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State Historical Society of Missouri

The State Historical Society of Missouri is the State’s most comprehensive repository of primary historical documents with over 127,900,000 pages, 5,385,000 photographic images, 22,250 audio and video recordings, 350,500 architectural drawings and 21,000 volumes of books, scrapbooks and ledgers. Its holdings span pre-statehood days to the present, and chronicle all aspects of the state’s history.

The collection has offices on all four of the University of Missouri campuses and all material in the collection can be viewed at any of the offices.

The St. Louis office of the State Historical Society concentrates on the history of the St. Louis area. The collection is strong in the areas of, African–American history, wildlife, environment, immigration, journalism, labor, politics, social reform and women’s history. Some of the more outstanding collections in the St. Louis office include: the papers of Marlin Perkins, Zoo director and host of Wild Kingdom; Tom Dooley, medical missionary know as Dr. America; DeVerne Calloway, first African-American women in the Missouri legislature; Kay Drey, environmental activist; Leo Drey, creator of the Ozark Scenic Riverways and the papers of U.S. Congressmen, Thomas B. Curtis, William L. Hungate, James W. Symington, Robert A. Young and Lieutenant Governor Harriet Woods The collection also contains the archives of many local organizations including the League of Women Voters, Sierra Club, Junior League, and many local labor organizations. The collection houses over 400,000 photographs documenting St. Louis people and events. The oral history collection chronicles the lives of African-American community leaders, riverboat jazzmen, labor leaders, immigrants, and many other areas of historical interest.

The collection is open to the public and attracts researchers from around the world. The SHSMO home page is Researchers can reach the collection by phone (314)516-5143 or Email


Source: State Historical Society of Missouri (2012)