Ruth’s River Dreams

Illustrated by Elizabeth A. Pickard and Catherine Graham Sibley

A schoolteacher, principal, amateur historian, and avid lover of the Mississippi River, Ruth Ferris (1897–1993) was a singular steward of St. Louis’s maritime heritage. Her lifelong love of the Mississippi and its riverboat culture spanned over 70 years, encompassing research, photography, excavating sunken vessels, collecting artifacts, and forming friendships with other river enthusiasts.

Ruth’s River Dreams tells the story of Ferris’s childhood, when she first became captivated by the Mississippi River, its riverboats, and the stories told about and aboard those boats. Along with her curatorial accomplishments, Ferris was also an accomplished artist, and Ruth’s River Dreams weaves a number of her woodcuts and drawings into its narrative of a young girl with big dreams. Written for ages 3 to 7, Elizabeth A. Pickard’s lively book promises to inspire a new generation of young readers, sparking in them the same love of St. Louis’s colorful waterways that guided Ruth Ferris throughout her life.

This book is a companion to the Mighty Mississippi exhibit at the Missouri History Museum.

Elizabeth A. Pickard graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a BA in dramatic arts. She earned her master’s degree in history with a certification in museum studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. She is the former director of education and interpretation at the Missouri Historical Society and is currently a consultant for the Rome Group in St. Louis, where she works with nonprofits on fundraising and strategic planning. This is her first children’s book.

Catherine Graham Sibley attended Washington University in St. Louis, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. She now lives in Wisconsin, where she works as an artist and illustrator. This is her first children’s book.

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