Newspaper Collection

Newspaper Indexes

One of the most valuable finding aids in the State Historical Society is often overlooked. Available online, an index to selected Missouri newspapers contains entries that can lead a researcher to lengthy articles or short mentions of many topics in Missouri history. The newspapers indexed were published in the following times and places:

City Title Dates
Boonville Weekly Advertiser Jan 2, 1880-Dec 30, 1927
Boonville Eagle May 2, 1868-Jul 12, 1878
Boonville Observer Mar 13, 1844-Dec 27, 1856
Boonville Western Emigrant Jan 10, 1839-Mar 26, 1840
Columbia Missouri Intelligencer May 4, 1830-Dec 12, 1835
Columbia Missourian Aug 2, 1916-Dec 31, 1929
Columbia University Missourian Sep 14, 1908-Aug 1, 1916
Columbia Statesman 1843-1886
Fayette Missouri Intelligencer Jun 29, 1826-Apr 9, 1830
Franklin Missouri Intelligencer Apr 23, 1819-Jun 16, 1826
Jackson Independent Patriot Dec 23, 1820-Dec 15, 1826
Jackson Missouri Herald Aug 13, 1819-Aug 26, 1820
Jefferson City Inquirer Sep 10, 1840-Jan 26, 1861
Jefferson City Jeffersonian Republican Apr 30, 1831-Aug 10, 1844
Jefferson City People’s Tribune Oct 4, 1865-Dec 26, 1883
Jefferson City Daily Tribune Jan 1, 1875-Dec 30, 1926
Jefferson City Weekly Tribune Jan 2, 1884-Dec 31, 1884; Jan 4, 1888-Dec 27, 1888
Liberty Tribune Apr 4, 1846-Jan 29, 1869
St. Louis Missouri Argus May 22, 1835-Jul 4, 1840
St. Louis Missouri Gazette Jul 26, 1808-Mar 6, 1822
St. Louis Missouri Republican Mar 20, 1822-Dec 23, 1828

SHSMO now houses over forty million pages of Missouri newspapers on microfilm. Patrons can easily access these newspapers if they have a date and the location of an event, but many topics in historical research are not event-oriented. In such cases, subject indexing is essential. If you are researching a topic or an ancestor, please search the online index.

A Valuable Resource for Historians

Each indexed newspaper emphasizes local news. For example, the Columbia Missourian, 1908-1929, contains articles on the University of Missouri and its students and faculty. The Liberty Tribune, 1849-1869, includes many articles on slavery because of Clay County's proximity to plantation areas on the Missouri River. The 1808-1828 St. Louis newspapers are excellent sources of information on Native Americans and the Indian wars.

However, each of these newspapers printed not only local news but also important stories from around the state. It is a good research strategy to check all the indexed articles covering the desired time period, regardless of where the newspaper was published. This method proved useful for a patron looking for an ancestor who had died during a cholera epidemic in Marion County in the 1830s. He did not have a date of death. Although none of the newspapers indexed are in northeast Missouri, a check of the index revealed not only the ancestor's date of death but also a story indicating that he had been a doctor who had sacrificed his own health caring for epidemic victims in the Palmyra area. The patron had unsuccessfully searched for this information for twenty years before finding it in the newspaper index.

In addition to the online index, SHSMO houses a growing collection of newspaper indexes in book form. These books are generally published by genealogical societies or private genealogists and tend to emphasize birth, marriage, and death notices in newspapers over items of general historical interest.

Missouri Newspaper Indexes Available Through Other Organizations

The St. Louis Mercantile Library holds the clippings file of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat newspaper. This file was "weeded" over the years, and although some clippings date to the late 1800s, most clippings fall within the 1920s-1980s time frame. For more information contact: St. Louis Mercantile Library at University of Missouri-St. Louis, 8001 Natural Bridge Road, St. Louis, MO 63121-4499; Phone: 314.516.7240 or 314.516.7247; Fax: 314.516.7241; E-mail: mercantile@umsl.edu.

The St. Louis Public Library's web site offers an obituary index that includes citations to death notices and burial permit listings printed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The index covers many of the years of the 19th-21st centuries and continues to be augmented.