GLAMA Collection featured in UNews

Check out this week’s edition of the University News features a 2-page spread on the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America! Make sure to pick up a hard copy in the MNL lobby and elsewhere on campus to see featured images of items from the collection. If you prefer the online version, you’ll be missing out on the array of photos.

Stuart Hinds, Director of Special Collections, UMKC Libraries

Stuart Hinds

Free up your Friday night or set your TiVo

Do people even have TiVo anymore?…

The Marr Sound Archives is slated to be featured on this Friday’s broadcast of “Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook” on KCPT! In an episode entitled “Time Machines”, Mr. Feinstein will highlight ways in which technology has preserved sound recordings and made them accessible for generations (look for an appearance by Roobot, I’m betting). So have your popcorn popped and your beverages cold for a 9:00 starting time, lean back into the couch cushions, and enjoy!

If you just can’t wait, here’s a preview.

Watch Time Machines on PBS. See more from Michael Feinsteins American Songbook.

Stuart Hinds, Director of Special Collections, UMKC Libraries

Legendary dancer featured in a new exhibit

Pearl PrimusDancer, choreographer, educator, and anthropologist Pearl Primus is featured in a new Ground Floor exhibit at MNL. “’The Returned Spirit’: Pearl Primus in Africa” features photographs of this amazing mid-20th century dance dynamo during her second trip to the West African nation of Liberia. Her visits to Africa were transformative for her professionally and personally, and the images really capture both her energetic dance style as well as her anthropological curiosity. The pictures in the exhibit are from a 1952 scrapbook in the Leon Jordan Collection; both Jordan and Primus were in Liberia at the same time for the second inauguration of the country’s president.  To get a sense of Primus’ phenomenal athletic stage presence, check out this video.

This exhibit is timed to coincide with some upcoming Library programs:

Many thanks to Scott Gipson, LSC Library Information Specialist II, for photo reproduction services and to Conservatory Student Assistant Anthony Rodgers for spontaneous installation assistance.

Enjoy the new exhibit!

Stuart Hinds, Director of Special Collections, UMKC Libraries

Chuck Haddix to speak about “Brush Creek follies” tonight on KCUR

Tune into KCUR 89.3 FM KC Currents, tonight at 8 p.m., to hear Alex Smith speaking with our own Chuck Haddix about The Brush Creek Follies and check out this wonderful digital exhibit by the folks in special collections.


Norman Corwin, radio legend dies at age 101

Norman CorwinOn October 18, Norman Corwin, radio’s “poet laureate,” died at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 101. Corwin was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1993 for his work as a writer, director and producer of radio plays for CBS. The Los Angeles Times has a wonderful obituary which highlights his long career and there’s a nice video tribute worth watching on YouTube (below).

In May of this year, I had the pleasure of attending a live performance (complete with sound effects) of his radio play, “The undecided molecule” in which Corwin himself was in attendance! It was truly an amazing experience. If you haven’t listened to the works of this gifted writer, you can request do so in the Marr Sound Archives. Click here for a list of Norman Corwin radio plays and other works held in Miller Nichols Library.

Sandy Rodriguez, Special Projects Catalog Librarian

Heavenly compositions

Earlier this spring UMKC Sound Design student Daniel Warneke worked on a project that resulted in a music box disc for the Marr Sound Archives’ Stella machine, based on the constellations as they appeared above the Library on Jan 1, 2011. Here’s the amazing video:

2011-09-30_Stella_Event_Posterimage cropped

The Reverend Dwight Frizzell, Daniel’s professor, has subsequently created a musical composition based on the disc’s contents, and it is slated to be performed as part of the UMKC Conservatory/Art Institute partnership “Art/Sounds.” Tuesday, October 11 is the day, 7:30 p.m. the time, Epperson Auditorium on the Art Institute Campus is the place. Click on the image below for further details. Should be a truly cosmic evening for all in attendance!

Stuart Hinds, Director of Special Collections, UMKC Libraries



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