Many of the State Historical Society’s holdings are included in Merlin, the shared library catalog of the four University of Missouri campuses. The State Historical Society holds numerous books on the history and study of literature in Missouri, the Midwest, and the United States generally. The broadest term to search is the subject term “Missouri literature” or the specific author of any work. For a more specific search in Missouri, simply add the subject term “Missouri” to your search.
Missouri has been the home or birthplace of many significant writers and others who have contributed to literary works of note.
- William Wells Brown - His autobiography, Narrative of William W. Brown, A Fugitive Slave, documents his life as a slave in Missouri and is one of most widely published and influential slave narratives.
- Dale Carnegie - Best-selling author of How to Win Friends and Influence People who became a pioneer in the field of self-improvement.
- Samuel Clemens - Also known as Mark Twain, his stories and novels such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer are famous for their humor, vivid details, and memorable characters.
- Lester Dent - Successful pulp fiction writer of the adventure series featuring the popular fictional character “Doc Savage.”
- T. S. Eliot - Eliot was one of the pioneers of modernism, a movement in art and literature that was popular in America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century.
- Robert A. Heinlein - Science fiction writer of short stories and novels combining his interests in science, technology, and the military.
- Langston Hughes - He became a crucial voice during the Harlem Renaissance, an African American literary movement of the 1920s and 1930s.
- John Neihardt - He is best known for his collection of epic poems, A Cycle of the West, and his nonfiction account of the life of a Sioux medicine man, Black Elk Speaks.
- Margaret Truman - The only child of President Harry S. Truman, she was best known for her series of murder mysteries set in Washington, DC.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder - One of the most influential children’s authors in American history. Her vibrant retelling of episodes from her childhood in the world-famous Little House historical fiction series helped shape the popular idea of the American frontier.
- Tennessee Williams - One of the greatest playwrights in American history. Between the mid-1940s and the early 1960s, he wrote several award-winning plays, including The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.