Meet the Past with Crosby Kemper III

All Kansas City Public Library locations will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 26, and will remain closed all day Thursday, November 27, for Thanksgiving.

Meet the Past

Meet the Past features Library Director Crosby Kemper III interviewing prominent historical figures (as portrayed by local actors and veteran Chautauqua performers) with Kansas City-area connections. The events filmed in 2009 were aired during prime-time on KCPT (channel 19) during the 2009-10 season.

Major funding for Meet the Past has been provided by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Meet the Past: Tom Bass
October 10, 2013
Central Library

Meet the Past with Crosby Kemper III returns for a conversation with Tom Bass, portrayed by veteran actor Walter Coppage. Read more...

Meet the Past: Thomas Jefferson
September 20, 2012
Central Library

Meet the Past continued when Crosby Kemper III interviewed President Thomas Jefferson, as portrayed by Patrick Lee. Read more...

Meet the Past: William Clarke Quantrill
August 21, 2012
Central Library

On the 149th anniversary of his raid on Lawrence, Kansas confederate guerilla leader William Clarke Quantrill (portrayed by Aaron Worley) discussed his bloody and controversial career as a Civil War bushwhacker. Read more...

Meet the Past: George Caleb Bingham
August 7, 2012
Truman Memorial Building

Meet the Past continued when Crosby Kemper III interviewed 19th-century painter George Caleb Bingham, as portrayed by Robert Gibby Brand, at the Truman Memorial Building in Independence. Read more...

Meet the Past: William Rockhill Nelson
July 25, 2012
Central Library

Meet the Past continued when Crosby Kemper III interviewed Kansas City Star founder William Rockhill Nelson, as portrayed by Ray Starzmann. Read more...

Meet the Past: James Naismith
July 11, 2012
Central Library

Meet the Past continued when Crosby Kemper III interviewed basketball inventor and former Kansas Jayhawks coach James Naismith, as portrayed by Bill Worley. Read more...

Meet the Past: Willa Cather
May 24, 2012
Central Library

Meet the Past continued with Crosby Kemper III interviewing Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather as portrayed by actress Jan Chapman. Read more...

Meet the Past: Edgar Snow
March 1, 2012
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Meet the Past with Crosby Kemper III returned for a conversation with Edgar Snow, as portrayed by actor Robert Gibby Brand, on the Lyric Opera set for Nixon in China. Read more...

Meet the Past: Mark Twain
October 18, 2011
Central Library

Meet the Past with Crosby Kemper III launched its second season with a conversation with Mark Twain, as portrayed by veteran Chautauqua performer George Frein. This event is a part of The Big Read. Read more...

Meet the Past: George Caleb Bingham
March 20, 2011
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

On March 20, 2011, Robert Brand portrayed George Caleb Bingham, an artist whose paintings of Missouri and the American frontier earned him a reputation as one of America’s greatest genre painters of the 19th century. Read more...

Meet the Past: Edgar Snow
October 20, 2010
Central Library

On October 20, 2010, Bob Brand portrayed Edgar Snow, a journalist born in Kansas City in 1905 best known for his writings about China in the 1930s, most especially Red Star Over China, a largely favorable account of Mao and his Communist Red Army guerrilla forces. Read more...

Meet the Past: Woodrow Wilson
June 28, 2010
National World War I Museum

On June 28, 2010, Judd Bankert portrayed Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. president who instituted several regulatory reforms — creating the Federal Reserve Bank and the Federal Trade Commission — as well as the first progressive income tax system before leading the country through World War I during his second term in office. Read more...

Meet the Past: John Brown
September 1, 2009
Central Library

On September 1, 2009, Kerry Altenbernd portrayed John Brown, the famous (and infamous) abolitionist. John Brown rose to fame during the Bleeding Kansas years in the mid- to late-1850s. He is perhaps best remembered for his unsuccessful raid on the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry (then in Virginia, now present-day West Virginia) in October 1859. Read more...

Meet the Past: Charlie Parker
August 25, 2009
Central Library

On August 25, 2009, Walter Coppage portrayed Charlie Parker, the Kansas City-born musician who became one of the most well-known jazz artists in America. Parker’s innovative approach to melody, rhythm, and harmony made him one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time. Read more...

Meet the Past: Annie Chambers
August 18, 2009
Central Library

On August 18, 2009, Jan Chapman portrayed Annie Chambers, Kansas City's most well-known brothel proprietor. Born in Lexington, Kentucky, she left home following a disagreement with her father over her decision to support Abraham Lincoln's 1860 presidential bid. Chamber's Kansas City brothel became the finest and most exclusive in Kansas City. Read more...

Meet the Past: Nell Donnelly Reed
July 28, 2009
Central Library

On Tuesday, July 28, 2009, Jan Chapman portrayed Nell Donnelly Reed, a pioneer in the field of women’s ready-to-wear clothing in the 1920s and 1930s who was largely responsible for making Kansas City one of the largest ready-to-wear clothing manufacturing centers in the world. Read more...

Meet the Past: Thomas Hart Benton
July 14, 2009
Central Library

On Tuesday, July 14, 2009, Doug Mishler portrayed Thomas Hart Benton, the Missouri-born artist famous for his paintings showing ordinary people doing common things. Read more...

Meet the Past: Jesse James
June 30, 2009
Central Library

On Tuesday, June 30, 2009, Aaron Worley portrayed Jesse James, the Missouri-born outlaw who became one of the most notorious bank and train robbers in the history of the United States. Read more...

Meet the Past: Arthur Stilwell
June 9, 2009
Central Library

On Tuesday, June 9, at 6:30 p.m., Pete Hansen portrayed Arthur Stilwell, the dreamer and visionary whose crowning achievement was the railroad that became the Kansas City Southern. Read more...

Meet the Past: William Allen White
May 19, 2009
Central Library

On Tuesday, May 19, 2009, Fred Krebs portrayed William Allen White, the famous newspaper editor who gained political prominence after writing an editorial in 1896 titled "What's the Matter With Kansas?" Read more...

Meet the Past: Walt Disney
May 5, 2009
Central Library

On Tuesday, May 5, 2009, Dr. Bill Worley portrayed Walt Disney, whose early years as a professional artist can be traced to Kansas City. Read more...

Meet the Past: President Harry S. Truman
April 28, 2009
Central Library

On Tuesday, April 28, 2009, Ray Starzmann portrayed President Harry S. Truman, who is perhaps best remembered for his role in ending World War II, including the use of the atomic bomb. Read more...

Meet the Past: Amelia Earhart
April 14, 2009
Central Library

On Tuesday, April 14, 2009, Ann Birney portrayed Amelia Earhart. Born in Atchison, Kansas, Earhart was declared missing July 2, 1937, while attempting to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe. Read more...

Meet the Past: Langston Hughes
April 7, 2009
Central Library

On Tuesday, April 7, 2009, Charles Everett Pace portrayed Langston Hughes, whose poem The Negro Speaks of Rivers was first published in The Crisis in 1921. Read more...

Meet the Past: Tom Pendergast
December 13, 2007
Central Library

On Thursday, December 13, 2007, Bill Worley portrayed Tom Pendergast, who controlled Kansas City and Jackson County as a political boss in the early- to mid-1900s and helped launch the political career of Harry S. Truman. Read more...