Railroads and Railways Research Guide

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 and periodicals on the history of the railroad industry in Missouri and throughout North America, as well as a number of maps. A keyword search can be done for general information using “Railroads” or “Railroad maps.” For a more specific search on Missouri, you can use the Library of Congress subject term “Railroads -- Missouri.”

Editorial Cartoons

The State Historical Society of Missouri’s collection of editorial cartoons began in 1946 with an important donation of works by Pulitzer Prize-winning artist Daniel Robert Fitzpatrick of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The collection has now grown to more than 8,000 works and includes many other well-known cartoonists such as Bill Mauldin and Tom Engelhardt. The works graphically and often poignantly reflect attitudes and opinions on contemporary local, national, and international events.

Most of the cartoons in the Society's collection that touch upon the railroad business were drawn by Fitzpatrick, although there are some by Engelhardt and Mauldin as well.

View Railroad-Related Editorial Cartoons


The State Historical Society of Missouri’s manuscript collections include numerous materials related to railroads. As railroads moved into Missouri in the 1850s, they gradually began to replace the steamboat as the main means of transporting goods and people. The Society’s collections document this transition and the growth of the railroad industry in the state through business records, timetables, maps, photographs, reports, and pamphlets. Some examples include the Henry R. Marnett Railroad Collection, photographic materials depicting trains and railroads across Missouri; the Thomas M. Binger Collection, timetables, publications, and newsletters of Missouri railroad enthusiast organizations; and the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company Records, corporate minutes and financial account books of the company.

View All Railroads and Railways Manuscript Collections


A selection of photographs depicting trains, depots, and railroad bridges can be found throughout the Society’s photograph collections. Also online is a collection of photographs that document the construction of Union Station in Kansas City.

View Railroad-Related Digital Photographs

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 railroads, such as “Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroad Company,” “Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad,” and “Railroads - Missouri - Saint Louis (City).”