Local history & genealogy

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. NOTE: you must access Ancestry from within a Kansas City Public Library location.

This Month in the Civil War on the Western Border

This Month in the Civil War on the Western Border
February 1865
An artist from Kansas paints his experiences of the war, a resident of Hickman's Mill, Missouri, shares information about the town's residents, and another resident describes conditions in Independence, Missouri.


This Week in Kansas City History

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End of the Marriage Penalty

Carolyn Farwell Fuller

March 2, 1944: Due to a wartime shortage of teachers, the Kansas City school board allows married women to teach.

Missouri Valley Sundays

Tales of the Historic West Bottoms - Steve Noll
Sunday, March 15, 2015 - 2:00 p.m.
Central Library
RSVP now!

Kansas City’s West Bottoms, the lowland bordered by rugged cliffs and the Missouri and Kansas rivers, provided the spark for a rugged cowtown to become an urban metropolis. Publisher Steve Noll draws from his personal collection of historic postcards and from Cowtown: Cattle Trails and West Bottom Tales, a new book by Edward T. Matheny, Jr., in recounting an epic story - how cowboys, stockyards commission men, meatpackers, railroaders, and assorted hangers-on formed a vibrant, now-vanished West Bottoms community. This new book is an innovative collaboration among a local author, the Jackson County Historical Society, and Woodneath Press, a new publishing service developed by the Mid-Continent Public Library.