top of page

Research Library

 The library is open for  research on Monday and Tuesday from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm or by prior arrangement.
Since its inception in 1948, the Cole County Historical Society (CCHS) has developed valuable and select library collections. It includes only those items that originated in, or otherwise pertain to Cole County. Emphasis has always been and remains on the historical development of Cole County, its towns, businesses and people.

There is an on-going effort to evaluate and organize the collection into distinct units. These units include books, manuscripts, newspapers, tape recordings, photographs and prints, periodicals, maps and measured drawings, directories, pamphlets, and our very special scrapbook collection. Within these units are personal letters, land grants, cemetery records, genealogical records, club minutes, family papers of Cole Countians including some of our Missouri governors, biographies, business records and much more to interest both the casual and serious researcher.

Conservation steps are being taken to preserve and protect the collection. These steps include: removing staples, rubber bands, tape and paper clips; carefully flattening folded items; copying documents which are too brittle to be handled repeatedly; and placing items in archival quality sheet covers, photo sleeves, file folders and/or file boxes. We are also in the beginning stages of digitizing our collections.

Basic information is being recorded for each item or record unit in the library collection. One of the most important things being done is the indexing of units, such as scrapbooks and manuscript collections, and the cataloging of each item.

Among our specific holdings are an indexed collection of obituaries, gleaned from area newspapers; a full set of city directories starting in 1896; an almost complete set of Missouri Historical Review; a complete set of Missouri Blue Books and many other excellent research resources. Since the opening of the Civil War portion of our museum, we have acquired some excellent materials on this topic.

The James Library is rich in Cole County history. However, it will never be so complete that it cannot accept items from members and their friends who share the desire to preserve as much of our county's history as possible. Old newspapers are important for a small historical society, such as ours, to collect. Manuscripts and collections are very desirable. A manuscript may be memoirs, diaries, journals, reminiscences, school essays, club minutes, business records and collections, church records, collections of letters (personal letters are very important), school reports, unbound theses and dissertations, or memorabilia such as menus, programs and invitations.

Any local history collection is based on books, including state and regional histories. We do have a fine book collection. However, we do need to fill in with: adult and children's books about life in our area, fiction and non fiction; biographies; and directories, including club, business, school, church and city. Books, which include histories of persons, families and businesses and the part they played in the development of the area, will be a great help to genealogists.

Much history can also be gleaned from pamphlets, Catalogs of local merchants, farms or ranches; schools and academies; chamber of commerce brochures; advertisements for stores and theaters; land pamphlets published by the railroad or steamboat line in the settlement period, can provide a wealth of colorful information. Our pamphlet collection is small and in need of additional items.

Photographs and other materials in the picture collection make up a large part of the CCHS Library collection. The photographs are being organized and filed in acid-free sleeves and boxes. Other materials that we include and can use in the picture collection are: sketches, paintings, post cards, film negatives, glass plate negatives, glass or film slides, picture books, albums, lithographs or other kinds of prints.

Please review our Services, Fees & Policies on a separate page.

Maps and measured drawings are another important part of our collection. These include area and small localized maps as well as travel maps. Hand drawn sketches of buildings, parks, farms or houses, as well as blueprints to local structures, can be invaluable.

Any member or friend of CCHS who has books, booklets, letters, papers, etc., of historic interest concerning Cole County and Jefferson City and would like to offer them for the Society's collection may call us at (573) 635-1850 or email us at . We will make arrangements to evaluate your collection for placement in our archives. Any such offerings are always gratefully appreciated, as most of our collection is made up of such contributions.

The Research Library will be open on Mondays from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm or by prior arrangement. We are also in the process of bringing in new volunteers and expanding our library hours and operations. Please watch for the announcement of additional library hours.

bottom of page