Citizens, officials and students interested in Missouri history, biography, and genealogy will find in SHSMO’s Research Centers unsurpassed collections. The reference collection of books, pamphlets, and official state publications total more than 165,000 items. SHSMO also holds more than 9,000 manuscript collections, more than 8,000 maps, and over 56,000 rolls of newspapers on microfilm.
SHSMO boasts the nation's best collection of Missouri regional and westward expansion art, including Thomas Hart Benton's Year of Peril series, Fred Geary's regionalist woodcuts, and one of the largest collections of paintings by George Caleb Bingham. Also found in the collection are works by John James Audubon, Karl Bodmer, Frank Nuderscher, Fred Shane, and many other Missouri artists.
The State Historical Society of Missouri manuscript collection consists of personal papers, photographs, oral histories, correspondence, diaries and journals, and audiovisual material, as well as the records of churches, organizations, and businesses. These materials provide researchers an insight into the lives of Missourians and the development of organizations and businesses throughout Missouri.
The map collection includes items dating back to the early 1700s. Most maps deal with the settlement and development of Missouri, North America, the United States, and the Louisiana Purchase. There are also maps of other states, of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, of historic sites and trails, the U.S. Geological Survey maps for Missouri, and maps published by Missouri State Agencies among others.
Missouri newspapers document events and public opinion from the state’s rural environs to its largest metropolitan areas. This dynamic collection is available in 1,270 bound volumes and on over 56 million pages of microfilm.
With over 4,800 interviews, the oral history collection continues to actively produce and collect oral history interviews that represent Missouri’s culture and history.
With over 100,000 original photographs, postcards, and other graphic materials, the photograph collection is an outstanding source for students, scholars, writers, local historians, and genealogists researching images of the people, places, and events that shaped the development of Missouri and the west. Photographs are held within manuscript collections at all six research centers, with an additional photograph collection at the Columbia Center for Missouri Studies.
The reference collection houses resources ranging from family histories and printed minutes kept by local literary societies to Missouri official publications and scholarly monographs on the history of the state and the lives of its citizens.