(Kansas City, Missouri) - Kansas mills, located literally in the breadbasket of America, produced an enormous quantity of flour in an era when women routinely baked their families' bread at home.
Even their packaging proved useful - and enduring.
Mill owners used cotton flour sacks as advertising tools to proudly display their names, locations, and unique brands, as well as to catch the consumer's eye. The empty sack also served as a needed piece of fabric during the hard times of the Depression.
Nancy Jo Leachman, a longtime reference librarian at the Salina, Kansas, Public Library who has accumulated more than 100 vintage flour sacks from the 1920s-1940s, discusses their utility and their appeal to collectors on Sunday, April 19, 2015, at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. Her illustrated lecture, History on a Piece of Cloth: Kansas Flour Sacks, begins at 2 p.m.
The event is part of the Missouri Valley Sundays series, a program of the Library's Missouri Valley Special Collections made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Salina, at one time, milled more flour than anywhere in the country. Leachman's collection represents more than 30 Kansas counties including Saline, and her presentation spotlights the best and most colorful.
Each sack, as she explains, carries a fascinating story, be it advancing nutritional information, expressing political views, or reflecting popular culture.
Leachman has worked at the Salina Public Library since 1998. She previously was head of outreach at the Rochester, Minnesota, Public Library, and holds a master's degree in library and information science from the University of North Carolina.
Admission to the event is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th and Baltimore.