About MVSC

Missouri Valley Special Collections
The Local History and Genealogy Department

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. Its mission is to preserve our area’s heritage and provide access in meaningful ways to the collections and materials.

Missouri Valley Room

Soon after its creation in 1960, when the Library moved from 9th and Locust to 12th Street, the Missouri Valley Room became the place to find facts and stories about Kansas City history. The two-story windows on the west and north flooded the room with light, and the Daniel MacMorris murals along the east and south walls below the mezzanine/gallery appropriately illustrated the discovery, exploration, settlement, and development of the Missouri Valley region.

In 2004 the Central Library moved into the beautifully renovated First National Bank building at 10th and Baltimore. The new Missouri Valley Room on the fifth floor opened September of that year and continues a tradition of offering a pleasant and comfortable place to study and research. It is dedicated to the memory of Dr. William Stone Woods (1840-1917), chairman of the National Bank of Commerce (present-day Commerce Bank) and a major benefactor to many regional causes including William Woods College in Fulton, Missouri.

Holdings

The main focus of the MVR holdings documents the history of the Kansas City region, but other areas, like border warfare and the Civil War, Native Americans of the area, explorers and westward expansion, outlaws and lawmen, the overland trails, and genealogy, have extensive resources. MVSC also acts as stewards over the Ramos collection, which is comprised of books, pamphlets, and clippings on African American history and culture.

Its extensive and rare resources of primary and secondary documents include:

  • books
  • periodicals
  • pamphlets
  • dissertations
  • manuscripts
  • newspaper clippings
  • vertical files
  • photographs
  • postcards
  • maps
  • microforms
  • audiovisual
  • archival materials

Reference Assistance

The expert staff of the Missouri Valley Special Collections provides assistance and information to users from all over the world in person, by telephone, postal service, or e-mail. No appointment is necessary. Tours of the MVSC may also be arranged.

See MVSC Services and the Using the Missouri Valley Room pages for more information.

KCHistory.org

The Digital Gallery features images of material from the Missouri Valley Special Collections. The Local History Index contains over 36,000 entries which provide information and references to articles in magazines, newspapers, and books on topics of interest from the Missouri Valley area.

Visit KCHistory.org

Donations

Help preserve our community’s heritage by volunteering your time or donating materials. We welcome donations of materials that fall within the parameters of our Collection Development policy, such as area photographs, scrapbooks, diaries, letters, postcards, yearbooks, family histories, and regional ephemera.

Gifts to Missouri Valley Special Collections can be made in many ways. For more information, call the Kansas City Public Library Foundation at 816.701.3518. Gifts and donations to the Library are tax deductible.