KC Public Library Blog

Separate but Equal?

Dr. Thomas C. Unthank (1866-1932)

March 2, 1930: After much political maneuvering over its location, the new—and remarkably high-quality, albeit segregated—General Hospital No. 2 opens to serve Kansas City's African American community.

Program Notes: Dodge City (1939)

Dodge City movie poster

Depending upon how you choose to view it, Dodge City is either a quintessential Western or a shameless collection of cowboy clichés. Most of all it features the cinematic three-way of director Michael Curtiz and stars Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland.

Conventional Wisdom

The first Convention Hall

February 22, 1899: Local leaders celebrate as Kansas City gets a building large enough to accommodate large crowds with the opening of Convention Hall, built at a cost of $225,000.

Program Notes: Gulliver’s Travels (1939)

Gulliver’s Travels movie poster

Nobody remembers who came in second. Perhaps that explains why just about everyone has forgotten Gulliver’s Travels. Released in 1939, it was only the world’s second feature-length animated film.

Library Life

Hoopla Digital is Here

hoopla digital

The Kansas City Public Library is offering a new, refreshingly quick — and free — way to get music, television shows, movies, and audiobooks.

Program Notes: Wuthering Heights (1939)

Wuthering Heights movie poster

Happy sets do not always result in happy movies. Nor do miserable sets invariably produce cinematic dreck. For proof of that one need look no further than the career of William Wyler, one of the most prolific and honored filmmakers ever.

A Tribute to Shirley Temple Black

Shirley Temple in The Little Princess (1939)

Shirley Temple Black died this week at age 85. It’s a good time to look back over her life and career, a task made simpler by the materials available for checkout from the Kansas City Public Library.

Death of a Visionary

Jesse Clyde Nichols

February 16, 1950: Jesse Clyde Nichols, who developed the Country Club Plaza and many housing developments throughout Kansas City, dies just six months before his 70th birthday at his Kansas City home.

Book Reviews

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

Many Germans accepted the rise of National Socialism — Nazism — and Adolf Hitler. Other individuals worked against him, and many paid with their lives. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of them.

Monumental Undertaking

Liberty Memorial

February 9, 1920: The City Council approves a plan to build Kansas City’s Liberty Memorial on the property south of Union Station.

Program Notes: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame movie poster

RKO's prodcution of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is not only the best version of the tale ever committed to celluloid, it’s a remarkable artistic achievement – hugely emotional, entertaining, and filled with great performances.

2013 Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

The children of Missouri have spoken, selecting Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons as the winner of the 2013 Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award.

Book Reviews

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen

Bad Monkey

What do you get when you combine a Florida health inspector, an unidentified hairy left arm, a crazy Bahamian voodoo witch, and a formerly famous primate with serious behavioral issues? You get Carl Hiaasen’s quirky mystery novel, Bad Monkey.

The Worst Fire in Kansas City History

Postcard of the Coates House Hotel

January 28, 1978: Flames engulf the Coates House Hotel, destroying much of the building and causing the worst loss of life by fire in Kansas City history.

Program Notes: The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)

The Man in the Iron Mask movie poster

The Man in the Iron Mask is the sort of rousing historical swashbuckler that Hollywood turned out with regularity during its so-called Golden Era. It's also the last great gasp in the career of director James Whale.