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 well in advance of visiting, as often appointments are required.
Contact information and brief descriptions of collections.
Missouri Historical Society & State Historical Society of Missouri
There are two local archives with 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 the collections. Both have extensive archive collections with excellent resources for St. Louis history.
LOCATION: 225 South Skinker Blvd. (about 2 blocks from WU campus)
The Missouri Historical Society consists of the History Museum in Forest Park, the Soldiers Memorial Museum in downtown St. Louis, and the Library and Research Center.
Most of the collections may only be accessed in person, and cannot be checked out. The Library and Research Center is open Tuesday - Saturday (check online for exact hours).
No library card is required; fist time researchers should bring a photo ID.
Location: campus of UMSL, Thomas Jefferson Library (on the MetroLink Red Line)
Collections focus on all aspects of Missouri history, with regional Research Centers in Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla, St. Louis, and Springfield. (Organization was formerly known as WHMC)
Archive collections (either paper or on microfilm) from any center can be sent for your use at the St. Louis center location. (There is no fee, but it does require 2 weeks advance notice).
Most of the collections may only be accessed in person, and cannot be checked out. Many photographs are digitized and online. SHSMO-St. Louis is open Monday-Friday (check hours online).
No library card or ID is required. Discounted rates for copies for Missouri residents, and Society members.
Note that these organizations are separate from the Missouri State Archives (MSA) which is headquartered in Jefferson City, Missouri, with a branch office in St. Louis (MSA-St. Louis).
LOCATION: 1114 Market Street, Room 245
The primary collection held at MSA-St. Louis are the records of the St. Louis Circuit Court, 1804-1875, and its subsidiary courts. MSA-St. Louis also has records on microfilm for the St. Louis Recorder, Board of Aldermen, Coroner, County Court (pre- and post-1875 city/county split), and the St. Charles Circuit Court. A full listing of records held is online.
Open Monday-Friday (closed state and federal holidays). E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 314-588-1746 before visiting.
St. Louis Public Library Special Collections & St. Louis County Library History & Genealogy Collections
Both the St. Louis City Public Library (SLPL) and St. Louis County Library (SLCL) maintain special departments for archival materials. While located within larger libraries, hours for these specialty departments vary.
LOCATION: 1301 Olive St (Central Library Building, downtown)
Rare book and Archive collections focus on the city of St. Louis, and St. Louis-area Media (newspaper and broadcast). Reference books and archive collections cannot be checked out.
No library card or ID is required, although visitors are asked to sign-in.
LOCATION: 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd (Library Headquarters)
Collections focus on researching family histories, or genealogy. Visitors can access some specialty online databases (including FirstSearch and American Ancestor) often not available at other libraries. Reference books and archive collections cannot be checked out.
Note: Either a St. Louis County Library card or a photo ID with your current address (such as a driver's license) is required for computer use.