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The Trustees of The Eugene Field House and St. Louis Toy Museum have as their mission the preservation, maintenance, interpretation, and promotion of The Eugene Field House and St. Louis Toy Museum as an historic property and museum, with four objectives. 1. To inform the general public about the life, works, and times of Eugene Field, the "Children's Poet," and the creator of the personal column in daily newspapers. 2. To preserve the childhood home of Eugene Field and to display Field family memorabilia and other period artifacts in a nineteenth-century domestic setting. 3. To educate visitors about Eugene Field's father, Roswell Martin Field, who served as Dred Scott's attorney when he sued for his family's freedom in 1853 in a building at Second and Papin Streets, thereby playing a major role in the events leading to the landmark Supreme Court decision affecting all African-Americans. 4. To collect and exhibit toys as an outgrowth of Eugene Field's abiding interest in collecting children's toys and dolls.
The Eugene Field House & St. Louis Toy Museum was the boyhood home of Eugene Field, who is beloved to this day as the "Children's Poet" and widely known as the "Father of the Personal Newspaper Column". The museum is also known as the home of Eugene's father, Roswell Martin Field, a well-known attorney. In 1853 he served as the attorney for the slaves Dred and Harriet Scott and their daughters, Eliza and Lizzy, when they brought action in federal court for their freedom. In 1934, when the home was scheduled for demolition, Irving Dilliard wrote a spirited editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch decrying the destruction of Eugene Field's birthplace. Jesse Powell Henry and Carl Peyton Daniel, Sr. , formed a committee to save the house, and the Board of Education took possession, preserving the home. In 1935 and 1936, during the Great Depression, school children in the St. Louis Public Schools collected nearly $2,000 to help the Eugene Field House. It was restored and opened as a museum in December of 1936, and to this day, school groups from the public schools of the city of St. Louis are admitted free. In 1968, the Board of Education gave up active operation of the museum, which is now professionally operated under the supervision of the Board of Trustees of the Eugene Field House Foundation, Inc. Since 1999, the house has been under a complete renovation and restoration of both the exterior and interior.
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