Libraries & Special Collections > Services and Fees

Research Services and Fees

Reference Policy

While we hope that you will be able to visit our reading rooms in person, we recognize that some researchers require access to our materials but are unable to travel to Des Moines or Iowa City. 

There is no charge to request that our reference staff check our card catalogs to determine if we have resources available for your topic.  You may contact us with this type of question via e-mail, telephone, or mail.

Research Request

If you wish to know specific information contained in one of our items such as a specific newspaper article, a specific name in a book, or information on a specific event we require a basic research fee.  A payment of $15 is required in advance before we can begin your request.  Please note this fee covers up to 30 minutes searching time, up to 10 photocopies and postage if we are able to find anything.  Additional research, copy, and postage fees will be billed as necessary.

Download: PDF DocumentResearch Request Form

Please Do Please Don't
  • Write legibly.
  • Include your name and address.
  • Ask a specific question about a single individual or event.
  • Provide a date and location (city or county) of event.
  • Provide type of record you are looking for.
  • Send pedigree or family tree charts and ask for the staff to fill in the blanks.
  • Ask for “everything” we can find.
  • Send a blank check or cash through the mail.

Reference Services & Fees*

Research inquiries, minimum research charge (payment in advance)  $15.00
  • Includes up to 30 minutes of staff time, up to 10 photocopies, and postage/handling.
Research inquiries, after first 30 minutes  $15.00/each additional 30 minutes
  Additional copies beyond 10 pages will be charged at $.25 per page.  
  Postage and handling will be charged in addition to research and copy fee at the following rates:  
  11-25 copies additional $1
  26-50 copies additional $2
  51-100 copies additional $3
  101-150 copies additional $4
  • Minimum research fee of $15.00 (see above) must be paid in advance.  Additional fees will be billed.  When submitting your request, please indicate the maximum amount you are willing to spend for your request.
  • Researchers with lengthy requests (over 2 hours) will be provided a listing of private researchers.
Uncertified copies of state-level death certificates for which indexing is available. View indexes of available certificates. $7.50
  • Available from the State Archives, 600 East Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50319.

Photocopy Fees

Photocopies (8 ½ x 11) $.25
Photocopies (8 ½ x 14, 11 x 17) $.50
  • All copy requests, after the first 75 copies, will be charged a $15.00 service fee for each additional increment of 75 copies
  • Maximum of 300 copies per request
Postage and Handling for photocopies by mail  
  Minimum charge, 1-15 pages $3.00
  Each additional 15 pages $1.00
FAX transmittal, per page (plus cost of photocopies) $1.00
State Archives photocopy certification of authenticity $2.50 per page in addition to standard photocopy fee

*In all cases, the State Historical Society of Iowa reserves the right to deny a request depending on condition of materials, staff availability, and in accordance with copyright restrictions.

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