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Archives and Special Collections

Spiva Library

Located on the first floor of George A. Spiva Library at Missouri Southern State University, the University Archives/Special Collection Department collects, arranges, preserves, and makes accessible the institutional history of Missouri Southern State University, from its beginnings as Joplin Junior College through today.

This department also maintains special collections to preserves various local history collections. These special collections include the Daniel Stewart Collection, which contains over 1000 mining maps along with various other mining records, and the collections of Congressman Gene Taylor and Joplin Junior College alumni Arrell Gibson in addition to rare book collections, including a collection of books relating to local history.

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The department  welcomes any inquiries regarding the potential donation of personal papers, photographs, maps, books or other publications. If you have donations, here is information on how to donate to MSSU

Recently, the department selected a few archival images that follows the construction of MSSU from early on and presented  a slideshow to  celebrate MSSU's 50th Anniversary. 

Notable Collections

Arrell Gibson Collection

Dr. Gibson was a graduate of Joplin Junior College and taught at the University of Oklahoma. The Arrell Gibson Collection includes literary manuscripts, personal correspondence, photos and old letters used in his writings. Dr. Gibson also donated a large number of books on the American West and American Indian history.

Fred Hughes Collection

Mr. Hughes was the first President of the Board of Regents and Trustees of Missouri Southern. His papers cover the history of MSSU from the formation of the Four Year College Committee in 1964 to the selection of Dr. Julio Leon as institution president in 1983. In addition to his papers, Mr. Hughes donated his personal library which included many books related to the American Civil War.

Daniel Stewart Collection

Mr. Stewart worked in the Tri-State District (MO, KS, OK), as a geologist, for over 21 years. His collection consists of over 1,000 maps, reports on mining in the Tri-State District and books relating to geology and mining. The collection has a lot of information on lead and zinc mining of the area, particularly to mines operated by the American Zinc Lead and Smelting Company.

Gene Taylor Collection

This collection consists of Congressman Taylor’s papers from the years he represented Missouri’s Seventh Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Categories of materials include speeches, general correspondence, departmental correspondence, legislative correspondence, letters from government officials (including Presidents of the United States) and the Congressman’s correspondence to and from his constituents.

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