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.