Engineering Research Guide

The State Historical Society of Missouri manuscript collections contain many items representing the state’s strong connection to engineering. Among these collections are papers of engineers, records of engineering firms, plans, designs, blueprints, drawings of building records, and records of professional associations. Examples of such collections include the Clair V. Mann Collection, papers pertaining to Meramec Iron Works, records for the School of Mines and Metallurgy at Rolla, the papers of Kansas City civil engineer Robert Patterson Woods, and the papers of Charles E. Boulson, an electrical engineer in Missouri.

Articles from Missouri Historical Review and Missouri Times


Many of the State Historical Society’s holdings are included in the SHSMO online catalog. The State Historical Society holds numerous books on the history of engineering in Missouri, the Midwest, and the United States in general. The broadest term to search for is the subject term “Engineering.” For a more specific search on engineering in Missouri, simply add the subject term “Missouri” to your search.

Historic Missourian Biographies

  • Morris Frederick Bell (1849-1929) - Morris Frederick Bell was a prolific architect whose work can be found throughout Missouri and the Midwest. His most notable surviving accomplishment is Francis Quadrangle, which includes Jesse Hall, on the University of Missouri campus. Bell was largely an institutional architect—he built structures related to organizations or institutions such as hospitals, school buildings, correctional facilities, and monuments.
  • Carl Boller (1868-1946) and Robert O. Boller (1887-1962) - Carl and Robert Boller were architects who specialized in designing movie palaces during the first half of the twentieth century. Movies provided escape from the dull and the humdrum. Early on, the architecture of movie theater buildings aided in the illusion of stepping into a fantasy world.
  • James Buchanan Eads (1820-1887) - James Buchanan Eads spent his life solving difficult engineering problems that made life on and around the Mississippi River safer and more convenient. Eads created a business that removed dangerous debris and shipwrecks from the river. He also designed an armored steamship that helped the Union seize and maintain control of the Mississippi River during the Civil War. His most important engineering achievement was designing and building the first bridge to cross the Mississippi River at St. Louis. His bridge provided a crucial connection between Missouri and eastern cities.


Society manuscript collections include papers of engineers and records of engineering firms; plans, designs, blueprints, and drawings exclusive of building records; and records of professional associations.

View All Engineering Manuscript Collections


Many notable feats of engineering have been constructed in Missouri. These structures include bridges, railways, buildings, and many other works. Click here to view the Engineering in Missouri Gallery on Flickr.

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