About Us

What is Informal History?

Informal History is a zine promoting the study of history through collective discovery and individual creative expression. We’re historians, either because it’s our job or our hobby. We might occupy different roles, but the thing that brings us together is our mutual interest in the preservation of historical resources and the promotion of historical research and education.

If you’re a historian, scholar, or archivist, Informal History is a space to share a bit about your current research, or maybe a sneak peek into your personal, off-hours research. Not everybody wants to, or can talk about their jobs as public historians—and we understand. We simply want to invite professional or professional historians-in-training to share with the community research they feel would add to our collective understanding of the region we know, live in, and sometimes struggle to love.

Maybe “professional historian” doesn’t fit your job description. Whether you’re a writer, a doctor or a community storyteller, you also have a role in the task of building a new, contemporary historical understanding of St. Louis—as much as anyone with a history degree. We welcome all to participate from the artist and poet to the family genealogist and collector.

There are two important ground rules that set our magazine apart, and they should be observed if authors wish to see their work featured. Informal History is a zine catering to the examination of contemporary St. Louis history. An easy way of qualifying “contemporary” is to think of the magazine’s focus as of the era starting from the fall of Pruitt Igoe to the present day. We feel there’s a world of history, rich and lived experience for one zine to tackle in just in the past 20 years—let alone the last 45.

Secondly, Informal History is NOT a space to dwell in nostalgia. We understand, you have fond memories of the soda fountain two blocks from your high school in Ferguson, circa 1968, but there are several large Facebook groups which presently publish this material, free of charge, and there, you might even run into your old buddies.

What we’re looking for

A magazine created to develop and share a new collective history seems like mighty big task! As students and professional historians, we’re often confronted with the need to shrink our frame of focus, and aim for substance over volume.

Informal History is no different.

For our print edition, we have some very specific ground rules. We’re looking for short narrative essays, articles, poems, and photo essays—with a maximum word count of about 1000 to 1200 words. Essays can be accompanied by illustrations (submit up to three) and editors will work with authors to choose which illustrations best work within the limits of our magazine’s template. 

Photo essays should be pitched before they are developed and submitted. As in the case of our first planned issue, several or more essays may lend themselves towards one specific geographic region or neighborhood in the St. Louis area, and we want to be sure to match our print material with similarly focused photographic media.

Additionally, submissions should include a short 3-to-4 sentence author biography. This will be published alongside any printed content submitted by accepted work. Discussion is ongoing about the possibility of sharing content online, via this website—which may or may not invite the opportunity for authors to share more digital media as well as longer word counts.

You aren’t compensated. Nor are we. You dig?

This is an all-volunteer effort on the part of our editorial and design teams. Nobody is being paid, including those who submit their work for publication. All proceeds from our fundraising efforts including the Patreon and our extremely cheap ($1 per) print copies, are funneled towards the continued publication of our print edition, which allows us to share your work, be it a narrative essay or a photo essay. This is history for the halibut, not the profit.

We hope you’ll be just as excited to share your work with us, and the community, as we are in putting together this incredible platform. We’re hoping as life returns to normal, we can begin to plan more ways to enrich the community’s historical experience through live events and readings, as well as unique prints such as photo exclusive or narrative anthologies.

Our Volunteer Staff

Below are the members of our editorial board and podcast team, each member brings to the Informal History publication a unique skill set and background which results in content, both print and digital, that is at once unique but altogether so St. Louis.

Mark Loehrer

Publisher & Producer/Co-host of Informal History STL Podcast

 

Stefene Russell

Editorial Lead for Informal History Magazine and Co-host of Informal History STL Podcast

Elizabeth Wolfson

Editorial Lead for Informal History Magazine and Co-host of Informal History STL Podcast

 

Miranda Rectenwald

Editorial Assistant, Development Lead and Co-host of Informal History STL Podcast

Aja Corrigan

Editorial Assistant for Design and Co-host of Informal History STL Podcast

Randy & Jeff Vines

Editorial Assistant for Design & Outreach, Co-hosts of Informal History STL Podcast

 

Umar Lee

The STL Stranger, Editorial Assistant, Writer and Informal History Podcast Co-host

Emily Hood

Editorial Assistant