Central Library

First National Bank Bronze Doors

These doors once defined the entry of the First National Bank building built in 1906 on 10th and Baltimore streets and what is now home to the Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library. Local architects Wilder and Wight designed the building in a neo-classical style with heavy stone masonry and frontal colonnade that complemented the ornate bronze doors. At just over seven feet in height, the doors disguise their weight with intricate design and open space that allow one to essentially see through their structure.

Portrait of Jack Clifford

Jack Clifford, born Virgil James Montani, was originally from Geneo, Italy. Clifford’s vaudeville fame came from his live performances, both as an actor and dancer. Clifford was noted for his marriage to Evelyn Nesbit in 1916, and after a fifteen year separation ended in divorce in 1933. Clifford died on November 10, 1956, at the age of 76, in New York. In this portrait Clifford is captured in a relaxed atmosphere, seated with an opened newspaper on his lap. Clifford is attired in casual clothing, a white shirt, a black ribbon bow tie, suit vest and pinstripe pants.

Portrait of Orval Hixon in Light Suit (Self-Portrait)

Orval Hixon was a Kansas City photographer whose artistic abilities out rivaled those of his contemporaries. Hixon was a master of his craft, summoning all his skill set to produce works capturing his subjects in profound poses. Hixon from an early onset pursued an interest in the arts. After learning he was color blind as a child, he followed a path into photography with his first camera purchased in 1898. In 1905 he paid a local photographer five dollars to work as an assistant for one month.

"The Delinquents"

"The Delinquents", a 1957 American dramatic cinematic film was written and produced by Robert Altman. The plot of this film follows two romantically involved teens, Scotty White and Janice Wilson through Kansas City amidst an era of hot rod gangs and youthful delinquency in the 1950's. The poster is noted for its high utilization of color saturation. Vibrant red is laid out in a triangular shape on the upper left corner of the poster. The lower right corner contains a concentrated yellow and each area is bordered by a solid blue.

1837 Map of Western and Northern Frontier

As stated on the upper left hand corner of the map, this map illustrates "the plan of the defences of the Western and North-Western Frontier, as proposed by Charles Gratiot, in his report of Oct. 31, 1837." The Frontier is at the western edge of the central Midwestern states: Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana. The Frontier is further defined by the regions inhabited by various Native American tribes who encountered the US military.

1929 Aero Digest Advertisement

This image is from a page of the April 1929 issue of Aero Digest- a professional periodical covering the aircraft industry. The article focuses on the economy of the growing air transportation industry and Kansas City's potential to be the next "air metropolis". The article shows via a graphic representation that Kansas City's central location within the country gives it an advantage in the industry by being the "hub of vast areas". The image shows small planes radiating out from Kansas City to others all over the country.

1940 Liberty Magazine Cover

This reproduction of the September 7th, 1940 Liberty Magazine cover was an ode to Kansas City's booming economy. The Liberty Magazine was a general interest magazine published between 1924 to the end of 1950 and covered stories about politicians, celebrities, authors, and artists. The content provided insight into popular culture and politics. As the poster notes, major changes in Kansas City were afoot with a political "clean-up". In the background of the poster is the old Municipal Stadium located at Brooklyn Avenue and East 22nd Street where the minor league Kansas City Blues played.

8th Street

This painting purportedly looks down 8th Street in Kansas City. Buildings are colorful yet rendered in muted tones contrasting darkly coated pedestrians at their bases. Cars trail off in the distance and merge with the painting's Impressionistic style into an overcast sky. This work is noted as being painted for the W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration). The W.P.A.

A Bird's Eye View of Wyandotte (Small)

This map features a growing section of Wyandotte County in Kansas in 1869. Above the crux of the Kaw and Missouri Rivers lies the beginnings of a grid development across the land beyond. Amongst the dwellings, significant buildings are numbered and referred to in the ornate legend at the bottom of the map. Listed from 1-10 are the Court House, Public School, Dunnings Hall, Asylum for the Blind, U.R.R. W. Depot, Cemetary, and then the Congregational, Catholic, Episcopal, German and South Methodist, and North Methodist Episcopal churches.

A Favourite Hostel

George Wright was a British painter of coaching and hunting scenes. He was the elder brother of Gilbert Scott Wright. Mainly a self-taught artist, he worked with his younger brother until 1925 and during that time their combined work was frequently reproduced on calendars. Wright lived for some time in Rugby and Oxford before moving to Richmond in Surrey in 1929 and later he chose to retire to Seaford in Sussex, where he remained until his death in 1942.

A Panoramic View of Kansas City from 9th and Main

This black and white photograph of Kansas City features several of the city's early historic buildings. Bold signs on buildings stand out amongst the structures, most notably the marking of the Westgate Hotel, the New York Life Building, and the New England Life Building in position to one another across the cityscape. The predominantly brick structures beneath the smoke stack driven haze of the skyline complete the image of an industrializing city.

A Tea Garden

George Morland was an English painter born on 26 June 1763 in London. He was best known for his rustic scenes of farming, hunting, smugglers, gypsies and his rich, textured landscapes. Morland's most popular works were painted specifically for the print trade. This scene of a cozy middle-class ease is set in Ranelagh Gardens where the public could take tea after an afternoon's walk. Its companion 'St James's Park' (Mellon collection) shows a similar family drinking the milk that could be bought by promenaders on the Mall.

A Victorian Birdhouse

This birdhouse was modeled after Victorian architecture with a tight, heightened layout that features a tower, multiple roof lines, gabled windows with window boxes, and a ground level porch. Circular 1 1/4 inch cutouts on the left and right sides of the house provide entry suitable for smaller bird species. The house has a number of other design features particular to its target inhabitants including ventilation sources, non-toxic resin and paint materials, a spacious interior and removable back wall for easy cleaning.

A Witness to the Light

Corita Kent joined the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1936 and became Sister Mary Corita. She spent much of her life working for the church and began making and teaching art in the 1940s. Her serigraph and screen prints became popular in the 1960s and 1970s when she began using popular culture and the backdrop for faith-based themes. In this particular print, Kent uses a popular soda brand, Sunkist, to advance the message "two men called John were sent by God" broken up and encapsulated by two limes. Four lemons line the bottom border.

Abstract Sculpture

This sculpture is one of a few in the library's collection by an unknown artist with the initials "CCC". Carved from a single piece of wood, this particular sculpture exhibits an impressive command of the wood carving practice. It calls on the cubist style's tendency of depicting fire in rough, prismatic forms that extend upward with an erratic intensity that appears captured and solidified. Each of the faces of these forms bears various carving techniques, altering the depth, width, and frequency of each mark made to comprise a single dynamic piece.

Abstract Sculpture Two

This is one of a few abstract sculptures in the collection by an unknown artist with the initials "CCC". This particular piece is comprised of two parts, each containing a brass post and hole feature that align with the other to hold the piece together. The lower piece keeps much of the original shape of the material with varying gouge marks around the sides and back. The larger top piece displays more thorough manipulation, with planes of gouge marks in various directions and three voids, two circular and one slot-shaped, that reveal open space on the backside of the sculpture.

American Architect & Building News, Oct. 15, 1887, Grace Church, KCMO (1)

This print is an architectural drawing of Grace Church, a Catholic church designed by architectural firm James and James. This drawing was an entry for the 1887 design competition for the church, although the entry chosen was Frederick Elmer Hill's, an architect in the New York firm McKim, Mead & White, and exists in Kansas City on 13th St. Beneath the architect's names in the bottom right-hand corner features the Latin phrase "IN HOC SIGNO VINCES" which translates to "In this sign thou shalt conquer".

American Architect & Building News, Oct. 15, 1887, Grace Church, KCMO (small)

This print is an architectural drawing of Grace Church, a Catholic church designed by architectural firm James and James. This drawing was an entry for the 1887 design competition for the church although the entry chosen was Frederick Elmer Hill's, an architect in the New York firm McKim, Mead & White, and exists in Kansas City on 13th St.

American Architect & Building News-Aug. 21, 1886-Office Building for Nathaniel Thayer, Esq.

A poster print of a building depicted in the American Architect & Building News periodical number 556. This print is a color copy of a pen and ink illustration featuring the office building of Nathaniel Thayer with a copyright date of 1886. This plan drawing features a five story Beaux-Arts style building, each floor contains multiple rows of windows, and the bottom floor appears to be a shop level. The fourth floor contains two arches with three windows apiece. Oriel windows are located on the third and fourth floor above the left entry door.

American Architect & Building News-Nov. 10, 1900-U.S. Post Office, KCK

This print of an architectural drawing depicts the U.S. Post Office in Kansas City, Kansas designed by architects James, Knox, and Taylor. The building type is monumental with massive arched windows and a slight protrusion from the base of the building. The roof is minimized and replaced by a rectangularity uniform to the rest of the building which emphasizes the massive quality. The scene is set before the issue's date, indicated by the dress of the figures and the date on the building, MDCCCI, 1801.