State Historical Society of Missouri Awarded Federal Grant to Increase Access to Congressional Papers

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission has awarded the State Historical Society of Missouri a grant to organize, describe, and make available four collections of Missouri congressional papers, including U.S. Representatives Dewey Short and Bill Emerson and U.S. Senators John Danforth and Thomas Eagleton. Archivists will process over 918 cubic feet of papers, electronic records, photographs, and audio-visual materials.

The federal grant will allow for digitization of some portions of the collections.  The grant award of $347,612 requires that the State Historical Society contribute $120,487 to the nearly half-million-dollar project. The papers of Short, Emerson, Danforth, and Eagleton span almost 100 years of Missouri history from 1912-2010 and provide valuable insights into national and regional events and issues, according to Laura Jolley, assistant director, manuscripts, at the State Historical Society.

“Congressional papers are critical to our understanding of political and cultural shifts, and they explain the priorities, concerns, and needs of governmental entities as well as of constituents,” said Jolley. “The processing of the congressional papers will make it easier for researchers and the public to discover the history recorded within them.”

The grant cycle for the congressional archival project continues through 2025. Once these papers are fully processed, scholars will be able to navigate the collections and better understand the interactions of the state and its people with national political trends and points of view. The State Historical Society of Missouri is the depository for the papers of U.S. senators and representatives after they leave office. Many of these records, some dating back to early statehood, contain letters, travel logs, speeches, and diaries of political figures elected to represent Missouri. To learn more, visit Collections of the State Historical Society are available to the public at six research centers in Columbia, St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Rolla, Springfield, and Kansas City. The State Historical Society’s headquarters is in Columbia.