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. Available in 1,270 bound volumes and on over 58 million pages of microfilm, these Missouri newspapers document events and public opinion from the state’s rural environs to its largest metropolitan areas. A dynamic collection, some three hundred current newspapers, from every Missouri county, are added to the collection each week.
Accessing the Newspaper Collection
A growing collection of digitized historic newspapers is available online through the Missouri Digital Newspaper Project.
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.
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.
Missouri Digital Newspaper Project
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.
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.
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:
|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|
|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 fifty-six 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: email@example.com.
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.
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.