Local Records Preservation Program
Missouri local governments generate records documenting the rights of citizens, government actions, and the history of the community. The mission of the Local Records Preservation Program is to assist local governments with the preservation of historical and vital records and recommend techniques for the efficient management of current records.
To that end, Local Records staff members work with local governments to:
- dispose of extraneous records based on retention schedules
- create computerized record inventories
- microfilm records to reclaim office space and ensure long-term preservation of those with permanent/historical value
- conduct workshops in records and archival management practices
- co-sponsor grant projects
- perform conservation treatments in the lab at the State Archives
- advise on preservation of records
These activities promote long-term public records management and improve public access to the records, preserve the social compact and ensure transparency of government activity.
The Local Records Program operates in three functional areas. Field archivists work directly with local officials in the areas of archival practice and records management. The grant program funds projects to preserve public records. The conservation staff provides professional preservation advice and conservation treatment. Selected professionals in these areas also serve on committees to advise the agency’s Missouri Digital Heritage Initiative for planning access to collections statewide.
Local Field Archivists
The core of the Local Records Program is on-site work conducted throughout the state by field archivists. These professionals advise, educate, and assist local records custodians in sound records management and archival practices.
Field Archivist working in Palmyra City Hall to organize
records and arrange destructions.
In FY2009 archivists consulted with the following units of local government:
- cities of Ava, Curryville, Farmington, Gladstone, Grandview, Independence, Kansas City Parks and Recreation, Kansas City, Kirksville, Kirkwood, Lake Lotawana, Missouri City, Neosho, New Franklin, New Melle, Niangua, Palmyra, Pineville, St. Joseph, Springfield, Warson Woods, Vanduser
- circuit courts in Boone, Butler, Cedar, Cooper, Howard, Howell, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Lawrence, Morgan, Osage, Platte, Polk, Ray, Saline, Scott, St. Charles, St. Louis, Shelby, Vernon, and Worth counties
- probate courts of Callaway, Cass, Cedar, Clark, Franklin, Howell, Lincoln, New Madrid, and Warren counties, and St. Louis City
- executive government officials in Andrew, Buchanan, Butler, Caldwell, Carroll, Cape Girardeau, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Cole, Cooper, Harrison, Howell, Laclede, Lawrence, Lincoln, Mercer, Montgomery, Newton, Platte, Pike, Polk, St. Louis, Stone and Washington counties
- county archives and historical societies holding public records, including the Audrain County Historical Society, Bonniebrook Historical Society, Cape Girardeau County Archives, Cass County Historical Society, Clay County Historical Society, Gasconade County Historical Society, Greene County Archives, Johnson County Historical Society, Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society, Mansfield Historical Society, Miller County Historical Society, Northland Genealogical Society, Northwest Missouri Genealogical Society, Polk County Historical Society, St. Charles County Historical Society, St. Louis County Records Center, Santa Fe Historical Society, and Stoddard County Historical Society.
Evaluations frequently call upon archivists,
historians, and preservation specialists.
Inventories and DispositionsThe sheer volume of records in government offices often makes it difficult to locate
with local officials to dig through basements
and attics to locate records of permanent
and short-term value. This project was
in Polk County.
Preservation and Access Projects
Judicial records – In the past fiscal year, Local Records archivists continued their efforts to identify, preserve and make accessible important aspects of Missouri’s history that exist in judicial records. Working with probate and circuit court judges and clerks, as well as a cadre of dedicated volunteers, the Local Records Program appraised and processed records dating from 1805 to 2001.
Counties with projects underway in FY2009 included Bates, Boone, Butler, Callaway, Cape Girardeau, Cedar, Clark, Cooper, Franklin,
Volunteers in Warren County process local
records to provide wider access.
The availability of these records allows researchers to gain a deeper understanding of how local, regional, and national issues impacted the everyday lives of Missourians. The topics and themes include slavery, the Civil War, domestic and social relations, economic development, transportation, and frontier history. Several of the projects currently underway (including those in Franklin, Gasconade, Lincoln, New Madrid, and St. Charles counties) have records dating to the beginning of statehood. Many of these projects have revealed previously unknown information, substantially altering and augmenting what we know of early Missouri history.
St. Louis Circuit Court –The Missouri State Archives completed a federal grant through the National Endowment for the Humanities to preserve and provide
Archivist arranging St. Louis Circuit Court records.
Provost Marshal records – Archivists continued indexing the Missouri portion of the War Department Collection of Confederate Records entitled Union Provost Marshals’ File of Papers Relating to Individual Citizens, 1861-1866. (Originals are housed at the National Archives.) The collection contains tens of thousands of documents detailing the way the provost marshals affected the lives of Missouri citizens who came into contact with the Union Army during the Civil War and shortly afterwards. To date, 298 out of 300 rolls of microfilm housed in the Missouri State Archives have been indexed. In addition, the indexing of the second series of records, entitled Union Provost Marshals’ File of Papers Relating to Two or More Civilians, 1861-1866, was completed. This project has proved invaluable in recovering Missouri’s Civil War history; the database is available on the Archives website at http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/provost.
The Local Records Grant Program, which began in 1992, awards funds to local governments based on competitive applications for eligible records management and document preservation projects. Recipients may receive up to 70% of the total project cost in grant funds. A local funding match of at least 30% is required.
The Missouri Historical Records Advisory Board (MHRAB) establishes policy and reviews proposals. In FY2009, the MHRAB recommended $203,413 in grants to support 26 projects in 24 counties and the City of St. Louis. Since the program’s inception, the agency has awarded 1,042 grants, totaling over $6,500,000, for records management and document preservation around the state.
Local Records Archivists provide workshops throughout Missouri to explain how to qualify for LR grants.
The following entities received Local Records grants in FY2009:
- Counties: Butler County Archives, Christian County Clerk, Clay County Clerk, Cooper County Collector, DeKalb County Clerk, Howell County Collector, Laclede County Recorder, Lawrence County Circuit Court, McDonald County Recorder, Montgomery County Collector, New Madrid County Commission, Polk County Circuit Clerk, Ste. Genevieve County Commission, Stoddard County Recorder, Washington County Recorder
- Municipalities: Cape Girardeau, Fort Osage Fire Protection District, Seymour, St. Louis
- School districts: Central R-3, Gasconade County R-2, Lindbergh School District, Linn County R-1, Marshfield R-1, Seneca R-7, Webb City R-7
The largest grant award was $24,437 for the conversion of land records now stored on deteriorating aperture cards in a Recorder's office to a more durable format. The smallest award was for $1,060 for microfilming permanent records. The average award was $7,823. Additional information about the grant program is posted online at http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/localrecs/grants.
Field archivists provided support for the Local Records grant program by conducting ten workshops across the state and scheduling consultation visits with applicants to review proposed projects. They also monitored the progress of the 26 awarded grant projects throughout the state.
Missouri's conservation lab.
While Local Records field archivists attempt to forestall damage to public records by assisting in the implementation of sound records practices, sometimes the damage has already been done. Conservators rescue documents that have suffered damage due to aging or poor storage conditions and are in need of repair. Conservators in the Local Records Preservation Program perform treatments to salvage deteriorated documents. They also provide information and educational programs.
The Local Records Program manages the state's only publicly-funded conservation lab for treatment of paper records. The professional conservators provide chemical and physical treatments to repair and preserve unique, historically important documents in the State Archives holdings and in local and state government offices.
The typical course of treatment involves evaluation of condition, surface-cleaning, removal of tape and other old “mends,” washing, mending with Japanese paper and wheat paste, encapsulation, and (sometimes) construction of customized housing. In FY2009, conservators treated a variety of significant records from local and state government.
One of the more challenging conservation projects was the treatment of this 1860 plat of Palmyra. The condition of the map before treatment is shown at left, and after treatment is shown at right. Plats of this age are unusual in Missouri.
Detail: Before Treatment
Detail: After Treatment
As Archivists processed Civil War documents from the St. Louis Circuit Court, conservators provided treatment to those that were most damaged or fragile. In this project, the conservators treated 6,882 leaves so they could be safely microfilmed.
The Local Records Program launched a partnership with Southeast Missouri State University in early 2009 to treat and digitize the Cape Girardeau weekly Argus newspaper. The Argus was the only newspaper that continued to publish during the Civil War era in Cape Girardeau. After conservation treatment is complete, the newspaper will be digitized and made available on the MDHI website.
The conservators completed a long-term project to stabilize and house over 100 original architectural drawings of the current Capitol building. These drawings, dating from 1913, are now available for research.
Several other significant items were treated in the conservation lab this year:
Lincoln University acquired a series of letters, dated 1863-1865, from Lt. Richard Baxter Foster, one of the founders of the school. Conservators provided full conservation treatment for these valuabledocuments.
All three conservators worked on the Tower Grove
drawing in St. Louis, using the Park's well-lighted
Tower Grove Park architectural drawing, circa 1860s – was treated onsite due to its size and fragility. After the conservators’ work, a digital surrogate was made.In the office of the State Auditor, there is a collection of photographs of past Auditors. When the 1901 photograph of Missouri State Auditor William Wilder sustained damage, the conservators provided treatment.
Two “raised lettering” volumes of an 1880 Bible from the Wolfner Library were cleaned and mold was removed before they were sent to Washington, DC, for exhibition. Raised lettering was a precursor to the Braille system.
Gasconade County Historical Society discovered the foundational deed for the City of Hermann, written on parchment. LR conservators helped the Society negotiate with a local conservator and fabricated this customized housing.
Conservators also treated these items from local and state government offices:
- City of Ava: aerial photos, street and sewer drawings, undated
- Callaway County Circuit Court: State of Missouri v. Celia, a slave (dated 1855-1856) and State of Missouri v. Mat, a slave (dated 1855)
- Jackson County Circuit Court: Wyllys C Ransom v. George Caleb Bingham, September 1866 Term
- Missouri Department of Natural Resources: 1864 muster roll (26th Missouri Infantry Company E)
- Palmyra City Clerk: Former City Hall Building Plans (1895)
- Palmyra City Clerk: Plat of Palmyra (1860)
- Ray County Circuit Clerk: List of Rebel Troops from Ray Co. (1866), Kincaid v. Yates (1870), and James Crowley v. Henry Duffy (1879)
- St. Charles Circuit Court: 80 documents dated 1836-39
- St. Louis County Department of Parks & Recreation: 1832 Revolutionary War Pension Certificate
The conservators also completed treatment on the following items from the Missouri State Archives. Many of these were treated in preparation for the Civil War exhibit that is scheduled to open in April 2010,
- Cole County Land Plat Books, Index, and Government Lot Sales (1823)
- 1862 St. Francis Co. Petition 68th EMM Regimental
- 1863 order, Gamble to Neill
- 1863 Douglas to A.G. concerning return of slaves to owners
- 1863 Parsons to Gray asking reasons for dismissal
- letter with signature of Wm. T. Sherman (1863)
- Jekyl to Governor Gamble (1863)
- 1864 history of Company C, 34th Regiment, EMM
- 1864 “Certificate of Decease of Officers, John Vich, EMM 3rd Regiment Co. C.
- 1864 Report of 27th Regiment Infantry Mo. Volunteers participation in Sherman’s March
- 1864 Petition to Commission A.V.E. Johnston as a major
- recommendation signed by George Caleb Bingham (1864)
- Krumsick to John Grey, Rebels & Bushwackers in Franklin Co. (1864)
- 39th Reg. Inf. Mo. Vols. Regimental History with event at Centralia (1865)
- Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri, vols. 54 & 56 (1873)
- Alexandria [MO] and Warsaw [IL] map, 1879
- State of Missouri v. Marion C. Hedgepath, 1894
- Maggie Bains v. J. S. Bullock, 1895
- Inmate Register, Federal Soldier’s Home of Missouri, 1897-1903
- History of Maries County (1963)
- Missouri Official Highway Map, 1976
- a Livingston County sesquicentennial history (1981)
- Biographical Sketches of Cooper County (1998)
- Melton’s History of Cooper County (2000)
- Records of Silas B. Woodson, various dates
- An Act to Provide for Calling a State Convention
- Missouri Supreme Court, Morris v. Dyer, undated
- An Appeal to the Loyal Men of NW Mo., EMM 36th Reg. Co. C
- Special Order 69th EMM (undated)
- letter accusing Col. Wm. Moberly of misconduct (undated)
- W.C. Samuel to Gov. Gamble (undated)
- a series of Thanksgiving Proclamations (various dates)
- Missouri Supreme Court Case, Garnes v Hudson
The conservators treated several items to prepare them for digitization and access on the Missouri Digital Heritage website. During FY09, work focused on the U.S. Land Sales record books and Township School Lands record books from the State Archives collection.
Some city and county record books merely needed minor treatments, cleaning, mold remediation, and/or construction of protective enclosures, such as the Cole County Land Plat Books, Index, and Government Lot Sales (1823), 54 volumes from the Gasconade County courthouse, the Howard County Minute Book (from the City Clerk),the 1905 Rules of House and Joint Rules of Senate and House, 43rd General Assembly from the Missouri Legislative Library, Missouri State Historical Society’s Journals of the Senate of the State of Missouri, 8th & 9th General Assemblies, a panoramic photo from Stoddard County, and the State Archives’ State of Missouri v. Isham Hinson.,
As the agency developed the Missouri Digital Heritage Initiative, the conservators were increasingly called to assist in the transport of fragile glass plate negatives. They fabricated special transport housings for collections of the St. Joseph Museum, the Washington Historical Society, and the Domino Danzero collections, the latter to be showcased in the 2009-2010 Blue Book.
Microfilming & Imaging
Preservation microfilm produced
through the Local Records
Program is kept in this climate-controlled vault.
The Guidelines for Microfilming Public Records specify the minimum standards that all grant funded projects must meet, and serves as a de facto guide for localities and state agencies. The Guidelines reflect national standards as well as the advent of technologies that facilitate the migration from film to digital media. The Guidelines are available on the Archives webpage at http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/pubs/mfmg/.
With the increasing demand for digital media from clients and the public, Local Records continues to stress the unsurpassed value of microfilm as the long-term preservation method of choice. However, technological advances have made the creation of microfilm from digital images possible. With that in mind the “Statement on Acceptance of Microfilm Created from Digital Sources,” available at http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/localrecs/microfilm_acceptance.asp, specifies the criteria that microfilm created by digital sources (such as an ArchiveWriter) must meet in order to qualify for storage in the Archives' secure film vault. Often, the staff provides guidance on the use of "hybrid systems" that yield the advantages of digital technology while retaining the security of microfilm.
Local Records Inventory Database
The Local Records online database continues to support research in Missouri history. Records from courthouse and municipal offices, dating from the 19th century and including the judicial system, document the interactions of government and citizens. While originally created for a specific administrative or legal use, the documents now contribute to our understanding of persons, events, themes, and institutions.
Since its inception, the Local Records Program has completed over 460 computerized inventories for offices in 106 of 114 counties and the City of St. Louis, giving local officials intellectual control of their records and the ability to plan for preservation and security of public information, while protecting the public interests of access and use. This enormous database is available to local governments and the public. This database is updated periodically as additional inventories are completed. During FY2009, the Local Records Inventory Database registered 71,058 web page searches. This database can be found online at http://www.sos.mo.gov/CountyInventory/index.asp.
The Cape Girardeau County Archive Center,
supported by the county commission, grew out
of a long-time partnership with the Local
Records Center Planning
Each year, more localities begin exploring the creation or modification of space for records storage and preservation of their permanent records. Often, local officials launch such explorations because of the shortage of space in the courthouse or city hall. To provide basic guidance and a starting point for planning and discussions, the conservation staff developed an online resource, Preservation Concerns in Planning a Records Center.
In recent years Local Records staff has had consultation with Boone, Buchanan, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Cass, Clay, Cole, Dekalb, Dunklin, Gasconade, Greene, Howell, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Morgan, New Bloomfield, Phelps, Stoddard, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francis, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, and Webster counties, as well as Kansas City and St. Louis City officials about record center planning and operations.
Missouri state law (RSMo chapter 109) governs the retention and destruction schedules of public documents. Local Records staff analyzes records series produced by local governments based on their current and long-term administrative, fiscal, legal, and historical values and submits detailed appraisals in the form of draft records retention schedules to the Local Records Board for review and promulgation.
In FY2009, staff completed committee work to revise the Police Schedule. There were also additions and revisions to the Sheriff, County Clerk (general, education and election), Fire, and General Schedules.The schedules for county and municipal governments and minor political subdivisions are available online at http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/localrecs/schedules/. The online retention schedules remain a great success, with annual searches increasing from 81,374 in FY2008 to 100,379 searches in FY2009.
To ensure that local governments continue to receive up-to-date information regarding the management and care of their records, archivists and conservators of the Local Records program provide programs on a variety of records topics at annual statewide training conferences of executive and judicial governments, at regional city and county clerks’ organizations, and through other special programs.
The conservators offered hands-on training in mold remediation to Miller County volunteers, trained Imaging staff in handling of historic/fragile documents, and provided training for new African American and Supreme Court interns at the State Archives.
Conservator and archivists together presented a program on records management (including disaster preparedness) for the Missouri Police Chiefs Association, and a program on archival and preservation practices to the national conference of the Phylaxis Society meeting in Kansas City. Local Records archivists conducted programs highlighting our efforts to bring historical resources to the public at the following national and statewide programs: Mid-America Conference on History, Missouri Association of Circuit Clerks, Missouri Conference on History, Missouri Association of Professional Court Clerks, Missouri Preservation Conference, Midwest Archives Conference, and Society of Southwest Archivists.
Archivists also spoke at meetings of the Missouri City Clerks and Finance Officers Association, St. Louis Area Archivists, St. Louis Genealogical Society, St. Louis Civil War Roundtable, St. Louis “Discovering Your Roots” Conference, St. Charles Genealogical Society, Macon County Historical Society, Washington Historical Society, Franklin County History Fair, Northland Genealogical Society, Springfield Area Archivists, Kansas City Area Archivists, and Lindenwood University.
Local Records archivists and conservators also participated in various site visits in conjunction with Missouri Digital Heritage and the ongoing Missouri Historical Records Advisory Board strategic planning process. To this end, Local Records archivists performed record and facility appraisals for a number of organizations: Adair County Public Library, A.T. Still National Osteopathic Museum, Audrain County Museum, Blue Springs Historical Society, Emmaus Homes, Friends of Historic Boonville, Harlin Museum, Iron County Historical Society, James Memorial Library, Lindenwood University, Missouri Institute of Natural Science, Morgan County Historical Society, Nathan Boone Historic Site, Ozark Heritage Center, Perry County Museum, Riverside Regional Library, St. Joseph Museum, Saxon Lutheran Memorial, Shoal Creek Living History Museum, Southeast Missouri State University Archives/Special Collections, Springfield-Greene County History Museum, Stars and Stripes Museum, Stoddard County Archives, Stoddard County Museum, Webster University Library, West Plains Public Library, and Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.
The conservation staff provides technical preservation information to the State Archives, state and local government offices, archives and historical societies that house public records, and Missouri citizens. Providing information about disaster planning and recovery is common. Conservators provided guidance on the following topics to the following organizations:
- archives planning: consultation with Central United Church of Christ (Jefferson City); also installed temperature/humidity monitors and performed data analysis to ascertain best storage area
- conservation of older microfilm: Missouri University of Science & Technology
- custom housing for historic records: Jefferson County Recorder
- disaster preparedness/recovery: City of Rolla, District of Columbia, Hickory County Clerk, Still National Osteopathic Museum
- environmental control and space planning: St. Francois County
- environmental control assessment: Bonniebrook Historical Society, Tower Grove Park
- humidification and flattening: St. Charles Circuit Court
- longevity of artists’ media: England
- microfilming equipment: Adair County Library
- mold: Springfield-Greene Co. History Museum
- neutralizing smoke smell from artifacts: A.T. Still Museum (KCOM)
- pamphlet/paperback binding: Missouri State Archives
- pest control: Missouri State Archives & Springfield-Greene County History Museum
- preservation planning: Kansas City Metro Community College
- purchasing microfilm readers: Adair County Library
- record center planning: technical information and specifications to the State Records Management Division about construction of a new state records center
- referral to conservators: private citizens, UMSL/Mercantile Library
- temperature/humidity control: Missouri State Archives/St. Louis
- means of secure transport of Dred Scott case to Chicago (St. Louis Circuit Court Clerk)
- treatment options for a parchment land patent: Greene Co. Archives
Conservators were asked to assess condition and preservation needs of the legislative photo montages hanging in the State Capitol.
Conservation staff also provided consultations and letters of support for two institutions seeking NEH grant support. Both the A.T. Still Museum (KCOM) and Lutheran Heritage Center (Altenburg) subsequently received awards from the NEH Preservation Assistance Grants program.
The conservators maintain lists of vendors offering preservation services and supplies at http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/localrecs/grants/fy2010/Vendors_Information.pdf. The conservators continued to recommend additions to the vendor pages.
The conservators routinely offer educational tours of the conservation lab. During the year, the conservators provided such tours to staff members of the DNR Land Survey office, Jackson County Recorder, University of Missouri, and Westminster College.
Johnson County volunteers celebrate their
partnership with the Local Records Program.
Volunteers and Interns
Local Records field archivists, in cooperation with local public officials, attracted dozens of volunteers to cooperate in preserving historic executive and judicial records. Several projects were advanced thanks to the work of citizens in Boone, Butler, Cedar, Cooper, Franklin, Gasconade, Howell, Jasper, Johnson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Osage, Polk, Ray, and St. Charles counties. Some 63 volunteers from historical and genealogical societies contributed over 5,710 hours in FY2009. Since FY2004, civic-minded volunteers have given in excess of 30,970 hours to Local Records projects.
In the past, the Local Records Program offered students in publicly funded colleges and universities the opportunity to explore career possibilities in the archives and records management fields. Due to budget considerations, in FY2009, this program was suspended.
The conservation lab received some staffing assistance during the year. An intern was identified who had good hand-skills, and she worked in the lab from September 2008 to May 2009 to help prepare materials for imaging and migration to the MDHI site.
Lincoln University was one of several historically black colleges that received grant funds to preserve photographic collections. Since Lincoln had a shortage of space, the Missouri State Archives allowed the two photograph preservation specialists to use space in the conservation lab from September to October 2008. The exchange of information was beneficial to both organizations.
Local Records Board
The Local Records Board serves as the coordinating board to establish retention schedules for all local governments. The Board derives its authority from RSMo 109.230 and 109.255.
Jo Ann Cordsiemon
Sullivan County Clerk
Grundy County Clerk
Richmond City Clerk
Howell County Historical Society