Business and Industry Research Guide

Missouri’s first entrepreneurs were in frontier occupations such as fur trading, but as the territory grew and became a state, other industries spread across the region, particularly agriculture and mining. Merchants and millworks also played a large role in the lives of Missourians as the state developed. Missouri eventually featured a diverse mix of rural and urban enterprises across a wide range of industries. Some examples within the Society’s collections include the papers of Henry W. Bloch, cofounder of H&R Block; the T.J. Moss Tie Company records, which contain company correspondence pertaining to the manufacture and sale of railroad ties; and the business records of the Aull family, which owned stores in western Missouri in the early nineteenth century that catered to merchants, farmers, and pioneers setting out on the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails.

For material specifically concerning agriculture, architecture, engineering, labor, and mining, please see the research guides for those subjects.

Articles in the Missouri Historical Review

Catalog

Many of the State Historical Society’s holdings are included in Merlin, the shared library catalog of the four University of Missouri campuses. The State Historical Society holds numerous books and periodicals on the history of business and industry in Missouri. The broadest subject terms to search under are "Business" and "Industries." For a more specific search, simply add the town or county you are interested in to the search, such as "Columbia."

Historic Missourian Biographies

The Society’s Historic Missourians website contains biographies of a number of significant entrepreneurs and business owners who lived in or grew up in Missouri.

Manuscripts

The State Historical Society of Missouri's manuscript collections include the papers of business and corporate leaders; records of business organizations; and records of institutions, stores, and companies.

View All Business Manuscript Collections

Newspapers

Business newspaper publications throughout Missouri’s history have helped to share and spread the word of important news for a variety of industries including farming, agriculture, mining, and more.

The Kansas City Daily Journal of Commerce, for example, was known for advocating growth and improvements in the city, including building railroads. Another publication, The Farmers’ Union, a weekly newspaper published in Memphis, Scotland County, Missouri, was a Populist journal that supported the Farmers' and Laborers' Union in northeast Missouri. The first edition of the Farmers’ Union appeared on February 5, 1891.

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.

Business Newspapers in SHSMO Holdings

 

County City Title Also Available On Date Range
Adair Kirksville Adair County Farmer Microfilm 1891-1894
Boone Columbia Columbia Business Times Microfilm 1994-2011
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
Greene Springfield Greater Springfield Business Journal Microfilm 1990-1993
Greene Springfield Springfield Labor Record Microfilm 1979-1985
Greene Springfield Springfield Laborer Microfilm 1916-1917
Jackson Kansas City Daily Journal of Commerce Microfilm 1861; 1867-1878
Jackson Kansas City Daily Kansas City Journal of Commerce Microfilm 1859-1860
Jackson Kansas City Daily Kansas City Western [sic] Journal of Commerce Microfilm 1860-1861
Jackson Kansas City Daily Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce Microfilm 1862-1863
Jackson Kansas City Daily Western Journal of Commerce Microfilm 1861
Jackson Kansas City Journal of Commerce Microfilm 1864-1865
Jackson Kansas City Kansas City Daily Journal of Commerce Microfilm 1863-1867
Jackson Kansas City Kansas City Daily Western Journal of Commerce Microfilm 1858-1859
Jackson Kansas City Kansas City Labor Microfilm 1895
Jackson Kansas City Kansas City Labor News Microfilm 1924-1938
Jackson Kansas City Kansas City Weekly Journal and Missouri and Kansas Farmer Microfilm 1920-1923
Jackson Kansas City Labor Herald Microfilm 1904-1940
Jackson Kansas City Labor Journal Microfilm 1942-1962
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 Journal of Commerce Microfilm 1868-1878
Jackson Kansas City Weekly Star Farmer Microfilm 1952-1961
Jackson Kansas City Weekly Western Journal of Commerce Microfilm 1861; 1865-1867
Jackson Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce Microfilm 1857-1861; 1863-1865
Jasper Joplin Labor Record Microfilm 1900-1901
Jasper Joplin Missouri Trades Unionist Microfilm 1908-1921
Madison Fredericktown Farmer and Miner Microfilm March 18, 1876
Marion Hannibal Hannibal Labor Press Microfilm 1915-1972
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
St. Charles St. Charles St. Charles County Business Record Microfilm 2007-Present
Taney Forsyth Forsyth Branson Business Journal Microfilm 1994-1998
Taney Forsyth Pioneer Farmer Microfilm June 2, 1876
Wright Mountain Grove Mountain Grove South Central Ozarks Farmer Microfilm 1974-1979
  St. Louis Bulletin of Commerce Microfilm August 22, 1908
  St. Louis Farmers’ & Mechanics’ Advocate Microfilm 1834-1835
  St. Louis Industrial Advocate Microfilm 1866-1867
  St. Louis Industrial Times Microfilm March 23, 1901
  St. Louis Interstate Manufacturer Microfilm 1901
  St. Louis Journal of Agriculture and Farmer Microfilm 1876-1886
  St. Louis Labor Microfilm 1893-1899
  St. Louis Labor Campaign Microfilm October 1894
  St. Louis Labor Compendium Microfilm 1901-1905; 1907-1911
  St. Louis Labor Tribune Microfilm 2012-2014
  St. Louis Labor’s Call Microfilm 1977-1979
  St. Louis Midwest Labor World Microfilm 1943-1963
  St. Louis St. Louis Business Journal Microfilm 1987-2002
  St. Louis St. Louis Commercial News and Labor Gazette Microfilm January 28, 1911
  St. Louis St. Louis Journal of Commerce Microfilm February 19, 1863
  St. Louis St. Louis Labor Microfilm 1895-1896; 1903-1930
  St. Louis St. Louis Labor Tribune Microfilm 1937-1985
  St. Louis St. Louis Merchant’s Journal Microfilm 1901-1902
  St. Louis St. Louis Midland Farmer Microfilm July 1876
  St. Louis St. Louis Mill Boy Microfilm 1844-1845
  St. Louis St. Louis Mining News Microfilm May 7, 1887
  St. Louis St. Louis Union Labor Advocate Microfilm 1934-1958
  St. Louis St. Louis Union Stockyard Journal Microfilm 1901
  St. Louis St. Louis Weekly Market Reporter Microfilm 1875-1904
  St. Louis St. Louis/Southern Illinois Labor Tribune Microfilm 1985-2012
  St. Louis Troy Labor Microfilm 1894
  St. Louis Weekly Mississippi Valley Review and St. Louis Journal of Commerce Microfilm March 19, 1870

 

Photographs

As part of its ongoing mission, SHSMO's photograph collection has gathered original photographs, postcards, and other graphic materials, which document the development of various local and corporate businesses. Search the Columbia and St. Louis Digital Collections through keywords such as "business" or specific names of businesses.

View a selection of business photographs from the Columbia Digital Collection here.

Vertical Files

The Society’s vertical files are part of the Reference Collection and contain magazine and newspaper clippings, handwritten information donated by patrons, bibliographies, programs, brochures, flyers, and other materials that, by reason of their physical formats, cannot be placed on the shelves with books. SHSMO's Columbia Research Center has a number of vertical files pertaining to Missouri businesses in particular towns and cities, such as "Moberly (MO) - Business" or "Saint Charles (MO) - Business."