Welcome to UMKC Special Collections

Welcome to the UMKC Special Collections blog! We are the rare books and manuscripts department of Miller Nichols Library, and our department also includes the Marr Sound Archives, a collection of over 330,000 sound recordings!  The rare book collection centers centers on Western Americana, with an emphasis on Kansas and Missouri; the strength of the manuscript collection is music (particularly Kansas City jazz) as well as the recently formed Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America; and the Marr Sound Archives seeks to preserve the American experience as reflected in recorded sound. We serve the students, faculty, and staff of the University of Missouri–Kansas City as well as community researchers locally, nationally, and globally.

We hope to use this blog to keep you updated on interesting content from our collections, programming and other activities we sponsor, and special projects we are working on. One such project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, focuses on cataloging and preserving the transcription and lacquer discs from Kansas City radio station KMBC. These recordings form part of the Arthur B. Church KMBC Radio Collection along with promotional materials, a station timeline, business correspondence, ledgers, and contracts. The audio discs, containing local and national entertainment, news, special events, and speeches, reveal the history of Kansas City and the world from the 1930s through 1950s. Much of the national coverage originates from the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and follows war-time events and the administrations of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The project to catalog and preserve the contents of the audio recordings started in May and has already unlocked programming from over 350 discs! As we delve further into the KMBC collection and other collections in LaBudde Special Collections, we look forward to sharing our discoveries!

Stuart Hinds, Director of Special Collections, UMKC Libraries

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