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 frontier of Missouri and the Midwest. The broadest terms to search are “frontier” or “pioneer.” For a more specific search in Missouri, simply add the subject term “Missouri” to your search. You can also search specific Missouri pioneers or frontiersmen by name.
The State Historical Society of Missouri's Digital Collection provides online access to journals, photographs, newspapers, and oral histories telling the story of Missouri’s history, people, and culture.
The Frontier and Pioneer Life Collection consists of letters, diaries, and other papers associated with exploration, the westward movement, overland travel, the gold rush, homesteading and settlement, and daily life on the frontier in the United States.
- Thomas Hart Benton - Thomas Hart Benton was a major American artist from Missouri. His paintings are famous for showing ordinary people doing common things. He drew and painted portraits, landscapes, and scenes of people at work in farms, factories, and busy cities. Benton’s murals are lively records of life in America from pioneer times onward.
- Daniel Boone - Daniel Boone is one of the most famous frontiersmen in US history. He was a skilled hunter, trapper, and trailblazer. During the early days of westward expansion, Boone’s explorations helped open the frontier to new settlements. In 1799, he led his family and other settlers across the Mississippi River into land populated by Native Americans but claimed by Spain. Boone spent the last twenty years of his life in what is now Missouri.
- Daniel Morgan Boone - Just like his famed pioneer father, Daniel Morgan Boone enjoyed scouting and settling new frontiers. He was the first Boone to set foot in Missouri and one of the first settlers in Kansas.
- Manuel Lisa - Manuel Lisa was a merchant and fur trader. In 1807 Lisa led the first trading expedition to the upper Missouri River in what is now Montana in search of new trading and fur-trapping opportunities.
- John S. Sappington - Dr. John S. Sappington, a physician, farmer, and medical pioneer, developed an anti-malaria pill that helped save the lives of countless individuals who lived along rivers and in swampy areas. He is buried in Sappington Cemetery outside of Arrow Rock. The cemetery is a state historic site.
- Henry Rowe Schoolcraft - Henry Rowe Schoolcraft wrote the first published account of the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks. He introduced the region to the world, but his writing helped establish enduring negative stereotypes of the Ozarks and its inhabitants.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder - One of the most influential children’s authors in American history, Wilder’s vibrant Little House series, based on episodes from her childhood, helped shape the popular idea of the American frontier.