Have you ever walked by the door at the top of the stairs on the second floor of the Main Library and wondered what exactly is in there? The Kansas Room is home to the Library’s special collections, which include books, documents, newspapers, photographs, and other research materials. If you have never visited the Kansas Room, here are a few of the things you can find there to help you with your research. Currently, the Kansas Room is open by appointment only, so if you are interested in visiting, please email the Kansas Collection Librarian.
Kansas History Books
The books in the Kansas Collection cover all areas of Kansas and a wide range of historical topics. You can find histories of individual counties and biographies of notable Kansans. Books in the Kansas Room do not circulate and can only be used at the Library. Books range in publication date from the 1830s to the present.
KCKPS Yearbook Collection
The yearbook collection is one of the most frequently used local history resources at the Library. Looking for a picture of your great grandfather who graduated from Wyandotte High School in 1927? We’ve got it! You can find yearbooks from most schools, K-12 but not every year from every school. All yearbooks in the collection have been digitized, so if you would rather look at them from home, you can do so here.
Maps are a wonderful resource for learning about how a city has changed over the decades. The 1887 Wyandotte County Plat map lists all parcels and landowners from that year. We also have a number of street maps from the 1930s to the 1980s. You can also find topographical maps, political district maps, industrial maps, fire insurance maps, and other maps from around the state.
The vertical files are full of newspaper clippings from the Star and Kansan, as well as brochures, booklets, and documents. Dates range from 1910 to the present. The collection is indexed by subject to help you quickly find what you are looking for.
The Library has a collection of nearly 100 vintage postcards from 1900-1970. They provide a view of what Kansas City looked like decades ago.
While the Kansas Room photograph collection is small, there are some wonderful photos to peruse. The collection of school photographs features an image of every school building in KCK in 1929, a variety of photos of Eugene Ware, Claude Huyck, Wyandotte High School, and Argentine High School. Also available are photographs of downtown Lawrence in the 1970s, Quindaro in the 1950s, Larned, Kansas in the 1880s, and a few 20th-century photographs of people and businesses. Many have been digitized and are accessible on the Kansas Room Digital Collections page.
The William E. Connelley Collection covers early Wyandotte County history, specifically the history of the Wyandot people and their removal from Ohio to Kansas. There are approximately 7,500 items in the collection, including letters, government documents, photographs, newspaper clippings. The Lyda Conley Collection includes correspondence of Lyda Conley and her clients during the 1920s. The Library also holds collections related to the Columbian Steel Tank Co and the Quindaro Town Preservation Society.
The collection of school district history features staff rosters from the 1960s and 70s, books on the public schools, newspaper clippings about the district 1940-1970, and a selection of school board meeting minutes from 1911-2000.
The city directories are a great tool for finding people and businesses in Kansas City. Early directories from 1890-1950 (Kansas and Missouri) are available on microfilm and books from 1950 to the present are available for browsing.
Newspapers on Microfilm
Kansas City has been home to several newspapers over the years. The following papers can be found in the Library’s microfilm collection and are accessible anytime during library business hours.
- The Kansas City Star and Times, 1880-2013 (Image Edition and Historical KC Star available online through NewsBank database)
- The Kansas City, Kansan, 1916-2008
- The Wyandotte Herald, 1872-1910
- The Kansas City, Gazette (1905-1909, 1917-1918)
- The Kansas City Call (1919-2011)
- Quindaro Chindowan (May 1857-June 1858)
- Argentine Siftings (January-May 1886)
- Argentine Weekly Argus (August –December 1887)
- Baptist Banner (September 1892)
- Kansas Citian (December 1894-March 1895)
- Armourdale Advocate (December 1888)
- Armourdale News (May-October 1885)
- Daily Advocate (January-March 1889)
- Monthly Clipper (September 1886)
- Bonner Springs Citizen (April-July 1890)
- Kaw Valley news (February-April 1890)
- Champion (August 1897-April 1894)
Looking for something not on this list? You can always reach out to us, and we can help connect you with another library, museum, or archives to help you with your research.