Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Quinta Scott  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History Illustrator Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1941 in St. Louis, Missouri

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Illinois Connection

Scott has lived in St. Louis, where she was born, until 2005. Her husband, an architect, opened an office in Waterloo in 1992. By the time they moved, it was her turn to commute.

Biographical and Professional Information

Quinta Scott is a photographer as well as a writer. When she passed her drivers test at the age of sixteen the State of Missouri granted her a license to wander and she has been wandering ever since. Add a camera to a car and she knew no bounds. Even though she grew up in St. Louis and lived most of her life in Missouri, all of her books have found their genesis in the Illinois landscape.

Scott provided the photograph essays for her first two books, The Eads Bridge: Photographs by Quinta Scott; Historical Appraisal by Howard S. Miller, and Route 66, the Highway and its People, Photography by Quinta Scott; Text by Susan Croce Kelly. It was the very first book written on Route 66 and generated so much interest that she wrote Along Route 66: The Architecture of America's Highway, 12 years after its publication.

Her latest book is the Mississippi, a history of the formation of the river and how we have altered it. She is currently working on a project on the Missouri Ozark, and has published a series of 6 articles about the restoration of the Ozarks since the founding of Missouri Department of Conservation in 1937 in Confluence, a bi-yearly magazine published by Lindenwood University. She is working under the title: So Much to Learn.

Scott has received two Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the first for Route 66 and the second for a project she calls, Elevator, Church, and Mill, about the role of mills and churches in the establishment of Midwestern towns, such as Venedy where the project started.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Eads Bridge
ISBN: 1883982294

Missouri History Museum Press. 1999

As Karen M. Goering once wrote, "During its near hundred-year reign as St. Louis' chief symbol - and more recently as the city's most visible connection with its rich past - the Eads Bridge has inspired an outpouring of creative work from artists, illustrators and photographers." Originally published in 1979, The Eads Bridge, by Quinta Scott and Howard S. Miller, is a powerful example of the bridge's hold on St. Louis's civic and artistic imagination. Scott's photographic essay explores the Eads Bridge as art and architecture in a series of beautiful renderings of its confident lines, spidery supports, gracefully bulky details, and unexpected interior spaces. The historical appraisal of the bridge by historian Howard S. Miller is as much the story of the personalities of the Mississippi River and James Eads as of the bridge itself. Miller's essay presents the bridge as an avenue to Gilded Age corruption, railroad monopolies, and robber barons and into the mind of Eads himself, a complex and forceful personality in his own right. Eads's tenacity - and his "sustaining faith that glorified natural phenomena as it celebrated man's ability to comprehend and control them" - propelled the bridge he designed into virgin lands of metallurgy and engineering. Technically specific yet clearly explained, Miller's description of the construction process is fascinating reading that presents a refreshingly in-depth perspective on the landmark St. Louisans know so well.

Route 66: The Highway and Its People
ISBN: 0806122919

University of Oklahoma Press. 1990

U.S. Highway 66 was always different from other roads. During the decades it served American travelers, Route 66 became the subject of a world-famous novel, an Oscar-winning film, a hit song, and a long running television program. The 2,000 mile concrete slab also became a seven-year obsession for Susan Croce Kelly and Quinta Scott. They traveled Route 66, photographing buildings, knocking on doors, and interviewing the people who had built the buildings and run the businesses along the highway. Drawing on the oral tradition of those rural Americans who populated the edge of old Route 66, Scott and Kelly have pieced together the story of a highway that was conceived in Tulsa, Oklahoma linked Chicago to Los Angeles and played a role in the great social changes of the early twentieth century.

Using the words of the people themselves and documents they left behind, Kelly describes the life changes of Route 66 from the dirt-and-gravel days until the time when new technology and different life-styles decreed that it be abandoned to the small towns it had nurtured over the course of thirty years.

Scott's photographic essay shows the faces of those 66 people and gives a feeling of what can be seen along the old highway today, from the seminal highway architecture to the grainfields of the Illinois prairie, the windbent trees of western Oklahoma, the emptiness of New Mexico, and the bustling pier where the highway ends on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

Route 66 uses oral history and photography as the basis for a human study of this country's most famous road. Historic times, dates, places, and events are described in the words of men and women who were there: driving the highway, cooking hamburgers, creating pottery, and pumping gas. As much as the concrete, gravel, and tar spread in a sweeping arc from Chicago to Santa Monica, those people are Route 66. Their stories and portraits are the biography of the highway.

Images of St. Louis
ISBN: 0826210619

Univ of Missouri Pr. 1996

Book by

St. Louis: Home on the River (Urban Tapestry)
ISBN: 1881096181

Towery Pub. 1995

Book by Viets, Elaine, Scott, Quinta

Along Route 66
ISBN: 0806132507

University of Oklahoma Press. 2000

It was the way out. Invented on the cusp of the depression, Route 66 was the road out of the mines, off the farm, away from troubled Main Street. It was the road to opportunity. Between 1926 and 1956, many people from the southern and plains states trekked west to California on Route 66, the Mother Road. Some never reached California. Instead, they settled along the road, building restaurants, tourist attractions, gas stations, and motels. The architecture of each structure reflected regional building traditions and the difficulties of the times. The designs of buildings and signs served as invitations for passing travelers to stop, fill their tanks, have a bite, and stay the night.

Along Route 66 describes the architectural styles found along the highway from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, and pairs photos with stories of the buildings and of the people who built them, lived in them, and made a living from them. With striking black-and-white images and unforgettable oral histories of this rapidly disappearing architecture, Quinta Scott has docomented the culture of America’s most famous road.

The Mississippi: A Visual Biography
ISBN: 0826218407

University of Missouri. 2009

Consider the Misi-zibi, the Great River: what natural forces took sixty thousand years to shape, we Americans molded to our needs in three hundred, damaging its wetlands, in some cases, beyond repair. Photographer Quinta Scott has documented the progression of the Mississippi River from its source at Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico, with hundreds of stopping points along the way. In this remarkable volume—the only book to focus on the topography of the whole river and its floodplain—she blends images and text to weave a comprehensive view of the riparian landscape as a living organism and of the effects of human intervention on its natural processes.
Scott began photographing sites along the Mississippi just before the flood of 1993, and her images reflect the sweep of the river’s history, from formations from the Pleistocene era to damage left by Hurricane Katrina. Wielding her large-format camera along the river’s entire stretch, she captures important sites—places like Bayou de View in the Arkansas “Big Woods,” where the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was sighted in 2004, and the Timbalier Island, a barrier island and hurricane speed bump—that represent both what Americans have done to change the river and our current attempts to restore its damaged ecosystems.
In 200 dramatic color photographs, Scott illustrates the geographical and botanical features of the river and shows how its wetlands were formed by glacial melt and the river’s meandering. In accompanying text, she explains how we have changed each site depicted and how we try to manage it and notes the wildlife that occupies it. She describes what is being done to restore the islands and side channels on the Upper Mississippi, forests in the lower alluvial valley, and coastal marshes along the Gulf of Mexico. She also reveals the role of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers first in changing the river, then in working to restore it, as well as the Corps’ relationship with Congress.
No one has ever before attempted such a vast photographic documentation of the Mississippi River, capturing so many sites in all their diversity and complexity while also discussing ongoing geologic processes and human history. This majestic book is nothing less than a natural biography of the Mississippi, showing that, to understand the river and its floodplain today, we must understand the natural processes we have disrupted. It is both a rich documentary source and a fascinating overview for anyone captivated by this quintessential feature of the American landscape.

Speaking Engagements