Archival Collections

AOA_Messenger_1926The Archival Collections held at the Archives & Museum of Optometry include the Association's institutional records, governance documents, publications and ephemera; state affiliate records, publications and other material; records and publications from other national optometric associations; and assembled collections on the profession of optometry, public health, government documents, and other disciplines, subjects and organizations of broad interest to optometry.  

Within these collections are series of material or types of media, such as photographs, oral histories, film collections and periodicals that may be of special interest to researchers.  We are in the process of making these materials available digitally or creating quick-reference lists of our holdings while we construct more detailed finding aids.  The Archives also maintains a library of books and other materials that serve as guides to the collections.  Materials in the archival collections, in turn, provide reference material for the museum objects.  

As we survey, appraise and process our materials, we will continue to update the website.  Please check back frequently to see what we have uncovered!   Access to the Archival collections is by appointment. Please contact the Heritage Services Specialist, Kirsten Hébert, by email, telephone or mail at:  

The Archives & Museum of Optometry
243 North Lindbergh Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63141 (314) 983-4136   

Our Collections

American Optometric Association Records

The AOA records include materials produced in support of the Association's activities from its inception as the American Association of Opticians (1898-1909) and the American Optical Association (1910-1918) through the present.  The collection consists of administrative and governance documents such as directories, guides, manuals, meeting minutes, reports, memos, and bulletins. Other mass media and publicity materials, ephemera, educational materials, and internal publications, such as the Journal of the American Optometric Association [Optometry] and the AOA News, are also collected and housed in the Archives.  Assembled series of material collected by the International, Library, Archives & Museum of Optometry staff on various topics related to the Association are also included in the AOA records collection. 

American Optometric Association Washington Office Records

The AOA Washington Office records are institutional records created in support of the Association's national affairs and advocacy activities.  These materials consist of directories, guides, manuals, meeting and conference minutes, reports, bulletins, memos, correspondence, statistics, surveys, patents and copyrights, publications and other material.  These records were not originally housed at the Archives, but rather have been transferred in their original arrangement from the Washington office at irregular intervals.

State Optometric Associations

The Archives holds a collection of materials related to state affiliate associations as well as non-affiliated local optometric associations and societies.  These materials include collected administrative and governance records of state affiliates including directories, reports, meeting minutes, correspondence and memos.  The collection also includes manuals, guidelines, educational material, newsletters and other publications as well materials related to celebrations, awards, councils, committees, congresses, workshops and other meetings.  Records of the State Boards of Examiners in Optometry are also included in this collection.

Allied Optometric Associations

This collection includes records and other material created by or assembled on national optometric associations, societies, and clubs in the United States.  Materials in this collection include histories, directories, awards and fellowships, conference, committee, commission, council, and other meeting minutes and records, curricula, programs, reports, guidelines, statistics and other documents.

Optometry as a Profession--The Eye and Vision

This assembled collection created by the Library staff prior to 2009 includes materials related to the history of optometry and optics. Included in this collection are early periodicals and ophthalmic publications, educational and practice management materials, information on clinics and vision care centers, surveys and statistics, inventions (patents) and original research, personal and professional papers, oral histories, and ephemera such as awards, medals, citations and honors.  Materials documenting the public, private and official positions on optometry, optometric practice, education, ethics and legislation are also included in this collection.

Foreign [International] Optometry

The International Library, Archives, and Museum of Optometry assembled materials on non-US or international optometric entities including associations, societies, committees, councils, commissions, and clubs as well as schools, clinics and vision centers, and educational institutions.  Also included in this collection are publications, materials related to foreign legislation on optometry, and proceedings from international meetings and congresses.  ILAMO staff also collected materials on inventors, manufacturers and distributors of ophthalmic devices and instruments around the world.

Other Health Professions--Public Health & Welfare

This assembled collection includes materials on public health optometry and allied health service professions with an emphasis on theory, practice, research and policy.  ILAMO staff compiled documents and other material created by associations, educational institutions, public health and community health service agencies and organizations representing health care providers.  Material in this collection includes reports, studies, theses and dissertations and other research, monographs, policy documents, legislation, symposia and conference proceedings, manuals and guidebooks, publications, and ephemera.  This collection also includes catalogs and historical material on U.S. optical manufacturers and distributors, and scientific optics.

Other Disciplines, Subjects, Organizations and Matters of Broad Interest to Optometry

This assembled collection contains a broad selection of materials created by organizations, individuals and other entities involved in a variety of activities related to (non-medical or health-related) natural, social and behavioral sciences, technology, education, religion, philosophy and philanthropy.  Materials selected are of interest to optometry and include standards and guidelines, manuals, publications and manuscripts, and other media dealing with occupational and public health and safety, public education, social analysis and theory, and philanthropic endeavors.

United States Government Documents

This collection includes government documents related to the practice and regulation of optometry and the provision of optometric services.  Documents in this collection were generated by the  executive, legislative and judicial branches and their agencies as well as  independent, state and local government agencies.  Materials in this collection include publications, proposals, manuals, statistics, proceedings and minutes, reports, assessments, testimonies, regulations,  and other legislation.  Subject areas include health policy, programs, commissions and councils, education and credentialing, labor/manpower, and campaigns.