For nearly three decades, journalist and educator John Tibbetts — an associate professor of film studies at the University of Kansas — has enlivened his interviews with Hollywood stars and filmmakers by creating watercolor portraits of his subjects. Invariably, his interviewees sign the paintings, leaving Tibbetts with a unique collection of personal art and famous autographs.
Before and during the Civil War, Confederate guerrillas – men like William Clarke Quantrill, “Bloody Bill” Anderson, and Frank and Jesse James – battled federal troops and Jayhawker irregulars along the Missouri-Kansas border.
That brutal era comes to life in Guerrillas in Our Midst, an original exhibit of drawings and photographs from the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections. It covers not only the war but also its aftermath, when former bushwhackers like the James brothers turned to outlawry.
Hixon transformed the field of portrait photography in Kansas City and the surrounding region during a career that spanned more than seven decades. His studios—the first in the Brady Building at 11th and Main Streets, and the second just one block west in the Baltimore Hotel—welcomed thousands of patrons throughout the 1910s and 1920s.
By 1940, Kansas City authorities had finally deposed “Boss Tom” Pendergast. In the spring of that year, teams of laborers from the Works Progress Administration began a months-long effort to produce Jackson County’s first systematic property tax assessment.
Part of their job was to photograph every taxable structure in the county. Many of those photos survive in the Missouri Valley Special Collections.
Local historian John Simonson traces the project and presents fascinating examples from this remarkable photographic record from 1940.