Video: What's "The Kansas City Spirit?"

In 1951, as Kansas City was recovering from a devastating flood, Hallmark founder Joyce Hall asked Norman Rockwell to create an image that would forever capture the Kansas City Spirit.

That Spirit, Hall wrote, is the “good in men's hearts that makes them put service above self and accomplish the impossible.” Rockwell painted a now-iconic image of a man, grasping blueprints and rolling up his sleeve, looking over his shoulder at an imagined future.

That image is at the heart of a new book, The Kansas City Spirit: Stories of Service Above Self, which will be discussed on Thursday, October 4, 2012, at the Central Library, at 6:30 p.m. (RSVP to attend)

The Kansas City Spirit existed long before Rockwell’s painting.

Many believe the “Kansas City Spirit” was first evoked upon the completion of the Hannibal Bridge in 1869. The first bridge to cross the Missouri River, the mile-long bridge established Kansas City as a railroad hub and major city in the Midwest.

The Spirit has emerged again and again over the ensuing 150 years, both in civic accomplishments and in natural disasters. Most of all, it has been seen in the many men and women who have put others first and worked for the good of Kansas City.

Published by Kansas City Star Books, The Kansas City Spirit blends lovingly penned biographies of great Kansas Citians with stories of the events that shaped our city. For the video below, we spoke with three of the book’s co-authors (Bruce Mathews, Mamie Hughes, and the Kansas City Museum’s Christopher Leitch) about what the Kansas City Spirit means to them and their city.

Be sure to join us Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, for a presentation on The Kansas City Spirit: Stories of Service Above Self, featuring the authors in the video, plus Andrew Kaplan, Lynn Mackle, Carol Powers and Kansas City Public Library Director Crosby Kemper III, who wrote the book’s foreword.

About the Author

Jason Harper is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library.
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