Manuscript Collection

Butler County Collection Descriptions

Butler County was organized in 1849. The county seat is Poplar Bluff. The collections listed below deal in some manner with Butler County. This list is not comprehensive, so be sure to browse collection descriptions by subject.

*Collections marked with DIGITIZED MATERIALS have additional digitized items available.

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Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service Aerial Photographs, (P0335)
107.5 linear feet
Missouri county aerial photographs produced by the Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service.

American Revolution Bicentennial, Missouri Committee for Agriculture, Papers, 1974-1976 (C4276)
1.2 cubic feet (42 folders), 1 audio tape
The papers of the committee contain correspondence, newsletters, reports, updates, events awards programs, lists of elected members, historical information on "Centennial Farms," and "Liberty Trees," meeting minutes, announcements, newspaper clippings, and audio-visual material for a slide presentation entitled "The Spirit of 76."

Ashcroft, Joseph, Papers, 1897-1947, (R0281)
1 folder, photocopies
These are papers of a manufacturer of wooden spokes for wheels at Poplar Bluff, Butler County, Missouri. Included are a letter from the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company concerning the spoke business, 1909; letters from R. M. Good of the School of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Missouri, 1947; and an address delivered to a trade association meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, 1942.


Barrows Family Letters, 1834-1865, (C3264)
2 folders
Correspondence between Freeman Barrows, his brother John and his sister Sarah; between Elizabeth Vaill Waldo and her sister Asenath B. Vaill Barrows, wife of Freeman Barrows. Freeman Barrows tells of business, social and economic conditions in Batesville and Papinville, MO, and urges his family to join him there.

Bootheel Project, Records, 1993-1997, (C3928)
3.2 linear feet, 161 audio cassettes, 9 records, 2 video cassettes
The records of the Bootheel Project document the art, culture and heritage of the Missouri Bootheel. The records include photographs, color slides, audio cassettes, transcripts, and video cassettes of interviews with Bootheel residents. Sound recordings, planning documents, field workers' notes, and miscellaneous items collected throughout the project are also included.

Brown, Dwight H. (1887-1944), Papers, 1928-1944, (C2529)
9.8 linear feet
The collection contains the papers of Dwight H. Brown, Missouri secretary of state, 1932-1944. The papers are arranged alphabetically by topics.

Butler County, Missouri, Interviews, 1968, (R0318)
1 folder, photocopies
These are typescripts of historical interviews with residents of Butler County, Missouri, by Robert Manns of Poplar Bluff. Topics include life along the Black River and in the communities of Hamtown, Qulin, and Rombauer, logging and railroads in Butler County, and the tornado of 1927.

Butler County, Missouri, Riverside School, Souvenir, 1910, (R1239)
1 folder
This is a "souvenir" of the Winter Term, 1910, for the Riverside School in Butler County, Missouri. Farrar Foster was the teacher and J. D. Mercer, R. P. Neel, and W. A. Cravens were Directors of the local school district.


Cane Creek Baptist Association, Minutes, 1904-1992, (R0235)
1 folder
These are booklets containing the proceedings of the 42nd (1904), 91st (1953) and 130th (1992) annual meetings of the Cane Creek Baptist Association. Included are the articles of faith and constitution, minutes, committee reports, and directories of churches and staff. The booklet for 1953 is a photocopy of the original. Organized in 1857, the Association includes congregations in a wide area of southeastern Missouri.

Cope, W. Robert (1942- ), Papers, 1965-1968, (CG0018)
1.75 cubic feet (34 folders)
The papers of W. Robert Cope contain notes, outlines, and final examinations produced as a student at the University of Missouri-School of Law from 1965 to 1968.


D. B. Axtell & Company, Ledger, 1878, (R0442)
1 oversize volume
This is an indexed account ledger of a grocery, general store, and tie-buying firm in southeastern Missouri. D. B. Axtell and J. P. Gabriel were the proprietors, based in Poplar Bluff and doing business in Butler and Stoddard counties in Missouri. The volume includes accounts receivable, lists of payments for ties, and expense accounts, and collections.

Dixon, Lloyd Arthur, Collection, (P0462)
1 photograph
Copy photo of school in Harviell, 1898.


Flanery, Mrs. B.K., Photograph Collection, (P0457)
27 photographs
Copy photos of Poplar Bluff, Butler County, late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Freemasons, Star of the West Lodge No. 133, Ironton, Missouri, Records, 1849-1962, (R0446)
34 folders, 13 volumes
These are records of the Masonic Lodge at Ironton in Iron County, Missouri. The records include minute books, membership records, personnel files, and miscellaneous lodge papers, 1849-1962. The collection also includes the record books of the Iron Mountain Lodge, 1864-1894, which consolidated with the Star of the West Lodge in 1894.


Galilee Association of General Baptists, proceedings, 1913-1980, (R0077)
66 volumes
These are proceedings of the annual sessions of this organization of General Baptist congregations in southeastern Missouri. Also included are Old Liberty Association proceedings (1913), Liberty Association proceedings (1916), and a reprinted sermon of Benoni Stinson (1858).

Guitar, Sarah (1892-1963), Collection, n.d., (C3391)
1.5 cubic feet, 5 card boxes
Card file compiled by Sarah Guitar, reference librarian of the State Historical Society of Missouri, as a guide to county boundaries of Missouri, 1812-1929; Missouri congressional district boundaries, 1845-1933; Missouri senatorial districts, 1820-1931; and Missouri judicial circuits, 1815-1915.


James, David A. (1937- ) Papers, 1790-2008, (C4126)
5 cubic feet
The research material of a hotel management instructor whose work resulted in the publication Historic Hotels of Missouri: Hotels, Inns, and Taverns of 19th Century Missouri.


Kelley Family, Papers, 1837-1882, (R1348)
0.25 cubic feet (3 folders)
The Kelley Family papers document the lives of multiple generations of a family from southeastern Missouri. The collection contains official business documents, correspondence, and personal notes.

Kinder, A. Aven (1902-1986), Papers, 1918-1967, (CG0005)
0.2 cubic feet (3 folders)
The papers of A. Aven Kinder contain 29 photographs dating from the early 1900s to 1967, yearbook pages from Central High School's "The Giradot," Southeast Missouri State University's "The Sagamore," and University of Missouri's "The Savitar," correspondence, and miscellaneous papers.


Laramore, Edmond, collector, Baptist Associations Minutes, 1912-1980, (R0394)
17 folders
This collection consists largely of printed minutes of annual meetings of United or Missionary Baptist associations in southern Missouri. The minutes include the records of annual sessions, committee reports, and statistical information on the associations and their constituent churches. Also included are a few miscellaneous Baptist publications.

Lee, Richard L. (1925-2011), County Courthouse Photographs, ca. 1955, (P0003)
210 photographs
The collection includes photographs of county courthouses for the state of Missouri, taken in the mid-twentieth century by Richard L. Lee.

Little River Valley Land Company, Booklet, ca. 1908, (R0946)
1 folder, photocopies
This is a promotional booklet for the Little River Valley Land Company, which marketed land made available by the drainage of the swamps in southeastern Missouri. A. L. Harty served as president and W. F. Smith served as secretary of the firm, which was based at Cape Girardeau in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri.


Mark Twain National Forest, Historical Photographs, ca. 1900-1985, (R0485)
These are photographs copied from holdings of the Mark Twain National Forest in Rolla, Missouri. Topics include National Forest facilities and projects; forest and wood industries; water mills; lakes, rivers, and springs; mines; dams; and the Civilian Conservation Corps and Youth Conservation Corps.

Mark Twain National Forest, Local History Collection, 1930s-1980s, (R0471)
109 files
This collection was selected from unofficial files on miscellaneous historical topics, including local histories, the CCC, the YCC, the "Irish Wilderness," and the Eleven Point River. There are transcriptions of interviews with "old-timers" and Forest Service retirees.

Missouri Association of the Future Farmers of America, Records, 1928-1980, (C3644)
4 reels (2 folders, 3 volumes, 16 scrapbooks), 1 filmstrip
Records of the state organization of affiliated high school FFA chapters. Papers include constitution and bylaws, applications for and articles of incorporation, minutes of meetings, and scrapbooks on state and local chapter activities.

Missouri Environment Oral History Project, Records, 1998-, (C3966)
Interviews with Missouri land use and natural resource protection professionals. The records include audio cassettes and transcripts.

Missouri Lumber and Mining Company Records, 1853-1945, (C2557)
82.3 linear feet, 110 oversize volumes and documents, 1 reel of microfilm
The records of the Missouri Lumber and Mining Company contain Correspondence, minutes of board of directors' meetings, and financial and operating records of a Grandin, MO, land and lumber company, which operated in Butler, Carter, Reynolds, Ripley and Wayne Counties.

Missouri Pacific Women's Club of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Scrapbooks, ca. 1946-1990, (R0433)
4 folders, photocopies, photographs
These are scrapbooks of the Missouri Pacific Women's Club of Poplar Bluff in Butler County, Missouri. The club was composed of the relatives of Missouri Pacific Railroad employees. The scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings, photographs, minutes of meetings, and miscellaneous material concerning the club's activities.

Monday Art Club, Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Booklet, 1911, (R1045)
1 folder
This is the annual program booklet for the Monday Art Club, a woman's study club at Poplar Bluff in Butler County, Missouri. The booklet is undated, but "1911" has been written in what appears to be period ink and handwriting on the cover. The president of the club was Mrs. W. N. Barron and the secretary-treasurer was Mrs. E. Bacon.

Munger Securities Company, Advertising Pamphlet, 1916, (R0308)
1 folder
This is an illustrated pamphlet published by the Munger Securities Company, promoting real estate offerings in southern Missouri. The tracts were primarily in Carter County, but extended into portions of Butler, Reynolds, and Ripley counties. The local offices were in Hunter, Missouri.


Politics in Missouri Oral History Project, Records, 1996-, (C3929)
2.2 linear feet
Interviews with Missouri legislators, politicians, aides, and other participants in Missouri politics. The records include audio cassettes, compact discs, and transcripts of the interviews.

Presbytery of Missouri, Minutes, 1920-1943, (C1353)
0.2 linear feet
The records contain official copies of minutes of the Presbytery of Missouri. Minutes for 1920-1939 are bound; others are in pamphlet form.

Presbytery of Missouri Records, 1817-1920, (C1354)
1.4 linear feet, 6 oversize volumes
The records of the Presbytery of Missouri contain minutes, reports, and other records of an organization composed of ministers and representative elders of Presbyterian churches in Missouri. Volumes 1-6 have been microfilmed. Volume 7 is available onsite. See also collection C1353.


Ramsay Place Names File 1928-1945, (C2366)
12 cubic feet
Card file of origins of Missouri place names, compiled by students of Robert L. Ramsay, University of Missouri professor of English.


Schmidt, Bob (1952- ), Collection, 1861
.11 cubic feet (2 folders)
This collection contains six letters written by Private George W. Shinn, a Union soldier at Camp Fremont and Camp Lyon during the American Civil War. Shinn was born in Fulton County, Illinois, and served with Company H of the 17th Illinois Infantry. The letters were written to his father, mother, and sister while camped at Cape Girardeau and Bird’s Point, Missouri. Shinn died in a St. Louis hospital from wounds received at the Battle of Fort Donelson. There is additional genealogy information and research information compiled by the donor. A seventh letter, written by Solomon Kittrell on May 19, 1861 in Butler County, Missouri, shares his current situation as a farmer, river levels, soldiers’ movements, and the transport of African Americans through the region. This added letter also included genealogy information compiled by the donor.

Second Baptist Church, Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Directory, 1914, (R0903)
1 folder
This is a membership directory of the Second Baptist Church at Poplar Bluff in Butler County, Missouri. Published in 1914, it includes members' names and addresses, the church covenant, a list of officers, and photographic images of the church building and the pastor.

Smith, Nancy K., Postcard Collection, (P0029)
268 postcards
Postcards, all views of hospitals and clinics and some sanitariums across Missouri.

Southeast Missouri Medical Society, Collection, 1877-1967, (CG0003)
0.5 cubic feet (7 folders)
The Southeast Missouri Medical Society Collection consists of miscellaneous records from physicians and hospitals in the southeast region of Missouri.

Spencer, George A. (1906-1997), Papers, 1931-1963, (C2466)
4.6 cubic feet
Correspondence, publicity, and legislative papers of a Boone County, MO, Democrat. Spencer's election campaigns and positions as city attorney, prosecuting attorney, and state representative and senator, and candidacy for Democratic nomination for attorney general. Activities of the Columbia, MO, Chamber of Commerce.

St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company, Records, 1859-1980, (R0362)
635 items in 56 cartons
These are corporate minutes and financial account books, and other records of the St. Louis-San Francisco ("Frisco") Railway Company (1916-1980) and predecessor, subsidiary, and constituent companies, most notably the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway (1876-1896) and the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad (1896-1916). The "Frisco" operated in Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. It became part of the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1980.

Star Ranch and Land Company, Neelyville, Missouri, Letter, 1919, (R0779)
1 folder
This is an illustrated letter offering land for sale near Neelyville in Butler County, Missouri. The Star Ranch and Land Company offered thousands of acres on a "lease with option to buy" program.

State of Missouri Collection, (P0018)
486 photographs
Over 400 original photos created for the 1904 publication on Missouri at the time of the World's Fair by Walter Williams; shows all aspects and counties in Missouri.

Stevens, James A., Journal, 1878-1884, (R0192)
1 folder, photocopies
This is a journal of a missionary for the American Sunday School Union in southeastern Missouri. Stevens promoted and organized Sunday school classes in Butler, Madison, St. Francois, and Wayne counties from a base in Fredericktown.

Stift, Tary L., Photograph Collection, (P0248)
9 photographs
Three photos of Poplar Bluff tornado damage around 1927. Aerial photo of Piedmont around 1927. Four images of Black River with auto and train bridges. One photo of train in Mill Spring Depot.

Stubblefield, W.L., Photograph Collection, (P0444)
2 photographs
Photographs of the Butler County Courthouse, ca. 1900-1901


The Missouri Collection, (C3982)
The Missouri Collection is an artificial collection combining miscellaneous small acquisitions related to Missouri places, individuals, organizations, and events.

Turner, J. Paul, Photograph Collection, (P0290)
2 photographs
Two photos, one showing the Poplar Bluff tornado damage and another of a man named Robert Parker sitting in automobile.


U.S. Work Projects Administration, "Church Bibliography, Baptist Bodies of Missouri, Associational Minutes," 1941, (C1312)
1 volume
The collection contains a list of the various Baptist associations in Missouri and the dates for which their records are in existence.

U.S. Work Projects Administration, Historical Records Survey, Missouri, 1935-1942, (C3551)
302 linear feet; also available on 817 rolls of microfilm
Correspondence, records, and working files. Originally designed to survey and inventory all county government records, the survey finally included inventories of church records, manuscript collections, vital statistics, American imprints, and federal archives. Incorporates records of the Federal Writers Project for Missouri.

University of Missouri, Agricultural Extension Service, Records, 1908-1963, (C2513)
1.5 linear feet
The records of the University of Missouri Agricultural Extension Service contain histories, letters, reports, memoranda, speeches, maps, publications, newspaper articles, and pictures concerning Missouri Agricultural Extension Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture policies; agricultural, home economics, and 4-H extension work; and the College of Agriculture.


Wilson, Jenny, Photograph Collection, (P0470)
7 photographs
Photos of Poplar Bluff, ca. 1960

Wright-Dalton-Bell-Anchor store Company, Letter, 1919, (R1020)
1 folder
This is a form letter dated 4 April 1919 and sent to businesses in the lumber trade by the Wright-Dalton-Bell-Anchor Store Company at Poplar Bluff in Butler County, Missouri. The letter solicits business for Nicholson and Simonds brand files and saws.