrial neighborhoods of south St. Louis in the early 20th century. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required for a Zoom link and you can register here.

About The Author:

Benjamin Moore is Professor Emeritus of English and Founder and former Director of the Bosnia Memory Project at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, where he has taught since 1994. Moore’s research into Banat Swabian immigration unfolded alongside his work with Bosnian survivors. In 2005, Moore found schoolwork from the 1917-1918 school year produced by a nine-year-old Banat Swabian named John Gergen in a city dumpster. The discovery sent him on a fifteen-year quest to uncover the identities and experiences of John Gergen and his kin. A portion of this research was previously published by the Missouri Historical Society as Who Was John Gergen? Unraveling the Identity of an Early Twentieth-Century Immigrant (2006), which received the Missouri Conference on History’s Best Article Award. Moore currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri, in the urban residential neighborhood of Benton Park, about a mile from where John Gergen grew up.

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