Polk County Manuscript Collections

Polk County was organized in 1835. The county seat is Bolivar (pronounced BALL-uh-ver). These collections deal in some manner with Polk 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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Acock, Robert E. (c. 1799-1861), Papers, 1838-1866, (C4101)
0.1 cubic feet
The papers of Robert E. Acock contain correspondence, a Polk County plat, and legal papers pertaining to the Acock and Robinson families of Polk County, Missouri.

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."

American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Missouri, Papers, 1973-1977, (C4259)
0.4 cubic feet (19 folders)
The papers contain letters, notes, scrapbooks, programs, events and some photographs which focused on the American Bicentennial, which was celebrated by a number of Missouri counties in 1976.


Barnes, Sarah Holcomb Randleman, Reminiscence, 1909, (C3167)
1 folder
The collection contains an account of pioneer life in Dallas and Polk Counties, MO.

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

Bolin, Cassinda Bolin Papers (R1388)
0.01 cubic feet (1 folder)
The Cassinda Bolin Papers contains photocopies of correspondence and inscriptions found in the personal Bible of Cassinda Bolin.

Bolivar Board of Trade, Bolivar, Missouri, Membership Certificate, 1887, (R1178)
1 folder
This is a Certificate of Membership, dated 11 July 1887, for J. H. Affleck in the Bolivar Board of Trade at Bolivar in Polk County, Missouri. The certificate is signed by T. H. B. Dunnegan, president, and A. J. Hunter, secretary.

Bolivar Creamery Company, Record Book, 1889-1892, (R0411)
1 folder, photocopies
This collection includes the articles of association, certificate of incorporation, and minutes of meetings of directors and stockholders of the Bolivar Creamery Company in Bolivar, Polk County, Missouri, 1889-1891. Also included are records of a subsequent firm, the Bolivar Milk Company, organized in 1892.

Bolivar Ministerial Alliance, Polk County Churches: An Historical Perspective, 1985, (R0778)
1 booklet
This is an historical survey of religious congregations in Polk County, Missouri, "published by the Bolivar Ministerial Alliance upon request from the Polk County Historical Society."

Bushnell, Douglas Ritchie, Letters, 1861-1866, (R0675)
1 folder, photocopies
These are the letters of an officer of the 13th Illinois Infantry, written during campaigns in Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. Bushnell was killed in action at Ringgold, Georgia, in November 1863. There are also a few letters from his wife, Emily, and other correspondents.


Farmers and Merchants Bank, Humansville, Missouri, Minute Books, 1901-1932, (R0407)
2 volumes
These are minutes of monthly meetings of the Board of Directors of the Farmers and Merchants Bank in Humansville, Polk County, Missouri. The minutes include certifications of elections of directors, appointments of officers, lists of past due loans and overdrawn accounts, and reports of state bank examiners.

Freemasons, Bolivar Lodge No. 195, Bolivar, Missouri, Collection, 1889-1957, (R0756)
1 folder
These are directories, calendars, bylaws, and calling cards for the Masonic organizations at Bolivar in Polk County, Missouri. Included are officers' directories for 1889 and 1900, membership booklets for 1950, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1959, and 1960, bylaws for 1956, and five calling cards.


Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Missouri, Aldrich Post No. 536, Records, 1892-1897, (C3529)
4 folders
The records contain a list of members and their service records, minutes of meetings, and cash expenditures of a post in Aldrich, Polk County, Missouri.

Gravely, Ralph, Scrapbook, (P0856)
49 photographs
Copy photos from scrapbook of Gravely, manager of Bolivar Free Press. Includes photos of Gravely family, Bolivar, and the University of Missouri.

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.


Hunter Family, Letters, 1864-1880, (R0469)
1 folder, photocopies, typescripts
This is correspondence of the Hunter and Hagler families of Jasper, Lawrence, and Polk counties in Missouri. The letters were written by Elizabeth Hunter and her daughters, Priscilla A. Hunter and Charlotte Elizabeth (Hunter) Hagler, and were addressed to another daughter, Margaret (Hunter) Newberry. Topics include news of family and friends, turmoil during the Civil War, farm life, and religious matters.


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.

Jamieson, A.J., Letter, 1851, (C2707)
1 folder
To William P. Hubbard, Somerville, Two Mile Prairie, Boone County, MO, from Bolivar, MO, May 8, 1851. Discusses his religious philosophy, family, and personal affairs.


Kansas City, Fort Scott, and Memphis Railroad Company, Booklet, ca. 1890s, (R1071)
1 folder
This is Snap Shots in South Missouri, a promotional booklet to encourage land sales along the Kansas City, Fort Scott, and Memphis, and Kansas City, Clinton and Springfield railroads in Missouri. The area is presented as ideal for fruit-culture and raising livestock.


Lawrence County Historical Society, Missouri, Baptist association minutes, 1882-1933, (R0644)
15 folders
These are printed minutes of annual meetings of Primitive Baptist associations in Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio, and Oklahoma. The most complete series are for the Center Creek and Ozark associations of Missouri. The minutes include the proceedings of the associations, lists of churches, officers, and representatives, the articles of faith and rules of decorum, and correspondence with other associations.

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.


Missouri Federation of Women's Clubs, Sixth District, Secretary's Record Book, 1932-1943, (R1175)
1 volume
These are the secretary's minutes of the annual meetings of the Sixth District, Missouri Federation of Women's Clubs. The record book includes minutes of the twenty-ninth through fortieth annual meetings, 1932-1943.

Missouri Forestry, Records, 1929-1994, (R1341)
2.25 cubic feet (53 folders)
The records of Missouri Forestry contain materials from the administration of directors George O. White (1938-1960), Osal B. Capps (1960-1977), and Jerry Presley (1977-1986). This includes materials related to Smokey Bear, fire safety, and the promotion of science, practice, and standards of forestry.

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.


Old Path Association of Baptist Churches, Missouri, minutes of annual meetings, 1896-1949, (R0646)
4 folders
These are minutes of annual sessions of the Old Path Association of Baptist Churches in Benton, Hickory, Polk, and St. Clair counties in Missouri. Included are minutes of the meetings, the articles of faith, rules of decorum, lists of churches, officers, and representatives, statistical information, and correspondence with other associations.

Osage River Regular Baptist Association, Minutes, 1847, (R0285)
1 folder
These are minutes of the meeting in 1847 of the Osage River Association, which was composed of Baptist churches in Benton, Camden, Polk, and Webster counties in Missouri. The minutes include lists of churches and delegates to the meeting, a summary of the association's business, and an "Abstract of Principles."

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.

Ozark Association of Primitive Baptists, Missouri, Minutes, 1904-1941, (R0995)
1 folder
These are published minutes of annual sessions of the Ozark Association of Primitive Baptists, which consisted of member congregations in Dallas, Greene, Polk, Webster, and Wright counties in Missouri. Minutes are available for meetings in 1904, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, and 1941.


Pleasant Hope Community Fair, Booklet, 1936, (R0947)
1 folder
This is the "Catalog and Premium List" for the Fourteenth Annual Pleasant Hope Community Fair, also called the Pleasant Hope Educational and Agricultural Fair. The event was held on 5-7 November 1936 at Pleasant Hope in Polk County, Missouri.

Jennings, Elisha Middleton, Civil War Letters, 1863, (C2619)
1 folder
The papers contain eight letters Jennings wrote to his fiancée while stationed at Corinth, Mississippi.

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.

Ruyle, William A., Letter, ca. 1864, (R0033)
41 pages, typescript
This is a transcript of a long letter from Ruyle to his father, describing his wartime experiences with the 5th Regiment, Missouri Infantry (Confederate), 1862-1864. It includes accounts of the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern (Pea Ridge), Arkansas, and events prior to the surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi.


Sellers Family Photographs, (P0574)
4 photographs
Photos of the Sellers family and farm near Bolivar, MO, ca. 1900.

Simón Bolívar Memorial Foundation, Commemorative Program, 1948, (R0775)
1 booklet
This is a souvenir commemorative program for the dedication of a statue of Simón Bolívar at Bolivar in Polk County, Missouri, on 5 July 1948. The Presidents of the United States and Venezuela attended the ceremony.

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.

Southwest Missouri Resource Conservation and Development Records, (SP0009)
28 cubic feet (851 folders, 1 oversize)
The records consist of the financial documents, correspondence, project notes and publications pertaining to the operation of the non-profit environmental organization known as Southwest Missouri Resource Conservation and Development.

St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company, Records, 1859-1980, (R0362)
635 items in 56 cartons
These are corporate minutes and financial account books, and other records of the St. Louis-San Francisco ("Frisco") Railway Company (1916-1980) and predecessor, subsidiary, and constituent companies, most notably the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway (1876-1896) and the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad (1896-1916). The "Frisco" operated in Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. It became part of the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1980.

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.


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.

Upton, Lucile Morris (1898-1992), Papers, 1855-1986, (C3869)
1 linear foot; 25 rolls of microfilm; 1 video cassette
The personal and professional papers of a Springfield, Missouri, journalist and writer consisting of newspaper clippings, correspondence, research notes, manuscripts, pamphlets, photographs and scrapbooks. The papers are especially strong in the history of Springfield and the Ozarks region, and in Ozark folklore.


Vinton, Samuel Spencer, Collection, 1864-1939, (R0819)
2 folders
This is a freight receipt book of Samuel Spencer Vinton (1828-1890), and a reminiscence by his son, Samuel Spencer Vinton (1857-1951). The receipt book reflects a freighting business from Sedalia to southwestern Missouri, 1864-1865. The reminiscence, written in 1939, concerns life around Springfield, Missouri, circa 1875-1890.


Wobus, Paul A., Papers, 1918-1989, (R0008)
52 folders, 89 notebooks
The Rev. Paul A. Wobus was born in St. Charles, Missouri, on 14 February 1893. His father, Reinhard Wobus, was pastor of the Evangelical Church there. Paul Wobus died on 11 December 1982 in Concordia, Missouri.

Woodard, James Washington, (SP0048)
0.01 cubic feet (2 folders)
James Washington Woodard’s Civil War letters recount the horror of war, camp life, the fate of comrades at the battles of Corinth and Vicksburg, and the movements of General Sterling Price’s army as they evacuated Missouri in 1862 and 1863.  The collection consists of six letters written by a Confederate Lieutenant serving in Company D, 5th Missouri Infantry, 1st Brigade.   Also included is a document dealing with an 1867 property transfer from his wife’s family, the Lemmons, to his widow.

World War I Collection, 1917-1921, (C3223)
1.4 cubic feet
Clippings largely from Kansas City and St. Louis, MO, newspapers regarding World War I soldiers from Missouri; the 35th, 89th, and Rainbow Divisions; and the Red Cross and hospital work. Also includes political cartoons, war statistics, and county casualty lists.