Kansas City, MO

Local history can be found at Missouri Valley Special Collections in downtown Kansas City

CJ Coombs

The Kansas City Public Library in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.Nightryder84, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The oldest and one of the largest public library systems can be found in downtown Kansas City, Missouri's Central Library.

This library houses special collections in the Missouri Valley Room. There, you can find a lot of information associated with Kansas City's history. For example, you can find old published news articles on microfilm available for downloading onto a thumb drive, or printing.

The first experience I had with the Missouri Valley Room and the helpful staff was during a search for newspaper articles dating back to 1941 on a research project.

There are other types of published materials you can find there including photographs and postcards too of historical significance. There's also a large digital collection you can browse on its website.

The Missouri Valley Special Collections was created in 1960 and became the go-to place to find information about Kansas City's history. It's on the fifth floor of the Central Library.

It is dedicated to the memory of Dr. William Stone Woods (1840-1917), chairman of the National Bank of Commerce (present-day Commerce Bank) and a major benefactor to many regional causes including William Woods College in Fulton, Missouri. (Source.)

The Missouri Valley Special Collections was established in 1960. From 1913 to 1940, there used to be an organization of people devoted to capturing and preserving the history of Kansas--they were part of the Missouri Valley Historical Society.

The Society’s first president was lumber magnate John Barber White. His personal papers and library of more than 5,000 history and genealogy books were donated to the Library in 1933 and later incorporated into the Missouri Valley Special Collections, as were records of the historical society. (Source.)

Since I have collected postcards for years, it was interesting to learn that there is a postcard collection there of more than 16,000 postcards which are part of a postcard collection that belonged to Mrs. Sam Ray. She donated her collection in 1996.

At the Missouri Valley Room and the Missouri Valley Special Collections, there is so much history waiting for you to explore!

Thanks for reading!

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms, and I retired early so I could be a writer all day. You could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri because I was born into the Air Force life. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO

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