Local history & genealogy

All Library locations will be closed on Monday, September 1, in observance of Labor Day.

The Missouri Valley Special Collections (MVSC) consist of the non-circulating local history and genealogy resources of the Kansas City Public Library as well as the Library’s archives. More...

Digital Gallery

Search the Digital Gallery

The Digital Gallery features images of material from the Missouri Valley Special Collections.

HeritageQuest Online

Search census data, books, periodicals, Freedman's Bank records, and more.

Civil War on the Western Border

Civil War on the Western Border

Discover the Civil War's legacy in the Greater Kansas City region.

Ancestry Library Edition

Research the history of your family with online access to historical records provided by Ancestry.com.

This Month in the Civil War on the Western Border

This Month in the Civil War on the Western Border
August 1864
Confederate Maj. Gen. Sterling Price begins organizing an army of 12,000 cavalrymen in Arkansas for an invasion of Missouri, Captain William Fowler handles questions and complaints about the draft in Missouri, and Col. Robert T. Van Horn runs for Congress. Read More...

 

This Week in Kansas City History

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Evacuation Day

Order No. 11 by George Caleb Bingham

August 25, 1863: Following William Clarke Quantrill’s devastating raid on Lawrence, Kansas, Union General Thomas E. Ewing issues Order No. 11, forcing thousands of suspected Confederate sympathizers in Missouri to evacuate the rural areas surrounding Kansas City.

Missouri Valley Sundays


  

Missouri’s German Americans During World War I - Petra DeWitt
Sunday, August 17, 2014 - 2:00 p.m.
Central Library
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How do you prove that you are a true American? Especially if you’re of German descent and your country is engaged in a desperate struggle with your ancestors’ homeland?

Historian Petra DeWitt explores the dilemma of German Americans who, at the time of World War I, made up one of the largest and most prosperous ethnic groups in Missouri. But with America’s involvement in the war, the loyalty of those citizens often was called into question and they endured government attacks on their culture and history – including an effort to ban the German language in Missouri.




Beatles Invade KC, 1964: Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! - Rick Hellman
Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 2:00 p.m.
Central Library
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Fifty years ago, in September 1964, the Beatles appeared – some say flopped – at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium. Charley Finley, controversial owner of the Kansas City Athletics baseball team, enticed the Fab Four to perform at the old ball field for a then astronomical $150,000 fee! The show barely drew 20,000 fans, and Finley lost his shirt. Rick Hellman, chronicler of the city’s music history, tells how Kansas City’s teenagers experienced a bit of rock-and-roll history during the exciting run-up and bewildering aftermath of the 31-minute concert.