Kansas City Regional Histories Index

WHMC-KC has brought together the indexes of some of the key Kansas City regional history books into a single Histories Index so they may be searched at one time.  This should simplify the time consuming task of seeking historical information and reduce the need to pull from the shelves many different volumes in order to check indexes and tables of contents. 

In addition to providing the page and volume for an entry in the indexed works, we have selected reviews of the books and links to library and booksellers where they might be located.  Some hints on using the Index may be found below.

Currently the Index is projected to include about 50 works. Some of the most important, but also most difficult indexes to transform into a database, have yet to be done.

We hope you find this Index useful in your research into the Kansas City regional rich history.  Your comments and suggestions for this project would be most welcome. Please send them to the Kansas City Public Library's Missouri Valley Special Collections department: Phone 816-701-3427, email: ask@kclibrary.org

Acknowledgements:  We wish to thank the authors, indexers, and publishers for both their efforts in preparing these histories, and for giving us permission merge their work into one database. Importantly, we thank Bruce Molay for writing the search routines and structure for the database. We also appreciate the many people who have been involved and encouraging of this effort, including Katherine Boutros, Jonathan Kemper, Brian McKeever, Brent Schondelmeyer, and Lee Williams.


Using an index compiled from many sources may prove very helpful, but can also have pitfalls that you should consider.

  • Not all the sources are equal. Many of even the mainline history books retrace and repeat information given in earlier works. But some depend on secondary information more than others. An interesting study of this practice is The Usable Past: A Study of Historical Traditions in Kansas City, by R. Richard Wohl and A. Theodore Brown.
  • The structure of each index varies. The way names are listed (i.e. Van Horn, R.T. or Van Horn, Robert Thompson or Van Horn, Col. Robert T.) may be different in each book. Also, the level of detail recorded by the index may vary. Some indexes may only give an entry to the principle subjects while other include every proper name or reference for people, places, or events. Key word searching helps bridge these variations.
  • Key word searches may yield unexpected results. Common words or words that are part of other words may give you an odd list: a search for Case will yield Case, Theodore S.; Stengel, Casey; and Swope-Hyde Murder Case. Use the advanced search tools to control this if you wish. But sometimes these odd results can be interesting and useful – they add serendipity to your search.

Kansas City Public Library
Missouri Valley Special Collections
14 West 10th Street
Kansas City, MO 64105

Last revised: Tuesday, March 7, 2006