Social Reform and Welfare Research Guide

Articles from Missouri Historical Review and Missouri Times


Many of the State Historical Society of Missouri’s holdings are included in the SHSMO online catalog. The State Historical Society holds published sources on social reform and welfare that researchers can locate in the catalog. Specific search terms to use include "social reform," "temperance," "abolition," and "Missouri education reform."

Historic Missourian Biographies


The State Historical Society of Missouri's manuscript collection includes records of individuals and organizations involved in meeting social welfare needs, such as charities and orphanages, or those promoting reform through lobbying, neighborhood coalitions, church groups, and social service organizations that promote social welfare. Social reform and welfare is a broad topic covering movements as diverse as abolition, the development of public schools, prison reform, civil rights, women's rights, and care of the elderly. Some examples of collections available through the State Historical Society of Missouri include the Missouri Association for Social Welfare Records and the papers of Hayes Ayres Richardson, director of welfare for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, from 1940 to 1959.

View All Social Reform and Welfare Manuscript Collections


Newspapers have long had a role in the social reform and welfare of their communities. For instance, Elijah Lovejoy founded the St. Louis Observer to advocate for the abolition movement. Labor newspapers promote raising working conditions of their members and often advocate for improvements in the community even outside of the workday. Many of the newspapers below are focused on the abolitionist, temperance, or labor movements. Researchers may also want to explore the newspapers linked in our African-American ExperienceImmigrant ExperienceJewish American Experience, and LGBTQ Experience research guides.

For a list of newspapers on microfilm at the State Historical Society of Missouri, visit the newspaper catalog.

County City Title Also Available On Date Range
Clinton Lathrop The Golden Era Microfilm 1884
Cooper Boonville Boonville Message Microfilm 1916-1918
Gasconade Hermann Licht-Freund Microfilm 1843-1845
Greene Springfield Springfield Labor Record Microfilm 1979-1985
Greene Springfield Springfield Laborer Microfilm 1916-1917
Greene Springfield Union Labor Record Microfilm 1937-1979
Jackson Kansas City Kansas City Labor Microfilm 1895
Jackson Kansas City Kansas City Labor News Microfilm 1924-1938
Jackson Kansas City Labor Herald Microfilm 1904-1940
Jackson Kansas City Labor Journal Microfilm 1942-1962
Jasper Joplin Labor Record Microfilm 1900-1901
Jasper Joplin Missouri Trades Unionist Microfilm 1908-1921
Marion Hannibal Hannibal Labor Press Microfilm 1915-1972
Pettis Sedalia The Advocate Microfilm 1891
Pettis Sedalia Missouri Dry Microfilm 1916
Pettis Sedalia Missouri New Age Microfilm 1882-1883
Scotland Memphis Farmer's Union Microfilm 1891-1895
St. Louis St. Louis Cimeter Microfilm 1884-1885
St. Louis St. Louis Herald of Religious Liberty Microfilm 1845-1846
St. Louis St. Louis Illinois Labor Tribune Microfilm 1963-1966
St. Louis St. Louis Indiana Labor Tribune Microfilm 1955-1970
St. Louis St. Louis Labor Microfilm 1893-1899
St. Louis St. Louis Labor Campaign Microfilm 1894
St. Louis St. Louis Labor Compendium Microfilm 1901-1905, 1907-1911
St. Louis St. Louis St. Louis/Southern Illinois Labor Tribune Microfilm 2012-2014
St. Louis St. Louis Labor's Call Microfilm 1977-1979
St. Louis St. Louis Midwest Labor World Microfilm 1943-1963
St. Louis St. Louis Milwaukee Labor Microfilm 1894
St. Louis St. Louis Missouri Labor Microfilm 1896-1906
St. Louis St. Louis Southern Illinois Labor Tribune Microfilm 1954-1963, 1966-1970
St. Louis St. Louis St. Louis Commercial News and Labor Gazette Microfilm 1911
St. Louis St. Louis St. Louis Labor Microfilm 1895-1896, 1903-1930
St. Louis St. Louis St. Louis Labor Tribune Microfilm 1937-1985
St. Louis St. Louis St. Louis Union Microfilm 1883
St. Louis St. Louis St. Louis Observer Microfilm 1835-1836
St. Louis St. Louis St. Louis Union Labor Advocate Microfilm 1934-1958
St. Louis Troy Troy Labor Microfilm 1894

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. Ask staff members about vertical files on education and the temperance movement.