Photograph Collection

Memorial Union from Lowry Street

Introduction to the Photograph Collection

As part of its ongoing mission, the Society has gathered over 100,000 original photographs, postcards, and other graphic materials. The 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 four Research Centers, with an additional photograph collection at the Columbia Research Center. The SHSMO staff is working to provide additional information about photographs and digitized images through this website. A small portion of the photograph collection is currently viewable online.

Online Collections

Rights & Reproductions

Many of the images held by the Society can be copied for personal use or research, or reproduced for publication, exhibition, or broadcast.
Review the guidelines here.


Additions to the collection of historical and contemporary photos come primarily through gifts. The Society seeks identified and dated views of Missouri people, places, and events, as well as other photographs with a Missouri connection.

Anyone interested in donating photographs should contact

Research Requests

Please read the Research Policy before submitting a request.

Prepayment of Research Fee is required and does not guarantee success.

Research requests can be submitted by:

Policies & Procedures

Security/Locker Policy
For security purposes, patrons using the Research Center-Columbia are asked to leave coats, jackets, briefcases, backpacks, and similar articles
in the lockers at the south end of the main corridor. Only items such as paper, pencils, notes, and laptop computers are allowed in the center. These items, plus sweaters worn when the room is cool, will be subject to search by Society personnel upon departure. The lockers require a quarter deposit which is returned when the patron uses the key to retrieve his or her belongings.

Camera Policy
Patrons may use cameras, with the permission of the staff. For security reasons, camera bags and equipment cases are not allowed in the Research Center. The Society staff reserves the right to prohibit the photographing of a particular item based on fragile condition or if photography
is a known violation of copyright law. Patrons are responsible for observing copyright law.  
Photocopying Policies
All copying is handled by the staff except from microfilm. Patrons should use the Research Center’s microfilm scanners to make copies of newspapers on microfilm.

For preservation reasons, some items in the collection may not be photocopied, including: items protected by copyright, pages from indexes, city directories, items in rare book collections, oversize books, selected irreplaceable county history books, books in very poor condition, tightly bound books that do not open flat, and books printed on newsprint or other poor quality paper.