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St. Louis History -- Archival Sources

overview of primary and secondary sources available at WashU about local history, with an emphasis on community groups and urban planning

Archives beyond WUSTL's campus

Many schools, businesses, churches, and associations in the St. Louis area maintain archives that are open to the public. 
  • Speaking with an archivist or librarian at the site is always the best way to start. 
  • Not all archives have inventories of their collections listed online, and smaller archives may not even have a website.  
  • Always contact the organization BEFORE visiting, as often appointments are required. 

Historical Societies & State Archives

Several local archives have very similar names, which can be confusing:  

The Missouri Historical Society (MHS) and the State Historical Society of Missouri (SHSMO). 

  • These are each separate organizations, in different locations and with different procedures for accessing their collections.   
  • Both have extensive collections with excellent resources for St. Louis history. 

These organizations are separate from the Missouri State Archives (MSA)

  • Missouri State Archives is part of the Secretary of State office and is headquartered in Jefferson City, Missouri,
  • a branch office of the archives is located in St. Louis (MSA-St. Louis). 

Public Libraries

Several public libraries maintain special departments for archival materials. 

  • St. Louis City Public Library (SLPL)
  • St. Louis County Library (SLCL)

While located within larger libraries, hours for their specialty departments vary.  

Some Municipal Library Consortium libraries also have local history collections