Oscar Wilkes Collet (August 4, 1821- July 23, 1904) was born in Mona Farm, Illinois. His parents, Robert and Sophia Catherine Hewitt Collet, were both born in England and immigrated to America, changing the family name to Collet from Corlet. After the birth of Collet's siblings, the Collet family moved from Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri. In 1833, Collet began his schooling at Saint Louis University at age twelve and continued until age eighteen.
Collet wrote voluminously on a variety of topics but only published a few articles. In 1872, he published the Biographical Register of the 26th General Assembly of the State of Missouri. Collet's General Index to St. Louis County Archives was published in 1874. Collet compiled other indexes including the archives of the St. Louis Cathedral and the Catholic Church of St. Charles, which consisted of an alphabetical listing of early birth, marriage, and death records. He also indexed the early marriage records from Cahokia, Illinois.
Collet held many positions at various employers. In 1845, Collet worked with John Halsell (Halsell and Collett) as book and stationary vendors. Around 1848, Collet worked at a mustard factory called Western Spice Mills and did business as Collet and Johnson. From approximately 1857-1860, Collet worked for T.M. Taylor and Company, doing business as wholesale liquor dealers. In 1869, Collet was fired from his post as superintendent and manager of Woodward and Garesche. Around 1870, Collet kept the books for Fitzgibbon at the County Court.
In 1875, Collet began his career with the Missouri Historical Society. He held various positions and served on many committees during his interval with the society. He was Treasurer from 1879-1883, Acting Secretary from 1881-1883, and Recording Secretary from 1888-1889. He was a member of the Executive Committee on Archeology. Throughout the 1880's, Collet was responsible for the growth of the Missouri Historical Society's museum collection of archaeological artifacts. Collet was especially interested in Indian artifacts and the Society's collection was considered to be one of the best collections in the country at the time.
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Acquisition Note: Source: Gift of Arthur C. Hoskins. Accession number 1493
Preferred Citation:Name of the Collection, Washington University Libraries, Department of Special Collections
Scope and Contents: 1918. Index to St. Louis Cathedral and Carondelet Church marriages, transcribed by Mrs. E. Boyd Ware. Covering the period circa 1774-1839. 159 pages, bound in green cloth with gold stamped on spine.