Mining and Mineral Industry Research Guide

The State Historical Society of Missouri’s collection of mining and mineral industry records preserve the history of mining and its impact on the state. SHSMO’s holdings include papers and records of miners and mining engineers, records of mining firms and mineral industries, records of professional and trade organizations, and miscellaneous materials dealing with mining and mineral industries.

Mining has played a significant role in Missouri’s history. In the 1840s, large-scale iron mining and smelting began in St. Francois County in the area around Iron Mountain. From the 1860s to the 1960s, the northern part of the county around Bonne Terre and present-day Park Hills was one of the world’s leading producers of lead. In the nineteenth century, coal mining became an important industry in regions such as southwest and northern Missouri; the state also became a significant source of mined materials such as zinc, copper, and limestone. Documentation of these mining activities can be found in collections like the American Zinc, Lead, and Smelting Company Records, the St. Joe Minerals Corporation Collection, and the Valle Mining Company Records.

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 several books about the history of mining, mining accidents, and mining heritage in Missouri. To view a refined search on mining history in Missouri, simply add the subject term “Mining and Mineral Industries" to your search.

Historic Missourian Biographies

  • Moses Austin - A prominent figure in Missouri’s mining history, Moses Austin was an important businessman and community builder on the American frontier. He improved transportation, trade links, and mining methods at sites such as Potosi in Washington County and Herculaneum in Jefferson County. Austin brought national attention to the mineral wealth of Missouri.

  • Henry Rowe Schoolcraft - Henry Rowe Schoolcraft wrote the first published account of the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks, introducing the region to worldwide audiences. In the summer of 1818 Schoolcraft arrived in Potosi, the heart of Missouri Territory’s lead mining region, and surveyed the area’s mining and smelting operations. Schoolcraft then wrote and published A View of the Lead Mines of Missouri.

  • François Vallé - François Vallé was a successful businessman who became one of the most influential figures in colonial Ste. Genevieve. Before settling in Ste. Genevieve, Vallé employed others in the early 1740s to help him in a seasonal lead mining operation at Mine La Motte in what is now Madison County, Missouri. Vallé continued to invest in mining operations, but stopped mining himself by the late 1750s. He used the profits from his early mining and trading ventures to buy vast amounts of land.

Manuscripts

Society manuscript collections include papers and records of miners, mining engineers, and other individuals; records of mining firms and mineral industries; records of professional and trade organizations; and miscellaneous materials dealing with mining and mineral industries, including photographs, maps, and production data.

View All Mining Manuscript Collections

Newspapers

A number of Missouri newspapers on microfilm in the Society’s collection focus on mining and mineral industries.

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.

Mining Newspapers in SHSMO Holdings

County City Title Also Available On Date Range
Bates   Mining Review Microfilm 1880‐1912
Bates Rich Hill Rich Hill Daily Review Microfilm 1886-1955
Jasper Joplin The Mining News Microfilm 1872-1875
Madison Fredericktown Farmer and Miner Microfilm March 18, 1876
Newton Granby Granby Miner Microfilm October 4, 1973-September 16, 1876; February 21, 1913-February 27, 1914
Newton Granby Granby Miner-Missourian Microfilm April 14, 1916-December 31, 1920
Newton Neosho Daily Miner and Mechanic Microfilm September 23, 1879-March 25, 1880; October 25, 1879-January 6, 1961
Newton Neosho Neosho Miner-Mechanic Microfilm September 23, 1966-December 31, 1971
St. Louis St. Louis St. Louis Mining News Microfilm May 7, 1887
Washington Potosi Miner's Prospect Microfilm September 20, 1849

Photographs

The State Historical Society of Missouri's holdings contain the following photograph collections depicting the Mining and Mineral Industry of Missouri:

Vertical Files

The vertical files 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. Materials on mining and mineral industry include:

  • Mining-Mines and Mineral Resources-Missouri
  • Mines and Mining-Missouri
  • Mines and Mining-Missouri-Barite-Tiff
  • Mines and Mining-Clay
  • Mines and Mining-Coal
  • Mines and Mining-Copper
  • Mines and Mining-Gold
  • Mines and Mining-Iron/Maramec Iron Works
  • Mines and Mining-Lead
  • Mines and Mining-Magnesium
  • Mines and Mining-Radium
  • Mines and Mining-Silver
  • Mines and Mining-Zinc
  • Mines and Mining-U.S.
  • Mines and Mining-U.S.-Copper
  • Mines and Mining-U.S.-Gold
  • Mines and Mining-U.S.-Iron
  • Mines and Mining-U.S.-Silver
  • Mines and Mining-U.S.-Zinc