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
October 1864
General Sterling Price's Army of Missouri advances on Kansas City, is dealt a crippling blow at the Battle of Westport near the present-day Country Club Plaza, and faces possible annihilation at Mine Creek and Newtonia. Read More...


This Week in Kansas City History

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Gettysburg of the West

General Sterling Price

October 23, 1864: Confederate and Union forces battle in Westport, on the grounds of the present-day Country Club Plaza, resulting in a Union Army victory when the Confederate forces flee south.

Missouri Valley Sundays


Beatles Invade KC, 1964 - 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.


Union Station’s Centennial - Jeffrey Spivak
Sunday, September 28, 2014 - 2:00 p.m.
Central Library
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In observance of the centennial, Jeffrey Spivak draws from his 1999 book, Union Station, Kansas City, in discussing the station’s history, controversial adaptive reuse, and role in future transit and civic plans. Now, a senior market analyst at Black & Veatch, Spivak spent more than 23 years as a civic affairs reporter for The Kansas City Star.

Great Songs of WWI - Michael Lasser
Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 2:00 p.m.
Plaza Branch
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Before the birth of Kansas City jazz, the musical community served up ragtime and blues. In 1917, the military-themed anthem “Over There” became a nationwide hit following America’s entry into the war. Peabody Award-winning radio personality Michael Lasser explores the popular songs inspired by World War I, many of which we still hum today.

Stained Glass Treasures: Windows of Kansas City - Bruce Mathews
Sunday, October 19, 2014 - 2:00 p.m.
Central Library
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Not only is Kansas City home to world-class art museums, outstanding performing arts venues, and some of the planet’s best barbecue, it also boasts superb works of stained glass created by both world-renowned craftsmen and gifted local artisans. The windows provide a colorful palette of our largely black and white past, often capturing fascinating stories about Kansas City’s historic buildings, their builders, and their patrons. Professional photographer and local historian Bruce Mathews examines these treasured examples of the multifaceted art form and the history behind them at the launch event for his new book, Windows of Kansas City: As Art, History and Inspiration.