ABOUT SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center at Davenport Public Library | Main maintains extensive local history and genealogy collections
The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center collects archive and manuscript collections that relate specifically to Davenport and Scott County history. Some major collections include the Davenport Women's Club, American Legion Auxiliary – Davenport Unit No. 26, and the Ladies Industrial Relief Society. Finding aids and container lists have been created for some of these collections.
Please consult the Special Collections Center with questions about using the materials.
The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center is home to approximately 22,000 volumes of local history and genealogy books. A complete set of Davenport City directories from 1855 to the present as well as some Rock Island/Moline City directories are available. The center also holds a nearly complete set of publications from the Iowa Genealogical Society and at least one county history for each of Iowa's ninety-nine counties. The genealogy collection emphasizes Scott county, Iowa resources as well as other Iowa counties, the New England states, and states on the migration routes used by those who settled in this area.
The Center also houses the 1700+ title collection of the Scott County Iowa Genealogical Society as well as the Richardson-Sloane Genealogical Library. All books are cataloged in the Library's online catalog.
Scott County, Iowa Church Resources
This pathfinder can assist you in locating valuable pieces of your family's history or researching the Scott County area using local church records. The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center has an array of materials from area churches including sacramental records, membership lists, architectural studies of historic church buildings, and images.
Keywords or phrases which may be useful to you in searching DPL's online catalog are:
- Davenport Iowa Church or Churches
- Scott County Iowa Church or Churches
- Davenport Iowa Cemeteries
Browse our shelves
Many of the local church records in our department fall between the Dewey Decimal System call numbers of SC 280 to SC 286. If you wish, you can browse our collection in person or from your home computer using these call numbers. Some of our most frequently used materials include:
- The Early churches of rural Scott County prior to 1900 (SC 280.09 Ear)
- Early church records in the Scott County Iowa Genealogical Society Library (SC 977.769 Sco v.1)
- Records of Trinity Lutheran Church, Davenport, Iowa 1870-1887 (SC 284.1 Tri)
- Membership record book for Zion Lutheran Church, Davenport, Iowa (SC MICROFILM 284.1 Zio)
- St. Margaret Church, Davenport, Iowa: transcript of baptism and death registers, 1856-1879 (SC 282.77769 St)
- St. Mary's Catholic Church, Davenport, Iowa, transcript of baptisms and deaths, 1875-1882 (SC 282.77769 St)
- St. Anthony's Catholic Church, Davenport, Iowa: deaths, 1839-1866 and baptisms, 1839-1862 (SC 282.77769 St)
- Early records of First Presbyterian Church, Davenport, Iowa (SC 285 Fir)
- Saint Katharine's Hall: a church boarding and day school for girls, Davenport, Iowa: register for the fifteenth year, 1898-1899 (SC 371.02 Sai)
- Marriage register, church of St. Anthony, Davenport, Iowa from 21 November 1839 to 9 January 1882 (SC 282.77769 Mar)
- The bibliography called Iowa History and Culture (SC 977.7 Daw) is an excellent resource for locating materials published between 1952 and 1986 and has both a personal name index and a subject index.
- The Annals of Iowa continued the bibliography through the 1990's.
- Palimpsest, although not in our catalog, is present in our collection and has an index ready to spur you on to further reading about churches in our area.
The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center maintains a diverse photographic collection including unique images of many area churches. Listed below are just a few examples of images in the collection along with dates, church address and image number.
- First Baptist Church of LeClaire (1880s) Dodge Street, LeClaire, Iowa VM89-000824
- Sacred Heart Cathedral 422 E. 10th St., Davenport, Iowa Free/Hostetler Collections
- St. Anthony's Catholic Church (1890s) 407 Main Street Davenport, Iowa VM89-001450
- Trinity Episcopal Church (1880s) 620 Brady Street, Davenport, Iowa VM89-001141
- Jewish Synagogue Free/Hostetler Collections
- Methodist Episcopal Church (1870s) 107 14th St. East, Davenport, Iowa VM89-001142
- Old Methodist Church of LeClaire (1980s) LeClaire, Iowa VM89-000823
- First Presbyterian Church (c. 1899) 1702 Iowa Street, Davenport, Iowa VM89-001089
- The Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive is an online visual collection of historic images from area repositories. You can search the database using the keyword "church". Images are in the process of being added, so check often. The website is located at http://www.umvphotoarchive.org
Records on Microfilm—Not yet cataloged
Local church records on microfilm can be viewed and images can be printed from them. Parish records often include membership lists, baptisms, marriages and deaths that can be particularly useful for the pre-1880 time period. Our uncataloged microfilm collection includes records from:
- Grandview Baptist Church
- St. Anthony's Catholic Church
- St. Joseph's Catholic Church
- Edwards Congregation Church
- Trinity Episcopal Church
- Trinity Lutheran Church
- Zion Lutheran Church
- First Presbyterian Church
- Unitarian Church
The newspaper archives index provides access to significant church events and also includes a series called "Walk Amid the Churches" published during 1889. Following is a sampling of indexed items:
- "Almost Forgotten Churches" 23Nov1903 p.8 Democrat
- "Pioneer Princeton Church" 30May1943 p.2 Democrat
- "Tri-City Churches" 25Nov1905 p.8 Times
- "St. Mary's Catholic Church" 18Aug1869 p.4 Times
- "Christian Church" 9Sep1889 p.4 Times
In a study done in 1981 the following Davenport churches were deemed historic properties of significance. Requesting the architectural survey from the Staff Desk in the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center can access detailed information.
- Swedish Baptist Church
- Immaculate Conception Academy
- Sacred Heart Cathedral
- St. Ambrose Academy
- St. Mary's Church, Rectory and School
- Berea Congregational Church
- First Methodist Church
- St. John's Methodist Church
- Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
- German Methodist Episcopal Church
- First Presbyterian Church
- Presbyterian Church
Listed below have been previewed and selected for this topic.
The Davenport Public Library serves as the officially designated archives for the City of Davenport. Some of the City's historical records have been transferred to the Special Collections to provide better preservation of and access to these materials. Some major collections of City records include Parks Department Records, City Council minutes and proceedings; Davenport Bridge Commission records and minutes, and Davenport Levee Commission records. Davenport Building permits dating from about 1923 to about 1970 have been microfilmed and are also available. Archive collections for which finding aids have been created are listed below. Click on the link to view the finding aid. Please contact the Center staff for additional details about our holdings.
The Center has maps, plats and atlases that provide information about Davenport and Scott County. Some highlights include:
- Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for 1886, 1892 (on microfiche) 1910, and 1956.
- Copies of early Scott County plat maps
The collection has very few maps of the City of Davenport that pre-date 1900.
Please contact The Center with specific requests.
Local newspapers are an important resource for both local history and genealogy research. The Special Collections Center has at least one newspaper title for Davenport from 1838 to the present. We don't hold every title for every possible date but have at least one title for this time period. Indexing for local newspapers has been done in a variety of formats for a variety of time periods, some of which are available through our Local Database Search.
Funding for microfilming and the purchase of several of these publications was provided by the Riverfront Development Authority.
Combined, these newspapers cover local news from 1838 to the present. Indexes are available in various formats, many of which were created by members of The Scott County Iowa Genealogical Society. Active indexing continues. Online Resources include a subscription database with local and national newspapers. The Chronicling America website from the Library of Congress and many independent sites are also accessible to users. Most titles are on microfilm, however some are only available in hard copy, and do not have complete runs. Runs of high school and college newspaper publications are also available in a variety of formats.
Davenport IA Newspapers1838-current Various titles published daily, weekly, morning, or evening including:
- The Gazette
- Davenport Democrat and Leader
- Davenport Daily Times
- Quad City Times
Various titles published daily and weekly
County | Regional | State | National
- 1933-1943 Scott County Tribune [IA]
- 1968-2018 North Scott Press [IA]
- 1941-2014 Catholic Messenger [IA]
- 1986-2008 Leader [Moline IL]
- 1850-1880 Muscatine [IA] various titles
- 1856-1901 Clinton [IA] various titles
- 1860-1865 Burlington [IA] various titles
- 1860-1985 Wheatland [IA] various titles
- 1861-1922 DeWitt [IA] various titles
- 1884-1992 Port Byron Globe [IL]
- 1963-2017 Des Moines Register [IA]
- 1851-2014 New York Times [IA]
- Online databases for obituaries, marriage announcements, or the Gazette and other Davenport newspapers.
- Newspaper Card File: Roughly 1950 to 1991, with gaps and some earlier dates. Articles indexed by subject heading.
- Abstracted Names from the Davenport, Iowa, Democrat and Leader (SC 977.769 Abs): Indexes the names of Scott County residents that appeared in the Davenport Democrat & Leader between 1896-1946. The events indexed are for births, marriage licenses and marriages, deaths and funerals, divorces, guardianship information, adoptions, anniversaries, will and estate announcements, and special events.
- North Scott Press Index (SC977.769 Nor): Indexes Births, Engagements, Marriages, and Deaths for 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, and 1991-1997.
- 1896-1946: Abstracted Names Index (see above)
- 1950-1959: Obituary Notices from the Davenport Democrat (SC 977.769 Mar)
- 1990-1999: Obituary Index for the Quad-City Times (SC 977.769 Obi)
- 2000-2004: Obituary Index for the Quad-City Times (SC 977.769 Obi)
- 2005-2016: Death Index Rock Island IL and Davenport IA Areas
- Des Moines Register Index (SC 071 Des) 1982-1987)
- Des Moines Register Index (microfiche) 1987-1992
- Des Moines Register Index (online) 1991 to 1999
- New York Times Index (SC 071 New) 1927 - present
Special Collections Staff and volunteers have conducted a number of oral history projects. We have interviewed local authors, former residents and staff of the Annie Wittenmyer Home (also known as the Iowa Soldier's Orphan's Home), and faculty, staff and students of Marycrest University.
The largest project to date has been the World War II/Korean War Oral History project. This Riverboat Development Authority-funded project resulted in over 75 interviews conducted with local residents about their experiences on both the homefront and in combat during World War II and the Korean War. Transcriptions of many interviews are available and researchers can listen to the taped interviews at the Library.
Please contact the Special Collections Center for details.
Photograph collections at the Center contain approximately 60,000 images of Davenport, Scott County and Quad-City area people and places. Most non-portrait images date from approximately 1920-1960. A portion of the images have been photocopied and arranged by general subject and can be browsed in the Special Collections Center. If you have specific subject requests please ask the Special Collections staff to search our in-house database.
We have a large collection of portraits from the Hostetler Studio and Free Studio in Davenport. There is a name index to most of these images available on our main search page.
The Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive
The Center participates in the Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image archive, a cooperative project that provides access to local historical photographs owned by a variety of Quad-City area libraries and historical organizations. The archive can be accessed at: http://www.umvphotoarchive.org
Copies for personal use of images owned by Davenport Public Library are available for purchase. The fee schedule is as follows:
8 x 10" prints: $10.00 each. Postage and mailing costs for print orders are $6.50 per order.
Electronic files: $10.00 per image. Postage, mailing and media costs for images on CD are $6.50 per order.
Prepayment is required. To order, please use the Image Reproduction form. We strongly recommend consulting with staff at the Special Collections Center prior to sending payment.
Davenport Public Library Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center
321 Main Street
Davenport, IA 52801
Please make checks payable to Davenport Public Library.
If you have further questions about obtaining copies of our images please contact the Special Collections Center. If you want images for publication or display purposes contact Kathryn Kuntz, Special Collections Supervisor, at 563-328-6848.
The Special Collections Center has many Scott County records, including Probate records, County Board Minutes, Land Records, Birth, Marriage and Death records.
Most County Records are either arranged alphabetically or have a running index.
The following Scott County records are available in various formats in the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center:
- Marriage Applications, 1869-1892
- Marriage Certificates, 1836-1925, some to 1935
- Marriage Records, 1838-1935, and February 1941+
- Marriage Register, 1880-1903
- Birth Records, 1880-1924 and 1941+
- Birth Returns, 1880-1927
- Death Certificates, 1880-1897 (some portions missing)
- Death Records, 1880-1919, 1921-1931, July 1941+
Please note: Birth and Death registration began in 1880 in Iowa but general compliance did not occur until later. Between 1904 - 1906, and 1920 - 1941, birth and death records were not required to be recorded with the county.
- Divorce Packets, 1854-1960
- Divorce Records, 1930- April 1973
(Indexes for 1960-1973 Divorce Records are currently only at the Scott County Courthouse)
- Administrators Bond, 1880-1885
- Executors Bond, 1887-1885
- Guardians Bond, 1873-1886
- Index 1838-1962
- Probate Appearance Docket, 1866-1927
- Probate Packets, 1838-1947
- Probate Record (transcribed), 1838-1920 and 1924-1925
- Probate Record Card Index (3 series), ca. 1870- ca. 1980
- Register of Heirs and Estates, 1865-1923
- Will Records, 1873-1895 and 1921-1926
- Wills (original), 1868- February 1930
- Probated Wills, 1926-1994
Probate Records are filed by case number. There are several printed and microfilmed Probate Indexes available. Some probate records are indexed on the main search page.
Naturalization Records (Microfilm)
- Declaration of Intention, 1856-1924
- Naturalization Documents, 1848-1906
- Naturalization records, 1856-1906
- Naturalization petition & records, 1906-1929 (Original Ledgers)
- Auditor's Office Land Transfer Books, 1871-1918
- Deed Records (lands), 1838-1885
- Deed Records (original entries), 1839-1854 and 1885-1910
- Grantor/Grantee Index- Deeds and Mortgages, 1838-1900
- Town Lot deed Records, 1855-1886
- Coroner's Reports, 1902-1957
- Historical Case Files, pre-1850
- Old Age Pension Dockets, 1934-1937
- Mother's and Widow's Pension Records
- Old Age Assistance Head Tax,1934
- Soldier's Discharge Records, World War I
- District Court Records, 1838-1844 and 1857-1901
- Property Tax Records, 1849-1906
- Criminal Case Files, 1923-1954, 1955-1960
- Criminal Case Files on CD, 1855-1933 and 1955-1979
- Law and Equity case Files, 1910-1978
- District Court Packets, pre-1877
District Court Records including Law and Equity Case files and criminal case files are indexed in the following books:
- District Court Calendar, 1855-1921. (SC 977.769 Dis)
- Scott County Iowa Numerical Index of District Court Cases Found on Microfilm (SC977.769 Sco)