BULLET St. Louis Media Archives: Guide to Collections

The St. Louis Media Archives houses and preserves local media-related materials of research value in an archives-library context. Included are materials on journalism, broadcasting, advertising and public relations. The collection contains books on the St. Louis media and by persons associated with the media in St. Louis; unpublished dissertations; original manuscripts and letters; business files; reminiscences in written, transcribed, and audio form; slides; program scripts; kinescopes; photographs; audiotapes; videotapes; newspaper and magazine articles; advertising copy; marketing materials; and memorabilia.

The St. Louis Public Library’s research and special collections also offer a rich source of documentary materials for study of the regional media. Files of St. Louis’ daily and weekly newspapers from 1808 on and a variety of other periodicals are available in paper copy and microform. Approximately 100 file cabinets hold files of clippings from newspapers and other publications. Publications by local authors and on local subjects can be found throughout the collections.

The St. Louis Media Archives at the St. Louis Public Library dates to 1987, when St. Louis Public Library and the Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis agreed to work together to create an archival collection of Press Club materials. Members of the Press Club were concerned that at that time no organization or facility had taken the initiative to preserve the history of the media in the St. Louis area, and that, as many media personalities grew older, their experiences, papers, and other documentation would be lost. Members also were aware of the need to save the documentation and artifacts of the contemporary media for future research.

Recognizing the importance and research value of the local media and its history, St. Louis Public Library agreed to serve as the repository for the Press Club collections. Members of the Press Club would make initial contacts and solicit collections from prospective donors. Support for the archives was strong, and the collection grew quickly. As the collection expanded to include materials on local and regional print and electronic media and on advertising and public relations from a wide variety of sources, it was given the name St. Louis Media Archives.

The Press Club has remained generous to the Media Archives and supported the collecting, organizing, and preserving of the collection through annual funding. A group of volunteers, mainly Press Club members, has worked on processing the media collections since 1988.

This electronic guide to the St. Louis Media Archives serves as a finding aid to the collections and materials in what is still a young collection. While it is not a complete listing of all items found in the Archives, the Guide indicates in broad categories the range of the collections within the Media Archives and gives examples of the kinds of items that can be found in each collection. Related materials found in the Library’s general and special collections are included and marked with an asterisk.

Unless donors have placed restrictions on them, all materials in the St. Louis Media Archives that have been processed are open for public use. Processed collections have been organized, placed in archivally-appropriate storage, and are described in the Media Archives database and finding aids. Copies of materials from the St. Louis Media Archives may be made only with permission.

Permission must be granted from Special Collections in order to publish, distribute, mount on the Internet, or otherwise publicly display images from the St. Louis Media Archives. All use of material from the Media Archives for publication or other public display must comply with United States copyright laws.

The St. Louis Media Archives collections are available for use by appointment only. Arrangements to use processed collections may be made by calling Special Collections staff at the St. Louis Public Library at 314/539-0381 or through e-mail at

Our thanks go to the Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis, which has funded publication and distribution of the Guide.

The illustrations to the Guide are by Archiblad B Chapin, editorial cartoonist at the St. Louis Republican, 1914-1918. They are part of a collection of more than 280 editorial cartoons from St. Louis newspapers, ca. 1890s-1920s, in the Special Collections department.

Jean E. Meeh Gosebrink
February 2000
Slightly revised May 2001

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