Agriculture Research Guide

Articles in the Missouri Historical Review

Historic Missourian Biographies

The Society’s Historic Missourians website contains biographies of a number of significant farmers, horticulturalists, and agricultural scientists who lived in Missouri.

  • George Washington Carver - George Washington Carver was a world-famous chemist who made important agricultural discoveries and inventions. His research on peanuts, sweet potatoes, and other products helped poor southern farmers vary their crops and improve their diets.

  • James Beauchamp Clark - James Beauchamp “Champ” Clark was a prominent Democratic politician from Missouri. Clark served in the U.S. House of Representatives for twenty-six years. As a politician, he supported agrarian interests over corporate interests.

  • Frederick Victor Heinkel - Fred V. Heinkel was president of the Missouri Farmers Association from 1940 to 1979. Throughout his life, he worked on behalf of farmers in Missouri and the United States.

  • Henry Kirklin - Henry Kirklin was a former slave who became a prize-winning gardener and horticulturalist. Kirklin taught at the Bartlett Agricultural and Industrial School, later known as the Dalton Institute, in Chariton County, Missouri. Kirklin also lectured and demonstrated horticultural techniques at county fairs and in African American schools on behalf of the Missouri State Board of Agriculture.

  • Jerry L. Litton - Jerry L. Litton was a successful rancher, US congressman, and candidate for the US Senate in 1976 before losing his life in a plane crash that also killed his family.

  • Curtis Fletcher Marbut - Dr. Curtis Fletcher Marbut was a university professor and a pioneer in modern soil science. His work contributed to advancements in soil classification, agriculture, and geography.

  • James Sidney Rollins - James Sidney Rollins was president of the board of curators of the University of Missouri for nearly twenty-five years until his retirement in 1886. He played a vital role in the founding, location, growth, and development of the university and its agricultural college.

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder - Laura Ingalls Wilder is one of the most influential children’s authors in American history. Her vibrant retelling of episodes from her childhood in the classic Little House historical fiction series helped shape the popular idea of the American frontier. Laura was also famous for her farming skills, and it was through her agricultural career that Laura got a start in writing. In 1911 Laura wrote several articles about farm life for the Missouri Ruralist.

  • Margaret Bush Wilson - Margaret Bush Wilson was a St. Louis lawyer, civil rights activist, and an attorney for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Electrification Administration.

Manuscripts

The State Historical Society of Missouri’s manuscript collections include a wealth of materials pertaining to various aspects of agriculture. These collections include papers of individual farmers; records of family and corporate farms, co-ops, sales and service companies of farm implements, and farm product marketing groups and organizations; and personal and professional papers of foresters, horticulturalists, and others involved in the study and research of agriculture. The collections provide information on subjects such as the use of fertilizers and pesticides, as well as irrigation and soil quality.

View All Agriculture Manuscript Collections

Maps

Plat Maps of Missouri - County plat books or atlases contain descriptions of land owners and landmarks. Utilizing the Public Land Survey System, each map is divided into township, range, and sections. Landowners are identified, and landmarks such as churches, cemeteries, and schools are sometimes included. Many plat books contain a brief county history and a directory of county residents. The State Historical Society of Missouri's plat map collection is available on digital.shsmo.org. The online collection contains plat maps of Missouri counties published between 1875 and 1917. Additional plat maps are available for research at the State Historical Society of Missouri.

Newspapers

The Society maintains collections of several newspapers highlighting Missouri’s agricultural heritage. These papers, aimed at farmers and their families, featured information, education, and entertainment. Most of the agricultural newspapers in the collection were published from the 1880s to the 1950s. The decline in family farming in Missouri negatively impacted the publication of agricultural newspapers. There are no newspapers categorized as agricultural in the Society’s collection dated after 1979.

Two newspapers, the Missouri and Arkansas Farmer and Fruitman and the Missouri and Kansas Farmer, promoted the settlement of southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas, and northwest Arkansas. Established in the 1880s, these newspapers printed testimonials from settlers and visitors about the area’s rich agricultural promise.

Other agricultural newspapers promoted improved farming methods. Columns devoted to livestock and poultry raising, dairying, horticulture, and row crops described characteristics of stock breeds and encouraged farmers to rotate crops and pack fruit properly for shipping. Pages for farm wives provided recipes and dress patterns as well as letters received from readers. The St. Joseph Stockyards Journal included detailed information about the selling prices and number of livestock brought to the city’s stockyards.

The content of agricultural newspapers evolved during the twentieth century. The South Central Ozarks Farmer, a supplement to the Mountain Grove Journal and Cabool Enterprise during the 1970s, expressed concern about the increasing number of corporate farms. In 1974 the publisher attended a consumer/farmer relations institute that examined, “The great middle ground that lies between the farmer and the supermarket grocery cart.”

For a list of all digitized newspapers, visit the Missouri Digital Newspaper Project.

For a list of newspapers on microfilm at the State Historical Society of Missouri, visit the newspaper catalog.

Agricultural Newspapers in SHSMO Holdings

County City Title Also Available On Date Range
Adair Kirksville Adair County Farmer Microfilm 1891-1894
Buchanan St. Joseph Journal of Livestock & Agriculture Microfilm 1969-1978
Buchanan St. Joseph Journal of Livestock and Agriculture Microfilm 1963-1966
Buchanan St. Joseph St. Joseph Journal of Livestock & Agriculture Microfilm 1973-1974
Buchanan St. Joseph St. Joseph Journal of Livestock and Agriculture Microfilm 1978-1986
Buchanan St. Joseph St. Joseph Stock Yards Journal Microfilm 1950-1954
Buchanan St. Joseph Stock Yards Daily Journal Microfilm 1904-1906
Buchanan St. Joseph Stock Yards Journal Microfilm 1940-1949
Caldwell Hamilton Farmer’s Advocate Microfilm 1893-1906
Caldwell Hamilton Hamilton Farmer’s Advocate Microfilm 1890-1893; 1901-1919
Cape Girardeau Jackson Jackson, Mercury, and Cape Girardeau Farmer Microfilm December 31, 1831
Carroll Dewitt Carroll Farmer’s Herald Microfilm 1901-1934
Jackson Kansas City Kansas City Weekly Journal and Missouri and Kansas Farmer Microfilm 1920-1923
Jackson Kansas City Missouri & Arkansas Farmer and Fruitman Microfilm 1896-1906
Jackson Kansas City Missouri and Kansas Farmer Microfilm 1884-1919
Jackson Kansas City Weekly Star Farmer Microfilm 1952-1961
Madison Fredericktown Farmer and Miner Microfilm March 18, 1876
Perry Perryville Mid America Farmer Grower Microfilm 1988-2014
Perry Perryville MidAmerica Farmer Microfilm 1987-1988
Perry Perryville MidAmerica Regional Farmer Microfilm 1987
Scotland Memphis Farmers’ Union Microfilm 1891-1895
Shelby Clarence Farmer’s Favorite Microfilm 1899-1901
Taney Forsyth Pioneer Farmer Microfilm June 2, 1876
Wright Mountain Grove Mountain Grove South Central Ozarks Farmer Microfilm 1974-1979
  St. Louis Farmers’ & Mechanics’ Advocate Microfilm 1834-1835
  St. Louis Farm Progress Microfilm 1908-1912
  St. Louis Journal of Agriculture and Farmer Microfilm 1876-1886
  St. Louis St. Louis Midland Farmer Microfilm July 1876
  St. Louis St. Louis Union Stockyard Journal Microfilm 1901

Photographs

Digital Collections

A selection of farming and agricultural photographs are available online:

Highlighted Collection