Newspaper Collection

Beginning with the July 26, 1808, issue of the St. Louis Missouri Gazette, SHSMO’s newspaper collection offers researchers a wealth of information about the day-to-day lives of Missourians and the political, cultural, economic, and religious events that have influenced them. The newspaper collection, with titles ranging from rural publications to large metropolitan dailies, now includes more than 72 million pages preserved on microfilm. The dynamic collection continues to grow, with some two hundred current newspapers, from every Missouri county, collected each week

Accessing the Newspaper Collection

The physical newspaper collection is primarily housed at the Columbia Research Center, but newspaper microfilm can be viewed at all SHSMO research centers upon request. If you are planning to visit an SHSMO research center, please submit a research request to ensure the microfilm you'd like to view can be transferred to your preferred center and will be available on the dates of your visit.

Digital Newspapers

The State Historical Society of Missouri is pleased to present a growing collection of digitized historic newspapers. These images are freely available to the public and are keyword-searchable.

Focused on merging meaningful historic content with innovative modern technology, the State Historical Society of Missouri employs the highest national digitization standards: newspapers in our collection are digitized to National Digital Newspaper Program specifications.  Many of Missouri’s digital newspapers are also available through the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America site, which ultimately aims to include newspaper pages from all states and U.S. territories in its collection.

View Digital Newspapers

Newspapers on Microfilm

The State Historical Society of Missouri has over 58,000 reels of newspapers on microfilm available to researchers. Titles can be browsed by county or town by clicking the button below.

View Newspapers on Microfilm

Newspaper Indexes

The State Historical Society holds many newspaper indexes in the collection.  An electronic index to selected Missouri newspapers is available for researchers to locate information about people and topics throughout Missouri.

View the Index to Selected Missouri Newspapers

Research Requests and Interlibrary Loan Service

For researchers who would like to complete research remotely, interlibrary and direct loan services are available for microfilm. You can also submit a request for research services and a research center staff member will assist you with your research for a fee.

Submit a Research Request


Newspaper Collection History

The collection and preservation of Missouri newspapers has been a primary mission of the State Historical Society since its founding by members of the Missouri Press Association who, in 1898, saw a need to establish a repository for Missouri's heritage of newspapers. SHSMO collection now comprises over forty-one million pages and is the largest collection of state newspapers in the nation. Since the late 1930s, SHSMO has pursued an active program of preservation microfilming. SHSMO regularly films all currently received newspapers now totaling nearly 300 titles. In addition to microfilming present-day newspapers, SHMSO remains active in locating and preserving old newspapers.

The United States Newspaper Program (USNP), a national program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and administered by the NEH and Library of Congress, was created in 1973. Designed to locate, catalog and preserve the three hundred years of extant newspapers published in the United States, the program is being accomplished on a state-by-state basis. A primary objective of the project is to create a national database in OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) that will enable institutions and researchers to access and maintain accurate, up-to-date information on newspapers.

Because the historical aims of SHSMO coincided so well with USNP goals, SHSMO became involved in the Missouri portion of the project. From 1987 to 1994, SHSMO was a cosponsor of the Missouri Newspaper Project (MNP) in a cooperative effort with the University of Missouri-Kansas City Miller Nichols Library. Over these years the staff of the Newspaper Library and the staff of the MNP located, cataloged, borrowed and microfilmed "lost" newspapers from around the state. As a result of SHSMO's joint sponsorship of MNP, its collection of Missouri newspapers received a great "boost," allowing the Newspaper Library to preserve 236,000 additional pages of print issues of old Missouri newspapers. These are a veritable "treasure trove" of formerly unavailable resources for local historical research.

Although the Missouri Newspaper Project ended in 1994, the State Historical Society continues to actively search for old Missouri newspapers, borrow them and preserve the contents on microfilm for future researchers. Persons with holdings of old Missouri newspapers who would be willing to lend them for microfilming are encouraged to contact us.

The collection will also continue to serve as a depository for publishers and editors of contemporary Missouri newspapers. Nearly 300 different newspapers - at least one from each of the 114 Missouri counties - currently provide complimentary subscriptions to SHSMO. SHSMO gratefully salutes the visionary journalists who recognize today's newspapers as a resource for tomorrow's history.