UMKC Special Collections consists of two distinct pieces: The Dr. Kenneth J. LaBudde Department of Special Collections and the Marr Sound Archives. Both are housed in the Miller Nichols Library on the Volker campus of UMKC.
LaBudde Special Collections is made up of a rare book collection and a collection of manuscript material. The primary focus of the book collection is Western Americana, with an emphasis on Kansas and Missouri, but most subjects are represented to a certain degree. The manuscripts are strong in music, especially Kansas City jazz, with emerging strengths women’s and gender studies and popular culture. The department also serves as the home of the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, a collecting initiative in partnership with the Kansas City Museum to document the histories of the LGBT communities in the KC region.
Established in 1987, the Marr Sound Archives attempts “to capture the American experience as reflected in recorded sound”. It is a collection of nearly 350,000 sound recordings, of every type of content and every type of format imaginable. Strengths include jazz (particularly Kansas City jazz), classical, opera, and roots/Americana, with a growing emphasis on pop and rock recordings. In addition, the Sound Archives feature a wide variety of radio programming on thousands of transcription discs.