The Reference Collection holds several collections of rare and special interest books. Included among these are:
- the J. Christian Bay Collection of Middle Western Americana
- the Mahan Memorial Mark Twain Collection
- the Eugene Field Collection
- the Paul D. Higday Civil War Collection
- the Alice Irene Fitzgerald Collection, which contains books for children and youth written by Missourians or about Missouri.
Also in the regular collection are some interesting and useful sub-groups:
County Atlases/Plat Maps
- The Reference Collection houses the Missouri County Atlases/Plat Maps, while the Newspaper Collection maintains the microfilm that is used to make copies of the plat maps. These atlases/plat maps are a wonderful resource for researchers seeking to locate the land their ancestors owned or the location of historic towns, roads, water bodies, and railroads.
County Record Indexes
- The Reference Collection has a large collection of Missouri County Record Indexes, which are cataloged under call number F508.3. The majority of these indexes are to county birth/death registers, marriage licenses, and cemetery transcriptions. There are additional record indexes, including probate/will, taxes, and other county government records. These indexes refer to records held by individual counties. The Society does not have these records in its collection; instead many of these records are available on microfilm at the Missouri State Archives in Jefferson City. The availability of county records varies greatly by county due to courthouse fires, neglect, natural disasters, and economics. A portion of these county record indexes can be found online through the online catalog.
- The Reference Collection of official Missouri state publications is catalogued under the letter “M.” Since the Society is a state depository library, this collection grows constantly, with additions from all branches and departments of Missouri state government. Many researchers use the rosters, pictures, and laws within these official state manuals to find current and historical information. The Missouri Official Manuals, nicknamed “blue books,” include a wealth of information about Missouri and its government officials. The biographical sketches in these “blue books” are cited in the Missouri Surname Index. The Missouri Official Manuals are accessible to the public in the reference collection. The majority of the Missouri official collection, excluding the Missouri Official Manuals, is not browseable by the public and must be retrieved from closed stacks by the reference staff.
- While the MSSDAR maintains this collection, it is housed in the Reference Collection room at the State Historical Society and is available to everyone.