KC History

Post Date: Wed, October 13, 2021

The Missouri Valley Room at the Central Library is home to more than 200 special collections of archival materials documenting the history and development of the Kansas City area. For #AskAnArchivist Day on October 13, we asked our Missouri Valley Special Collections team for the some of the most common questions they receive from patrons.  #AskAnArchivist Day is part of American Archives Month in October, when archives across the country come together to raise public awareness about the importance of historic documents and records.
 

Post Date: Thu, March 28, 2019

Is Kansas City the home of baseball's original fans? The almanac On This Day in America credits a local newspaper, presumably The Star or The Times, with making the first-ever reference to the sport's followers as "fans" in March 1889. We investigated the claim.
 

Post Date: Fri, August 9, 2019

This week marks 43 years since Ralph Steadman visited a muggy Kansas City to cover the 1976 Republican National Convention for Rolling Stone magazine. Twelve of Steadman’s inimitable drawings ultimately were published alongside John Dean’s first-person story, “Rituals of the Herd.” Six of them - and six more Steadman illustrations from his time in Kansas City - are part of the traveling exhibit, Ralph Steadman: A Retrospective, on display at the Library’s Central Library through September 8, 2019.

In 2016, the Library marked the 40th anniversary of the ’76 Convention with a special exhibit, Republican Showdown in Kansas City,  which included several pieces from the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections. The MVSC houses a number of artifacts from the convention and, in conjunction with its 43rd anniversary and the Steadman retrospective, we thought we’d showcase a bit of both.
 

Post Date: Tue, August 16, 2022

Over a century after his birth and nearly 70 years after his death, jazz saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker remains one of Kansas City’s favorite sons. The Library helps to memorialize Parker’s genius through the website CharlieParkersKC.org, created in collaboration with KC Jazz ALIVE and Marr Sound Archives Director Chuck Haddix. The site highlights Parker’s deep connections to Kansas City and its Depression-era jazz scene through locations associated with the musician.

Post Date: Fri, October 7, 2022

In celebration of KC Oktoberfest, the Library's Missouri Valley Special Collections highlights the city’s German American and beer brewing history. Learn about two prominent families who made names for themselves in the brewing industry -- the Muehlebachs and the Heims -- and about how a 19th-century German biergarten and amusement park occupied the site of today’s Crown Center. Attending the event? Stop by the Library's booth and pick up a set of cards that showcase these three sudsy stories from our city's past.
 

Post Date: Fri, January 31, 2020

Each year, the Library partners with the Local Investment Commission (LINC) and the Black Archives of Mid-America to produce a series of Black History Month materials celebrating the legacies and accomplishments of notable African-Americans from the Kansas City area. The individuals featured in the 2020 series all helped break down barriers in our community, elevating and inspiring others then and now. Read on to learn more about their achievements.
 

Post Date: Mon, November 12, 2018

The Library is currently migrating its large collection of digital historic images to a new software platform. An unfortunate consequence of our data migration is that we need to take the entire collection offline for about two months while the work is completed.

Post Date: Wed, March 10, 2021

Throughout March, the Library commemorates Women's History Month by lifting up stories, achievements, and experiences past and present. Explore book recommendations, watch online events, and discover how local women helped shape Kansas City’s history.
 

Post Date: Tue, March 1, 2022

Throughout March, the Library commemorates Women's History Month by lifting up stories, achievements, and experiences past and present. Explore book recommendations, watch online events, and discover how local women helped shape Kansas City’s history.
 

Post Date: Wed, June 15, 2022

The Library and two institutional partners – the Local Investment Commission (LINC) and the Black Archives of Mid-America – are being honored with the nation’s top award for the preservation of state and local history. They’ll receive the American Association for State and Local History’s Award of Excellence, recognizing their multifaceted 2021 Kansas City Black History project. It features a 44-page publication highlighting Black trailblazers, barrier breakers, and history makers in the city and the surrounding area, along with a companion website offering lesson plans, Black history programming, and other related content. 
 

Post Date: Mon, July 20, 2020

The Missouri Valley Room in the Central Library is now accepting appointments for visitors to conduct special collections research. Learn more about the guidelines and how to schedule a session.
 

Post Date: Mon, August 9, 2021

Two hundred years ago, on August 10, 1821, Missouri officially became the 24th state. From this year’s Homegrown Stories Summer Reading Program and our Missouri Valley Special Collections to recommended reading and online events, the Kansas City Public Library has many ways to celebrate the Show-Me State’s bicentennial.

Post Date: Mon, February 1, 2021

Each year, the Library partners with the Local Investment Commission (LINC) and the Black Archives of Mid-America to produce a Black History Month booklet celebrating the legacies and accomplishments of notable African Americans who blazed trails, broke barriers, led and left a mark on Kansas City history. The special 2020-21 edition, Kansas City Black History: The African American story of history and culture in our community, compiles the stories of more than 70 influential figures — with new essays from several local contemporary voices.
 

Post Date: Tue, June 29, 2021

Henry Perry, the man who first assumed the title of Barbecue King of Kansas City, was born on March 16, 1874, in Shelby County, Tennessee. By 1908, he was in Kansas City selling smoked meats to downtown workers from a stand in the Garment District, eventually relocating to the east side at 17th and Lydia before landing at his famed 19th and Highland location. July 3 is Henry Perry Day in Kansas City; we take a moment to explore Henry Perry’s life and career through an article printed in the February 26, 1932, edition of The Call.
 

Post Date: Thu, June 30, 2022

Henry Perry, the man who first assumed the title of Barbecue King of Kansas City, was born on March 16, 1874, in Shelby County, Tennessee. By 1908, he was in Kansas City selling smoked meats to downtown workers from a stand in the Garment District, eventually relocating to the east side at 17th and Lydia before landing at his famed 19th and Highland location. July 3 is Henry Perry Day in Kansas City; we take a moment to explore Henry Perry’s life and career through an article printed in the February 26, 1932, edition of The Call.
 

Post Date: Wed, March 20, 2019

As Kansas City International Airport breaks ground on a new terminal on March 25, 2019,  the Library's Missouri Valley Special Collections provides a window seat to the city's aviation past.
 

Post Date: Wed, October 11, 2017

The Kansas City Public Library, National World War I Museum and Memorial, and Kansas City Museum offered a unique glimpse into our city’s past by organizing a “history crawl” walking tour along a portion of the Main Street corridor downtown. The approximately two-mile tour, led by preservation consultant and architectural historian Cydney Millstein, began at the Central Library near 10th and Main, and wrapped up at the Liberty Memorial at the National World War I Museum.
 

Post Date: Thu, October 3, 2019

It’s fall, y’all, and the Library is kicking off the Halloween season with a monstrously good mashup of haunted local history tales, scary story recommendations, spooky special events, and frightfully fun family festivities.