UMKC Libraries receives National Endowment for the Humanities grant to catalog and preserve KMBC collections

KANSAS CITY, MO.UMKC Libraries received a $127,536 Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Grant from the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) to catalog and preserve the audio files of the radio broadcasts in its Arthur B. Church/KMBC Radio Collection. The collection is housed in the Marr Sound Archives division of the LaBudde Special Collections Department at the University of Missouri-Kansas City‘s (UMKC) Miller Nichols Library, 800 E. 51st St., Kansas City, Mo.

The collection chronicles not only the history of Kansas City (and the world) from the 1920s through 1950s, but also the history of KMBC.

“We are honored to have the support of such a prestigious agency,” said Sharon Bostick, UMKC Libraries dean. “Their grant will ensure international access to this rare and fascinating collection.”

“The Arthur B. Church/KMBC Radio Collection contains a wealth of local and national radio programs, including news broadcasts and speeches from World War II,” said Chuck Haddix, head of the Marr Sound Archives. “These sound manuscripts document the era of the ‘Greatest Generation’ of Americans.”

The NEH grant provides funding for one full-time professional librarian to catalog the recordings using the Online Computer Library Center, Inc., offering worldwide access to researched and authoritative information about KMBC programming. In addition, the grant provides funding for graduate students to assist with transcription and clerical assignments. Marr Sound Archives sound engineers will digitally preserve the recordings and Bonnie Postlethwaite, associate dean of UMKC Libraries, will serve as project director.

Arthur Church, Jr. donated the Arthur B. Church/KMBC Radio Collection to UMKC in 1996. Focusing on radio pioneer Arthur B. Church’s involvement with the Kansas City, Mo.-based KMBC radio station, the collection includes a timeline, business correspondence, ledgers and contracts, as well as the audio files. Promotional material related to KMBC is included, as well as scripts to the programs “Phenomenon” and “Life on the Red Horse Ranch”. The collection includes items related to the Texas Rangers, including songbooks and record labels for numerous pressings produced by Church. Other items found in the collection include internal and external station newsletters, newspaper clippings, music scores and memorabilia.

Following are links to two exhibits that were created from the Arthur B. Church/KMBC Radio Collection:

To read the National Endowment for the Humanities’ complete news release on this year’s awardees, visit

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

About UMKC Libraries

An essential partner in intellectual discovery, knowledge creation and empowerment, UMKC Libraries serves as the hub of learning activities for students, researchers and UMKC’s urban neighbors. Not only the home of books and print materials, the UMKC Libraries also provides access to a wide range of audio-visual media, over 300,000 sound recordings and rare and unique collections of books, photographs, manuscripts and maps. UMKC Libraries also links users to a world of scholarly information available through licensed online databases and journals and a vast network of reciprocal borrowing agreements with libraries around the world.

Miller Nichols Library, located on the Volker campus, is UMKC’s largest library and houses the general collection, Music/Media Library, LaBudde Special Collections and Marr Sound Archives. On the Health Sciences campus, the Dental Library and Health Sciences Library serve students and researchers in those disciplines. Along with its partners, the UMKC School of Law’s Leon E. Bloch Law Library and the Linda Hall Library, University Libraries is the comprehensive public research library for Kansas City and the very heart of UMKC.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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