Research Services

The State Historical Society of Missouri offers two types of research assistance: quick search and an extended research.

Please submit your request using the Research Request form. Staff will evaluate the extent of your request and assess an applicable fee.

  • Prepayment of the research fee is required.
  • Research fees are non-refundable. They are for the search time involved and do not guarantee that information will be found.
  • The average response time is 3 weeks.
  • Rush service is not available.

Before arriving, visitors should contact research center staff to verify that the collection material they would like to view is available, as materials may be restricted, in storage, or located at another research center. Collections stored at one research center can be viewed at any of the other research centers. Please note that transfers between research centers can take between one and three weeks. Please contact the Cape Girardeau and Springfield Research Centers directly for information regarding the next available bi-monthly collection material delivery.

Materials from the manuscript, photograph, audio\visual, and map collections may not be available on Saturdays unless previous arrangements have been made to place them on reserve. This is due to limited staffing and access to restricted areas on the weekends. Saturday hours apply to the Columbia research center only.

SHSMO members receive special rates on research services. Not a member and wish to help preserve Missouri's history and culture? Join today!

Quick Search Service

For this research service, SHSMO staff will spend up to 30 minutes searching for specific reference questions that can be answered from all Society collections.

  • Newspaper requests that extend beyond thirty minutes will be charged the extended research request fee.
  • Newspaper items will be checked that have a particular date associated with them, such as deaths, births, marriages, local events, natural disasters, etc., found in newspapers from Missouri held in the Society's Newspaper Collection.
    • Accurate name, location and date of event are required.
    • Only one name may be submitted at a time.
    • Additional requests may be submitted once the previous request has been completed.
    • Requests that do not contain all the required information cannot be processed.
    • Before submitting a newspaper search request, patrons should consult the newspaper catalog, and verify that a newspaper exists for the time and place in question.

Fee
Includes up to 10 photocopies

  • $10 for SHSMO members
  • $20 for Missouri residents
  • $30 for non-Missouri residents

Submit a Research Request

Extended Research Request

For this research service, SHSMO staff will conduct up to 2 hours of research for one individual name or one topic (local event, building history, business history, etc.) across all Society collections.

  • Please submit one name or topic at a time.
  • Submit an additional request once the previous request has been completed.
  • Genealogical requests should contain:
    • The full name of the individual whose record is requested.
    • County or city associated with the individual.
    • Exact date of the event if known. For all other requests, please indicate as narrow a time period as possible.
  • Historical research requests must contain a specific question. e.g., "My great-grandfather John Smith was living in Wright County in 1870. Can you tell me his siblings and parents?" Please avoid questions such as: "I would like any and all information you have on John Smith in Wright County."
  • Research Center staff will review the request.
  • Requests are processed in the order they are received.

Fee
Per each hour of research, up to two hours
Includes up to 20 photocopies

  • $20 for SHSMO members
  • $30 for Missouri residents
  • $50 for non-Missouri residents

Additional copies are $0.25 per page. Patrons will be informed of additional photocopy costs upon completion of the order.

For requests that require more research than the staff can provide, patrons may be referred to a private researcher.

Submit a Research Request

Request with Exact Citation

To request articles from the Society's Index to Selected Missouri Newspapers, 1819-1886, copy and paste the citation information into the Research Request form. Please limit your request to ten citations.

Fee for articles from the Index to Selected Missouri Newspapers

  • $4 for each exact citation newspaper request
    No more than 10 citations at a time

Some Missouri newspapers are available online, free of charge. Available newspapers may be accessed through the Missouri Digital Newspaper Project.

Submit a Research Request

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Service

The State Historical Society of Missouri's collection is non-circulating; however, an interlibrary loan (ILL) service makes microfilm available to patrons who cannot visit one of SHSMO's research centers (Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla, Saint Louis, or Springfield). SHSMO's circulating microfilm collections include:

  • newspapers
  • manuscripts
  • selected high-demand county history books
  • city and county directories
  • land ownership maps
  • periodicals

Fee
1-2 reels, two weeks use

  • $15 within US
  • $25 international

Fee for members
How to Join

  • $13.50 within US (10% discount)
  • $22.50 international (10% discount)
  • $10 direct to member at Supporting Level or above ($20 for international addresses)
  • Free to member at Patron Level or above

Accessing the collections

Providing Citations

To fulfill your request, the interlibrary loan librarian will need exact item citation.

For newspapers a citation includes:

  • town of publication
  • title of the newspaper
  • the date or time period needed
  • the roll number

For manuscripts a citation includes:

  • title of collection
  • collection number
  • folder, volume, and/or roll numbers

For material other than newspapers, provide:

  • title
  • author
  • publication date
  • call number (if possible)

Submit a Research Request

Note: Check with your local library regarding ILL policies before submitting your request.

To cover postage and handling costs, SHSMO charges $15.00 to $25.00 (US) per interlibrary loan transaction depending on your membership status, location and billing requirements of your local library. Some borrowing libraries pass this cost on to the patron, others do not. Payment is required in advance.

Material Transfer Request

Collection materials may be transferred to the research center of your choice from other SHSMO locations via our courier service. There is no charge for this service.

Please request records at least 2 weeks prior to your visit.

Submit a Research Request

Please note that transfers between research centers can take between one and three weeks. Please contact the Cape Girardeau and Springfield Research Centers directly for information regarding the next available bi-monthly collection material delivery.