Hannibal Courier-Post readers who look forward to award-winning journalist Mary Lou Montgomery's Hannibal history stories in each weekend edition will be pleased to learn she is writing a new book.

Hannibal Courier-Post readers who look forward to award-winning journalist Mary Lou Montgomery's Hannibal history stories in each weekend edition will be pleased to learn she is writing a new book.

Her first book, a biography titled The Notorious Madam Shaw, was published in 2016.

After presenting a program and book signing Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the Hannibal Free Public Library, Montgomery said she is writing her second book in conjunction with Hannibal's 2019 Bicentennial. The new book will focus on Hannibal's medical history, including doctors and pharmacists.

Her program Tuesday was requested by local library director Hallie Yundt Silver, who attended Montgomery's recent program at the Jefferson City Library.

In explaining how her career evolved from newspaper editor to book author, Montgomery emphasized the importance of “making sure it's correct.” She was told this is especially vital when writing historical articles, because “it will become history.”

She expressed appreciation for Steve Chou donating the use of his photo collection, where she found some history story ideas.

Her program featured the story of Tilden Russell (T.R.) Selmes, about whom Montgomery recently wrote a story for the Courier-Post. He was a prominent Hannibal businessman from the 1840s until the end of the Civil War, when he moved to Quincy, Ill., where he died in 1870. His Hannibal store sold supplies to men en route to California in the Gold Rush of 1848.

Selmes was mayor of Hannibal in 1853, when the City Council passed an ordinance permitting anyone age 21 and older to rid the city of pigeons by shooting them.

Montgomery noted how much she enjoys researching and writing each history story for the Courier-Post, where she retired as editor in 2014, after a lengthy journalism career.

She said her stories are about people who lived many years ago, and she enjoys sharing the details of their lives. “I try to show how real people lived in the past. … I've gotten to know so many people.

“I have to be passionate about what I do,” she added. “I spend a whole week with them. … learning about how they made a living.”

She welcomes story ideas from the public and may be contacted by email at montgomery.editor@yahoo.com.

Montgomery’s website ismaryloumontgomery.com/

bev.darr@courierpost.com