Buchanan County Manuscript Collections

Buchanan County was organized in 1838. The county seat is Sparta. These collections deal in some manner with Buchanan County, Missouri. This list is not comprehensive, so be sure to browse Manuscript Collections by subject.

*Collections marked with DIGITIZED MATERIALS have additional digitized items available.

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Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service Aerial Photographs, (P0335)
107.5 linear feet
Missouri county aerial photographs produced by the Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service.

American Revolution Bicentennial, Missouri Committee for Agriculture, Papers, 1974-1976 (C4276)
1.2 cubic feet (42 folders), 1 audio tape
The papers of the committee contain correspondence, newsletters, reports, updates, events awards programs, lists of elected members, historical information on "Centennial Farms," and "Liberty Trees," meeting minutes, announcements, newspaper clippings, and audio-visual material for a slide presentation entitled "The Spirit of 76."

Alfred Fenton and Brother Records, 1849-1884 (K0062)
10 volumes
The records of Alfred Fenton and Brother contain day books and ledgers for their mercantile business in Rushville, Buchanan County, Missouri, with information on the hemp industry, including data on volume and prices.


Bauman, Larry, Photograph Collection, (P0473)
5 photographs
Copy photos of the St. Joseph Union Station, ca. 1894-1905

Bergseid, Carolyn R., Postcard Collection, (P0548)
28 postcards
Postcards of St. Joseph, Kansas City, Springfield, St. Louis, Bolivar, and the University of Missouri Columns.

Boder, Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett, Photographs, (P0927)
8 photographs
Photos of St. Joseph: Missouri Valley Trust Co. and St. Joseph museums.

Boggs, Lilburn W., (1792-1860), Papers, 1838-1839, (C1753)
1 folder
Acts of the General Assembly during the administration of Governor Boggs, concerning organization and boundaries of Clark, Buchanan, Grundy and Platte Counties, declaration of Ni-chi-ne-ba-to-na River as a navigable stream; and payment for services of grand jurors.

Boller Brothers Architectural Records, (K0065)
9.31cubic feet (24 folders, 65 rolled items)
The Boller Brothers Architectural Records consist of both personal and business correspondence, business publications and advertisements, personal photographs, and military and architectural certificates issued to Robert Boller. Additional material includes a family history entitled "Turning the Blues into Bluebirds," written by Mrs. Robert C. Boller in 1932. The records also contain sixty-five sets of architectural drawings of theatres dating between 1912 and 1953 which were constructed in the Midwest portion of the United States.

Boyd, John R., Handbill, n.d., (C2832)
1 folder
Handbill addressed to the men of Buchanan and adjoining counties, calling for men to fight against Fremont.

Breckenridge, William Clark (1862-1927), Papers, 1752-1927, (C1036)
4.75 linear feet, 21 volumes, 3 rolls of microfilm
The papers of the St. Louis businessman, writer, and historian contain correspondence, scrapbooks, book sale announcements, and miscellaneous materials, with an emphasis on St. Louis and Missouri history.

Brouster, George Washington, (1830-1887), Letters, 1850-1851, (C1832)
1 folder
Letters written by Brouster to his family in St. Louis County, MO, while on an overland trip to the California gold fields in 1850 and while mining for gold in various parts of California.

Brown, Robert C., Photograph Collection, (P0004)
51 photographs
Photographs of Missouri railroad depots, primarily for the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railroad. Photographs relating to A.F. Schliecker of Kansas City, Missouri.

Zwick Family, Papers, 1860-1965, (C4199)
0.25 cubic feet (6 folders)
The Zwick family papers are composed of photographs, correspondence, financial documents and genealogical information on the Zwick family.


Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company Contract, 1860, (C1869)
1 folder
Contract between the company and the citizens of St. Joseph, MO, by which the citizens of St. Joseph provide offices and lands to the express company as part of the agreement for mail services.

Corby Family, Papers, 1804-1905 (C0086)
0.8 linear feet
Papers of a pioneer St. Joseph, MO, family: deeds, bills of sale for slaves, tax receipts, legal papers, stock certificates, Pony Express bills; and material on early St. Louis area. Record book of the Mercantile Company, 1856; bank book, 1861-1869; volume of clippings concerning St. Joseph, 1881-1903.

Crowley, Conrad and Elizabeth, Deed of Trust, 1853, (C1984)
1 folder
For sale of land in Buchanan County, MO, to John and Thomas Curd.

Culver, Romulus E., (1810-1847), Papers, 1846-1886, (C2612)
2 folders
The papers of Romulus E. Culver contain letters from Culver, who marched with Doniphan in the Mexican War, from the New Mexico Territory, and from individuals gathering information about Culver's death at the hands of Mexican insurgents in Mora, NM. Also included are miscellaneous documents, an interview with William Matney, and receipts.


Davis, Lottie W., Photograph Collection, (P0688)
8 photographs
Photos of Davis home and Union Steam Laundry, St. Joseph, MO.

Davis, True (1919- ), Campaign Newspaper, 1968, (C3341)
1 folder
A paid political advertisement, ""The True Davis Story"" aimed at informing Missourians about Davis' background, experience, and political reputation during his 1968 campaign for Democratic nomination for U.S. senator from Missouri. The paper also gives Davis' views of the major campaign issues.

Dawson, John T., Papers, (CA5975)
1 folder
Insurance papers of the St. Joseph, Missouri resident, dating to the 1930s.

Doniphan, Alexander, W., Letter, 1856, (C1942)
1 folder
The papers contain a letter from Doniphan of Liberty, Missouri, to his nephew John, on December 15, 1856, concerning business and banking opportunities in Liberty, Weston, and St. Joseph.

Doniphan-Moss Family, Papers, 1840s-1880s, (CA6478)
0.2 cubic feet
Correspondence and land records concerning a familiy largely from the St. Joseph and Clay County, MO, areas. Includes letters from Alexander W. Doniphan, as well as land records of the Thornton family.


Eckel, Edmund Jacques Papers, (K0258)
.79 cubic feet
The Edmond Jacques Eckel Papers predominately consist of materials related to Eckel’s architectural training at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, a French school of architecture located in Paris, France. Additional materials include blueprints of Eckel’s residence in St. Joseph, Missouri, blueprints of a garage for George Eckel, photographs, clippings and advertisements for agricultural equipment, a small booklet advertising the services of other architects residing in St. Joseph, Missouri, and a ledger of accounts for Eckel’s ranch in Williford, Arkansas.

Economic Opportunity Corporation of Greater St. Joseph, St. Joseph, Missouri, Records, (CA5583)
0.4 linear feet
Administrative procedures, audit, performance evaluation, and board member materials, 1987-1990, 1994. Board materials include correspondence, minutes, reports, financial statements, and miscellaneous.

Elgin, Robert L., Photographs, (P0414)
19 photographs
Photos of Rolla and St. Joseph areas, Charles Van Ravenswaay, ca. 1961, and Elizabeth (Mrs Joseph O.) Shelby. Also, Missouri postcards.

Eslinger, Lucille, Collection, (CA6443)
0.2 cubic feet
Clippings, postcards, photographs, and miscellaneous material largely concerning Albany, St. Joseph, and Columbia, Missouri, including material on the Women's Missionary Society of the First Presbyterian Church, Albany, MO, 1927-1930; photographs of the Patee House, St. Joseph, MO; and programs from schools, colleges, and organizations in Columbia, MO, 1888-1890.


Farmers' and Mechanics' Savings Institution, St. Joseph, Missouri, Stock Certificates, 1858-1861, (C1985)
1 folder
Shares of stock in a St. Joseph institution.

France-McDonald Family, Papers, (CA6245)
1.8 cubic feet
The papers of a St. Joseph, Missouri, family include the correspondence of Charles B. France (1900-1928), Gladys France, Albert France, and Sara France Pratt, as well as miscellaneous France and McDonald family material. Much of the correspondence is written by Charles B. France from Paris in the 1920s.

Friends of Sacred Structures Records, (K1370)
5 cubic feet
The records of Friends of Sacred Structures documents, photographs, and notebooks related to religious structures assisted by FOSS, covering the period 1991 through 2015. The records also include materials related to locations targeted by the organization for assistance as well as board, council, and committee records.


Gray, George, Collection, (P0463)
6 photographs
Photos of Pony Express mural by George Gray and its unveiling by Eleanor Roosevelt, 1938, at the Robidoux Hotel in St. Joseph. Drawing of Ft. Leavenworth. Photo of the artist.

Guitar, Sarah (1892-1963), Collection, n.d., (C3391)
1.5 cubic feet, 5 card boxes
Card file compiled by Sarah Guitar, reference librarian of the State Historical Society of Missouri, as a guide to county boundaries of Missouri, 1812-1929; Missouri congressional district boundaries, 1845-1933; Missouri senatorial districts, 1820-1931; and Missouri judicial circuits, 1815-1915.

Guitar, Sarah (1892-1963), Papers, 1931-1944, (C3563)
1.2 linear feet
Correspondence and miscellaneous information on Missouri compiled by Guitar during her employment, under the direction of Floyd C. Shoemaker, as Reference Librarian for the State Historical Society of Missouri. Includes one card box of reference notes.


James, David A. (1937- ) Papers, 1790-2008, (C4126)
5 cubic feet
The research material of a hotel management instructor whose work resulted in the publication Historic Hotels of Missouri: Hotels, Inns, and Taverns of 19th Century Missouri.

Jeanetta Danford (1932-2016), Papers, (K1366)
Approximately 3 cubic feet
The collection contains diaries, journals, and correspondence written to and from Jeannetta (Sawyer) Danford. The collection also includes a 1949 yearbook from Central High School, St. Joseph, Missouri, and a Bible.

Jones, Herbert S., "Missouri--O Promised Land, "1960, (C2721)
1 folder
Migration of Bays, McKee and Blue families to St. Joseph, MO, in the 1830s, and their descendants to 1960.


Lee, Richard L. (1925-2011), County Courthouse Photographs, ca. 1955, (P0003)
210 photographs
The collection includes photographs of county courthouses for the state of Missouri, taken in the mid-twentieth century by Richard L. Lee.


Marsh, Elias Joseph, Diary, 1859, (C2599)
1 folder
Account of a journey to the northern reaches of the Missouri River. Describes the departure, route, passengers, river currents, fur trappers, Indians, prairie country, Mormon camp, Sioux City, the wilderness, Fort Pierre Chouteau, hunting and wildlife, Fort Berthold, Fort Union, and Yellowstone River.

McClain, Charles M., Postcard Collection, (P0539)
23 postcards
23 postcards of Missouri scenes, including the Ozarks, Paseo in Kansas City, Warrenton, Troy, Hannibal, St. Louis, St. Joseph, Nevada, and Russellville.

Miller, George C., Photograph Collection, (P0081)
4 photographs
1974 color photo of Conley House, Columbia, MO. 2 b/w fashion photos, a wedding dress and "ornate" gown. B/w cabinet card of two unnamed children from St. Joseph, MO.

Miller, Virginia L., Photograph Collection, (P0472)
2 photographs
Photos of the Isaac Miller house, St. Joseph.

Missouri Association of the Future Farmers of America, Records, 1928-1980, (C3644)
4 reels (2 folders, 3 volumes, 16 scrapbooks), 1 filmstrip
Records of the state organization of affiliated high school FFA chapters. Papers include constitution and bylaws, applications for and articles of incorporation, minutes of meetings, and scrapbooks on state and local chapter activities.

Missouri Division of Tourism, Photographs, (P0452)
0.08 linear feet
Photos of Thomas Hart Benton and Missouri Historic Sites, monuments, markers, and memorials.

Missouri Ex-POWs Oral History Project, Records, 2000-, (C3975)
Interviews with ex-prisoners of war (POWs). The records include audio cassettes, compact discs, and transcripts.

Missouri Extension Homemakers Association, Inc., "Sacred Stones and Stained Glass Windows," Project, 1977-1980, (C3723)
7.1 cubic feet
Statewide documentation of local churches by county. Includes cultural arts reports, church histories, floor plans, architectural details, clippings, slides, photographs, and miscellany.

Missouri Place Names Study, 1927-1928 (C3459)
0.6 linear feet
Correspondence, term papers, and information collected by graduate students at the University of Missouri during a study of the origin and history of place names in forty-two Missouri counties.

Missouri, St. Joseph. Public Schools Certificate, 1869, (C1987)
1 folder
Promotion to second grade of Willie Gillmore.

Missouri, St. Joseph, Urban Renewal Project, 1952-1982, (C4170)
0.6 cubic feet (22 folders)
Correspondence, maps, clippings, architectural drawings, and economic data concerning urban renewal in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Mitchell, Ewing Young, Jr. (1873-1954), Papers, 1840-1949 (C1041)
0.4 linear feet
Papers of a Springfield, Missouri, lawyer active in Democratic Party politics, who served as assistant secretary of commerce in Franklin Roosevelt's first administration. Material concerns family affairs, law practice with emphasis on county indebtedness, Ozark land speculation, and Democratic politics on the state and national levels.

Morrow, Lynn, Papers, (R1000)
21 cubic feet (964 folders, 4 oversize)
The papers of Lynn Morrow contain correspondence and research papers, with an additional significant collection of late twentieth-century promotional and advertising items. The papers reflect major areas of Morrow’s research on the southwest Missouri region; Iron, Shannon, and Washington counties; Theodore Pease Russell and his writings; and the writings of Silas C. Turnbo. The collection also includes a large selection of promotional publications and ephemera associated with late 20th century tourism in Missouri and Arkansas.


National Park Service, Missouri Historic Sites, Photographs, (P0214)
0.16 linear feet
Photos of historic sites and properties in Missouri, especially St. Joseph.

Nielsen, Martin C. (1875-1960) Architectural Collection, ca. 1940s-1950s, (K0415)
3.13 cubic feet
The collection contains forty-nine architectural drawings, in the Gothic Revival styles of architecture, primarily of residences in Kansas City, Kansas, built by Martin C. Nielsen, a local builder. Plans were drawn by various architects in the surrounding area with a few dated between 1940 and 1942. The collection also contains specifications for residences, general condition for residences, description of building materials, and some miscellaneous items pertaining to Martin Nielsen.

Northwest Missouri State Park Committee, Developmental Proposal, 1925, (C4321)
1 volume
Promotional book of letters, descriptions, blueprint and photographs presenting the merits of Lanowa Park in Buchanan and Andrew counties in order to petition the Missouri State Park Commission to establish it as a Missouri State Park.


Obear, Bryan (1855- ), Collection, 1911-1918, (C1387)
0.4 linear feet
Biographical sketches, reminiscences, and photographs of the Obear, Bryan and McIlvaine families compiled by Bryan Obear. Also includes brief biographies and photographs of Sloman Browne and Charles G. McHatton.

Overland Mail Centennial Scrapbook, 1958, (C3457)
1 volume
Clippings, photographs, brochures, and miscellaneous records which marked the hundredth anniversary of the first overland stage route in the U.S.

Owens, Herbert A., Papers, (CA5977)
4 folders
Tax receipts, abstracts, financial records, insurance papers, and business correspondence of the St. Joseph, Missouri resident. Dating from the 1880s through 1940s.


Patee, John, Deed, 1860, (C1868)
1 folder
Deed of John Patee to Bela M. Hughes of the Pony Express stable sites in St. Joseph, MO, May 5, 1860. From the Buchanan County, MO, recorder's office.

Patee, John, Lease, 1864, (C1983)
1 folder
Lease to Ed Russell for land in St. Joseph, MO.

Pony Express, Commemorative Envelope, 1950, (C1883)
1 folder
The papers contain an envelope addressed to Floyd C. Shoemaker on the 90th anniversary of the Pony Express, St. Joseph to Sacramento.

Pope, Elizabeth Lar, (1773- ), Letter, 1875, (C1627)
1 folder
To Daniel Sullivan, St. Joseph, MO, from Plattsburg, MO, Aug. 16, 1875. Mrs. Pope regretted she could not attend the Old Settlers' reunion. Sketch of her life; early settlers in Kentucky; Daniel Boone and Abraham Lincoln; and Indian difficulties in Kentucky.

Porter, H.V., Postcard Collection, (P0464)
1 folder
Postcards of St. Joseph and Glasgow, Missouri.

Presbytery of Missouri, Minutes, 1920-1943, (C1353)
0.2 linear feet
The records contain official copies of minutes of the Presbytery of Missouri. Minutes for 1920-1939 are bound; others are in pamphlet form.

Presbytery of Missouri Records, 1817-1920, (C1354)
1.4 linear feet, 6 oversize volumes
The records of the Presbytery of Missouri contain minutes, reports, and other records of an organization composed of ministers and representative elders of Presbyterian churches in Missouri. Volumes 1-6 have been microfilmed. Volume 7 is available onsite. See also collection C1353.


Ramsay Place Names File 1928-1945, (C2366)
12 cubic feet
Card file of origins of Missouri place names, compiled by students of Robert L. Ramsay, University of Missouri professor of English.

Rice, Mr. and Mrs. Harry, Postcard Collection, (P0497)
18 postcards
Postcards of Missouri scenes: St. Joseph, Gallatin, Lebanon, Slater, Maryville, Branson, Jefferson City, Sedalia, St. Louis, and Kansas City.

Riordan, John J., Papers, (C4383)
2.4 cubic feet (55 folders, 81 photographs)
The John J. Riordan Papers document the World War I military career of a veterinary officer, his long and distinguished career as a professional veterinarian in Tarkio, Missouri, and his efforts to record his wartime experiences through the writing of his memoir, Horses, Mules and Remounts: The World War I Memoir of a Veterinary Officer. The book, published in California, was marketed by John F. Riordan, the author’s son. The collection covers the period 1917 to 1990 and includes personal correspondence, photographs, business papers, and multiple drafts of Riordan’s memoir as it evolved into its final form. The collection is notable for Riordan’s unique perspective on the war from the point of view of a veterinary officer. Of interest is a photograph featuring General John J. Pershing and several other high ranking generals as they review 40,000 troops in 1919. The papers have been organized chronologically.

Robert H. Blackburn Papers, (K1367)
0.1 cubic foot (5 folders, 18 photographs, oversize)
The Robert H. Blackburn Papers contain materials related to Southwest High School in Kansas City, Missouri, materials about Hallmark Cards, and photographs of Kansas City Royals baseball players.

Roberts, Annie Louise, Papers, (CA5976)
3 folders
Court documents, insurance papers, abstracts, and financial papers of the St. Joseph, Missouri resident, dating to the 1910s.

Robidoux, Joseph, Deed, 1851, (C1986)
1 folder
Deed for land in St, Joseph, MO.

Rupe, James F., Collection, 1885-1943, (C3463)
0.8 cubic feet
Records of Dr. James F. Rupe of Clay County, Missouri, including ledgers; account books, Paradise, Missouri, Christian Church treasurer's books; two warranty deeds; and four diplomas, including his diploma from medical college in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1886, and photographs.


Schwake, Sara Gibson, Postcard Collection, (P0040)
46 postcards
Missouri postcards, including views of Kansas City, St. Joseph, St. Louis, Independence, ice flows on the Mississippi River, and the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition.

Skinner, Mrs. Bradley, Postcard Collection, (P0549)
38 postcards
Postcards, the bulk of which depict Higginsville and Odessa. Additional postcards of St. Louis, Butler, Central Methodist University, Schell City, Joplin, and St. Joseph.

Smith, Nancy K., Postcard Collection, (P0029)
268 postcards
Postcards, all views of hospitals and clinics and some sanitariums across Missouri.

Soren, Noelle Louise, Papers, (K0525)
3.84 cubic feet (260 folders, 4 rolled items)
The papers contain research notes, photographs, correspondence, architectural drawings, and other materials related to Noelle Soren's research into the theater building careers of Carl and Robert Boller, known as the Boller Brothers. The results of her research culminated into her two-volume book, Windows to Wonderland: The Cinespace Creations of the Boller Brothers, Architects.

Spencer, George A. (1906-1997), Papers, 1931-1963, (C2466)
4.6 cubic feet
Correspondence, publicity, and legislative papers of a Boone County, MO, Democrat. Spencer's election campaigns and positions as city attorney, prosecuting attorney, and state representative and senator, and candidacy for Democratic nomination for attorney general. Activities of the Columbia, MO, Chamber of Commerce.

St. Joseph Auditorium Company Share, 1904, (C1981)
1 folder
Share issued to James Knotts.

St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, Photographs, (P0469)
4 photographs
Photos of St. Joseph by L.C. Shady, ca. 1930.

St. Joseph Lead Company, Photographs, (P0893)
5 photographs
Photos of Aptus Furnace and reenactment of early lead mining methods.

St. Joseph Typographical Union No. 40, St. Joseph, Missouri, Records, 1905-1991, (C4272)
4.0 cubic feet (98 folders), 3 oversize items
The records of St. Joseph Typographical Union No. 40 consist of correspondence, meeting minutes, contracts and agreements, convention materials, financial records and miscellaneous materials of a printers' trade union.

State of Missouri Collection, (P0018)
486 photographs
Over 400 original photos created for the 1904 publication on Missouri at the time of the World's Fair by Walter Williams; shows all aspects and counties in Missouri.


Tate, James A., (1795-1849), Diary, 1849, (C2720)
1 folder
Travel by wagon train to California gold mines. Diary records agricultural conditions, mileage, and travel conditions. Few place names or comments. Little mention of the gold rush itself. Biographical material in information folder. See also collection 174, Tate, Family Papers, 1786-1871.

Thompson, Meriwether Jeff (1826-1876), Bulletin, 1857, (C3208)
1 folder
Bulletin listing city and county property that M. Jeff Thompson, general land agent at St. Joseph, MO, will sell or trade, 1 April 1857.

Travel Account of Journey from Indiana to Washington, ca. 1850, (C3415)
1 folder
The collection contains a copy of an unidentified woman's account of the journey from Indiana to Washington. The copy was made about 1925-1930 and includes a record of the weather, environment, illnesses, encounters with Indians, territory covered each day, lists of provisions, and charges and expenses kept by George Royse.


U.S. Selective Service System, Missouri, Records, 1917-1918, (C2681)
445 folders negative Photostats, 8.7 cubic feet
Lists of persons by county and district selective service boards whose cards were held by those boards. Arranged alphabetically by county.

U.S. Work Projects Administration, "Church Bibliography, Baptist Bodies of Missouri, Associational Minutes," 1941, (C1312)
1 volume
The collection contains a list of the various Baptist associations in Missouri and the dates for which their records are in existence.

U.S. Work Projects Administration, Historical Records Survey, Missouri, 1935-1942, (C3551)
302 linear feet; also available on 817 rolls of microfilm
Correspondence, records, and working files. Originally designed to survey and inventory all county government records, the survey finally included inventories of church records, manuscript collections, vital statistics, American imprints, and federal archives. Incorporates records of the Federal Writers Project for Missouri.


Welshmeyer, Brother Joe, Photograph Collection, (P0471)
4 photographs
Photos of Ukrainian churches in St. Francois, St. Joseph, and Ilasco.

Wisconsin Company of Gold Seekers, Roster, 1849, (C3512)
1 folder
The papers contain a list of 26 men who left St. Joseph, Missouri, on 19 April 1849 to seek gold in California.

Wilson, Walter E., Scrapbooks, 1942-1969, (CA6473)
0.9 cubic feet
Two scrapbooks compiled by a resident of St. Joseph, Missouri, documenting his career in the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Volume 2 includes a 1930 photograph of the crowd and burning school building at the lynching of Raymond Gunn in Maryville which Wilson witnessed. The event inspired him to go into law enforcement.

Withers, Ethel Massie, Scrapbook, ca. 1916, (C1440)
0.3 linear feet
The Ethel Massie Withers Scrapbook is an album of photographic copies of lantern slides used to illustrate the Missouri Daughters of the American Revolution lecture, Pioneering in Missouri, 1916. The scrapbook also includes a copy of the lecture, written by Ethel Massie Withers, with explanations of the photographs. The lantern slides are located in the Editorial Department of the State Historical Society of Missouri.