Digitized Collections - Carthage Picture Book

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Carthage Mo. the Most Beautiful City in the WestOne of the items in the Joplin Public Library’s archives is this little picture book about Carthage, Joplin’s neighbor and the Jasper County seat.

Carthage, Missouri: The Most Beautiful City in the West was a promotional picture booklet created in 1906 by the Newell family to solicit investments in the family’s various business enterprises, including Carthage Building Stone Co., Venango Royalty Co., Newell, Morse Royalty Co., and the Trinity Zinc, Lead and Smelting Company.

The Newell family was not shy about tooting the Newell horn, as this little booklet illustrates. In its excesses of small town boosterism and forthright entrepreneurship, the book is a perfect example of the exuberant can-do, get-rich, world-is-my-oyster spirit that prevailed among the privileged classes. It provides a wonderful glimpse into the vision of early-day Carthage entrepreneurs.

Although the Newells’ purpose in publishing this booklet was blatantly self-promotional – all three of their town and country houses are given full-page photos – the benefit to us a century later is a lovely photographic record of some Carthage buildings at the height of the area’s mining activity and prosperity.

James P. Newell, Anna’s only son, was born in 1878, so he was only 16 years old when he and his mother took the helm of the family business. In addition to the Newells’ real estate, insurance and loan business, they also had interests in many other Carthage businesses and industries.

The following sources were used for the descriptions and other metadata:

  • Hansford, Michele Newton. Images of America: Carthage, Missouri. Arcadia Publishing, 2000.
  • Hansford, Michele Newton, Powers Museum. Interview, April 22, 2005.
  • Hoye’s Joplin, MO., Directory 1904, including street and classified directories for Webb City, Carthage, Carterville, and Jasper County Rural Routes.
  • Laas, Virginia. Bridging Two Eras: The Autobiography of Emily Newell Blair 1877-1951. University of Missouri Press, 1999.
  • Through the Years: Carthage, Missouri. Carthage Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2005.

This project has been made possible by a Library Services and Technology Grant administered by the Missouri State Library, a division of the office of the Missouri Secretary of State.