Common Searches

Browsing The Collections

The St. Louis Mercantile Library has broad holdings of particular interest to researchers of the history of St. Louis, Western Expansion, Western Art, railroads, and inland waterways.  Processed collections can be browsed from this website, and many have digital content such as finding aids or scanned images of documents available on their individual pages. 

Online Directories of our collections arranged by subject are available at: 

The John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library Webpage

The Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library Webpage

The St. Louis Mercantile Library Special Collections Webpage

And information about the collection of the St. Louis Mercantile Library Art Museum can be found at:

The St. Louis Mercantile Library Art Museum Webpage


On-Site Visits

Please contact the Library Staff before you visit.  You can contact us by phone at 314-516-7240 or email at mercantilelibrary@umsl.edu

-Collection and reference requests for on-site visits may be submitted to the library's reference request form

Collections are available for in person viewing during scheduled hours. While walk-in appointments are accepted, please be aware portions of our collections may be off-site or restricted for conservation without notice. Contact the library with a reference request at least 10 business days in advance if you would like to guarantee material availability. 

Before visiting, please review the posted reading room procedures. A librarian will review the procedures with you and answer any questions before your research session begins. If you have any questions prior to your visit, please feel free to contact a staff member.

Photography is allowed in the reading room under conditions stated in the library's rules concerning cameras

 **Note - Hours of the Reading Room are effected by Winter Intersession. Please visit the Libraries hours page for dates we are closed.

Distance Research

The Mercantile Library is proud to serve researchers worldwide.

Collection and reference requests for on-site visits may be submitted directly to curators or through our reference request form

Our Digital Collections are continually expanding. If you have found a material of interest to your research that is not yet available online, please contact a curator about potential digital access for research purposes. For extensive requests, some fees may apply. See below for an image pricing list.


Research Guides

Librarians and Curators of the Mercantile Library have assembled many research guides on popular topics of study related to our collections of St. Louis History, American Transportation, and the American West. You may find these guides useful if you are beginning your research process. 

A full index of the available research guides are available here.


Reproduction Fees & Copyright Information

For researchers interested in including Mercantile Library images in their publications or exhibitions, images from the collections may be purchased, with discounts for members, according to the posted images price list

All library materials are subject to copyright