Local History

Post Date: Mon, January 28, 2019

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 2019 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: Sat, February 22, 2020

One hundred years ago the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, giving women in the U.S. the hard-won right to vote. In commemoration of the centennial, the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections has produced a new coloring book profiling local women who took part in the suffrage movement. A limited number of free copies will be available at KC Library locations beginning in March 2020 for Women’s History Month. A digital edition and downloads of all the profiles can be found at kchistory.org/coloringkc.
 

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: Fri, August 14, 2020

One hundred years ago the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, giving women in the U.S. the hard-won right to vote. In commemoration of the centennial, the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections has produced a coloring book profiling local women who took part in the suffrage movement. A limited number of free copies are available at KC Library locations, and a digital edition and downloads of all the profiles can be found at kchistory.org/coloringkc.
 

Post Date: Wed, February 7, 2018

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 seven individuals featured in 2018 left indelible imprints on our community and beyond.

Post Date: Thu, March 8, 2018

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Library showcases several remarkable women who have left their mark on the Kansas City region in Coloring Kansas City: Women Who Made History, a special, limited-edition coloring book curated by the Missouri Valley Special Collections.

Post Date: Mon, August 15, 2022

Enjoy learning about the people and places that have made Kansas City what it is today? KCHistory.org, the online home of the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections, hosts a treasure trove of digitized photos, maps, postcards, and other historical materials that tell the stories of our city’s growth and development over time. For 816 Day on August 16, we’ve selected a handful of historic images and made them available as background wallpapers for your mobile phone. Free to download and use on your device, these snapshots and postcard images can give your modern tech a bit of old-school style by showing off our community’s past.

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, June 26, 2018

Kansas has seen advances in LGBT acceptance and rights over the past decade and a half that belies perceptions of one of the country’s most famously red states. Progress has come fitfully, to be sure. But it has come nonetheless, and C.J. Janovy details the advances in both attitude and deed in the Library’s latest FYI Book Club selection, No Place Like Home: Lessons in Activism from LGBT Kansas.

Post Date: Fri, July 3, 2020

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. With Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas making July 3 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: 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: Thu, January 17, 2019


The excitement at Arrowhead Stadium during the divisional playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts got Tom Solon to wondering how the stadium got its name. “I’ve always thought it was an awesome name for a stadium,” Solon writes to KCQ, a recurring feature in which The Kansas City Star, in partnership with the Kansas City Public Library, answers readers’ questions. Read on for the back story on the naming of the stadium.
 

Post Date: Thu, November 30, 2017

The Kansas City Public Library is featured in the latest C-SPAN Cities Tour, which highlights the history and literary life of a selected city.  Producers spent time with the Library in examining the history of the Stockyards District and the 1920s and '30s era in which local political boss Tom Pendergast was at the height of power. The segments aired the weekend of December 2-3, 2017, and videos are available to view online.
 

Post Date: Tue, February 1, 2022

Kansas City Black History is a new website spotlighting the contributions of Black Kansas Citians who blazed trails, broke barriers, and shaped our city’s history. Developed by the Kansas City Public LibraryLocal Investment Commission (LINC) and the Black Archives of Mid-America, the site features biographies, essays, educational resources, and additional content that celebrates the legacies and accomplishments of notable African Americans in our community.
 

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: Fri, May 29, 2020

For more than two decades, the Kansas City Landmarks Commission has donated hundreds of historical images to the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections – digital photographs and slides that contribute greatly to the MVSC’s efforts to document the city’s architectural history.

Post Date: Fri, August 5, 2022

What’s Your KCQ?, on which the Kansas City Public Library and The Kansas City Star collaborate to answer reader-submitted questions about local history, quirks, and curiosities, tackles a trio of recent inquiries:

  • A body in the old Waldo water tower?
  • The first hospital for Black patients west of the Mississippi River?
  • Before the Chiefs … the Blues?

Post Date: Tue, August 27, 2019

This installment of “What’s Your KCQ” is a story of gambling, gangsters, and geography. Reader William Renegar wanted to know, “Was there once a gambling establishment on Southwest Boulevard on the state line that was part in Kansas and part in Missouri?” There’s a story in his family about a relative, Fred Renegar, who supposedly ran a saloon on the state line before he was killed by the mob over an unsettled debt. His murder was never solved. William Renegar wondered if there was any truth to it. Our findings indicate: Yes, it’s all true.
 

Post Date: Thu, December 28, 2017

With the beginning of a new year comes the renewed commitment to shake up our usual routines. We tell ourselves we’re going to learn a new skill, take a class or two, strive to get exposed to diverse and different ideas, make healthier choices, take risks in personal and professional lives… an ambitious list of life-changing activities. Luckily, the Library is an ideal starting point to help you turn your New Year’s resolutions into real results.

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. 
 

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