What is the Manuscript Collection?
In January 2011 the State Historical Society of Missouri entered into an agreement with the University of Missouri to assume full curatorial care and manage all public services associated with the Western Historical Manuscript Collection on each campus of the university system. Previously, the Western Historical Manuscript Collection and the State Historical Society had functioned as a joint collection with many of the same goals and objectives but operated by separate staffs and governing structures. During the years immediately following the financial crisis of 2008-09 which resulted in severe economic difficulties for federal and state governments, grant making organizations and foundations, and membership and private sector support, close scrutiny of available capital and management of resources led to consideration of consolidating the Society and WHMC through one staff and united holdings for improved preservation and increased access to collections. Consequently, the Society now maintains research centers providing access to the Manuscript Collection on each campus: Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla, and St. Louis.
Professional historians and researchers, students, genealogists, journalists, and anyone with an interest in historical research is invited to utilize the Manuscript Collection consisting of more than 16,000 linear feet of paper records, over 6,350 rolls of microfilm, 31,000 photographs and other images, and approximately 15,000 audio and video recordings.
The Manuscript Collection has a wide ranging and eclectic scope, with unique, unpublished records of state, regional, and national significance. Materials span Missouri's pre-statehood days to the present and chronicle many aspects of the history of the state and the trans-Mississippi West: social and cultural studies, religious and educational topics, military and political history, economic, legal, and business interests, urban, rural, ethnic considerations, and environmental studies, among many others. The collection documents present and former Missourians from many walks of life and includes the correspondence, diaries, photographs, financial records, and additional papers of pioneers, soldiers, workers, farmers, business leaders, educators, scientists, doctors, artists, writers, politicians, and itinerant preachers.
The Society is always interested in augmenting the Manuscript Collection. If you are interested in donating personal and family papers, organizational records, or other types of historically significant material related to the history of Missouri, please contact us. For more information and the answers to many frequently asked questions, consult the Donor's Guide to The State Historical Society of Missouri’s Manuscript Collection.