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Gary R. Kremer Named to Head State Historical Society of Missouri

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John Fougere

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Sep 12, 2004

Contact: Jennifer Hollingshead
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Gary R. Kremer Named to Head   State Historical Society of Missouri

COLUMBIA, MO.—Gary R. Kremer of Jefferson City has been named as executive director of the State Historical Society of Missouri. He will also serve as the director of the Western Historical Manuscript Collection, a repository of primary source materials operated jointly by the University of Missouri and the Society on the four campuses of the University. His appointment became effective Tuesday, September 7.

In announcing the appointment, Bruce Beckett, Columbia, president of the Society, commented: “Dr. Kremer’s scholarly work and reputation and his vision for the Society’s future make him uniquely qualified to serve as the new director.” A committee comprising members of the Society’s executive committee and Stephen Lehmkuhle, the University of Missouri vice president for academic affairs, conducted a nationwide search to fill the position. James W. Goodrich, the Society’s executive director since 1985, retired in April.

Enthusiastic about his appointment, Kremer stated: “I am excited about the opportunity to serve as the executive director of the State Historical Society of Missouri. I discovered the Society and its rich resources more than three decades ago as an undergraduate student. Through the years since then, my admiration for the Society, its staff, and its collections have grown in proportion to my growing love for Missouri history. This is a wonderful organization with a noble purpose and a gifted and dedicated staff. I am proud to be associated with it.” Founded in 1898, the Society is the major research institution for the collection and preservation of the Show Me State’s heritage.

A fifth-generation native of Osage County, Missouri, Kremer received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from Lincoln University in Jefferson City and his doctorate in history from The American University in Washington, DC. He credits the kindling of his interest in history to the influence of the distinguished African American historian, Lorenzo J. Greene, a longtime member of the Lincoln University faculty.

Widely respected as a scholar of Missouri history, Kremer, 56, served as a professor of history at William Woods University in Fulton from 1991 until accepting the Society’s directorship and on the history faculty at Lincoln University from 1972 to 1987. From 1987 until 1991, he was Missouri State Archivist.

Kremer has written, co-authored, and co-edited eight books, including the recently released Women in Missouri History: In Search of Power and Influence, A Dictionary of Missouri Biography (1999), A History of Missouri, 1875-1919 (1997), and Missouri’s Black Heritage (1993). He has also published two volumes of Heartland History: Essays on the Cultural Heritage of the Central Missouri Region, a compilation of biweekly and monthly columns on historic figures, places, and events he prepared for the Jefferson City News Tribune beginning in 1998. Kremer has also published over twenty articles in scholarly journals, contributed essays to several volumes, and spoken at numerous historical conferences.

The new director is a familiar figure to local historical societies and groups throughout the state. Kremer served on the Missouri Humanities Council Speakers’ Bureau for fifteen years, delivering over twenty lectures a year on a variety of Missouri history topics, and three times as a Humanities Council scholar-in-residence. He has also been an adviser or writer on Humanities Council media projects, most recently Oh Freedom After While, a documentary about the 1939 sharecropper demonstration in southeast Missouri. Kremer has also directed a variety of historical projects for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Since 1998 he has hosted a monthly radio program about central Missouri history on KLIK in Jefferson City.

Kremer has received numerous awards as an educator and for his scholarship and historic preservation work. Active in public service, he is a member of the Missouri Historic Preservation Advisory Council for the Department of Natural Resources, the board of regents of St. Mary’s Health Center in Jefferson City, the Friends of the Missouri State Archives, and the Historic City of Jefferson, Inc. He served as a member of the State Historical Society’s board of trustees from 2002 until his appointment as executive director.