Illinois Authors

The Illinois Center for the Book banner

John Francis McDermott

Born: 1902, St. Louis County, Missouri
Died: 1981, St. Louis County, Missouri

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: The author taught at SIU Edwardsville

Biography: John Francis McDermott was a noted author and professor of American History at Southern Illinois University--Edwardsville (SIU-E). During his tenure there, he taught thousands of students at the new university campus during its 'start-up' phase in the late 1950's and 1960's. He was instrumental in documenting many regional historical studies, among them the Lewis & Clark Expedition and the Founding of St. Louis in 1764 (he himself was a descendant of Auguste Chouteau, founder of the City of St. Louis).


Primary Literary Genre(s): History; Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

John Francis McDermott on WorldCat :

Selected Titles

  Before Mark Twain :
ISBN: 058512812X OCLC: 43476469

Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, Ill. : 1998.

  Frenchmen and French ways in the Mississippi Valley /
ISBN: 0252784111 OCLC: 10508

University of Illinois Press, Urbana [Ill.] : 1969.

Papers presented at the Conference at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, on Feb. 14-15, 1967, and in St. Louis on the evening of Feb. 15th, 1967.

Journey through a part of the United States of North America in the years 1844 to 1846,
ISBN: 080930581X OCLC: 417918

Southern Illinois University Press Carbondale, [1972]

In 1844, Albert Koch, then an obscure but passionate paleontologist, began his remarkable journey. His objective was paleontological exploration, and his travels took him by land and water from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, to New Orleans and Alabama in search of the gigantic sea serpent, or Zeuglodon. Koch's full, day-by-day, record of his journey was excerpted and published in Germany in 1847. The book, which is extremely rare, is here translated into English for the first time by Ernst A. Stadler, who also provides a thorough introduction to this narrative and to the author's life and his other scientific digs... [The author] provides fascinating descriptions of travel and of American folkways of the mid-1840's--Book jacket.

Seth Eastman's Mississippi ;
ISBN: 0252001923 OCLC: 749576

The Mississippi River landscape so appealed to Captain Seth Eastman (stationed at Fort Snelling) that between 1846 and 1848 he painted dozens of excellent miniature landscapes of the river from the Falls of St. Anthony in Minnesota to a point below St. Louis near the mouth of the Ohio. Seventy-nine of the detailed scenes are reproduced here, enabling us to see the river as Eastman saw it in its wilderness state over 125 years ago, when white men's towns were just beginning to appear on the shores. Only recently discovered in a private collection, the delicate watercolors establish Eastman as an important landscape painter and the best watercolorist of the Upper Mississippi. Trained as a topographical artist at the U.S. Military Academy, Eastman approached painting realistically. Well known for his exact portrayals of Chippewas, Winnebagoes, and Sioux at their daily activities, Eastman displays in his landscapes the same precise realization of the river scene. The newly found paintings form the most extensive and carefully observed visual documentation of the Upper Mississippi ever undertaken. Of their quality, McDermott writes: "So small that they might have been painted with the aid of a jeweler's glass, so sharply distinct that the artist might have been viewing scenes through a telescope, so sensitive in the use of atmosphere, so delicate in their tints, these pictures are a glowing triumph" for Eastman. McDermott, who also wrote The Lost Panoramas of the Mississippi and Seth Eastman, Pictorial Historian of the Indian, traces the history of these watercolors in an absorbing essay and compiles an annotated catalog of them.