Finding Aids

In an attempt to help researchers, JCHS began the process of creating useful finding aids for those who wish to visit our Research Library. The documents are linked through the finding aid titles. (Click on the collection title to access the finding aid.) Please check back regularly, as we will be adding to this page monthly. 

John B. Wornall Collection

The Jackson County Historical Society acquired the John B. Wornall Collection when they purchased the Wornall House from the family in 1962. In the 1990’s, the Wornall House became independent, however, the collection remained with JCHS. The collection consists of 13 boxes and contains photographs, scrapbooks, personal correspondence, newspaper articles, magazine articles, newsletters, receipts, invoices, deeds, genealogical information, wills, contracts, proposals, manuals, minutes, yearbooks, brochures, reports, organizational programs, plats, awards, and other miscellaneous documents. These documents are related to the Wornall family, the Wornall family’s friends, organizations and events they were involved in, and the Wornall House restoration project.  There is also an extensive amount of information on prominent families the Wornall’s married into or had a relationship with, such as the Kearney, Ward, Scarritt, Johnson, Harris, Clay, Davis, Mumford, Shivvers, Morris, Rowntree, Fuller, and Kemper families.

Maps, Atlases, and Plats

Pinpoint property in Jackson County, Missouri.  We may be able to help you determine the legal description of the property you’re seeking, which is needed when researching land records.

The Pre-Mayoral and Mayoral Papers of Barbara J. Potts

On June 27, 2002, the Jackson County Historical Society formally opened papers and other historical materials of Barbara J. Potts, the bulk of which relate to the years 1978-1990 when she served as city council member and mayor of Independence, Missouri.  The materials originated in the period 1963-2002 and are arranged in eighteen series.  In addition to textual materials, the collection contains a small quantity of still photographs, numbering less than 100 items. 

Jackson county courthouse photos

This collection includes the many historical images and photos of both the Independence and Kansas City courthouses. See the evolution of our courthouses!

Warren W. Welch Collection

Warren W. Welch, son of Simeon Welch, was born November 4, 1840, in Lafayette County, MO. During the Civil War, Warren fought for the Confederacy and served under General Sterling Price in General John S. Marmaduke’s Division. He also served as a private in General Joseph Shelby’s Brigade. Welch was honorably discharged after being wounded in Arkansas. Following Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, Warren joined Quantrill’s guerrillas.

After the Civil War, Warren lived on a farm south of Blue Springs and then moved to Independence in 1899. Around that same time, Warren became one of the organizers of the Quantrill Association, which held annual reunions for the Quantrill guerrillas. He served as secretary of the association until his death on December 21, 1915. Warren had two wives, Elizabeth and Bettie, two sisters, Mattie and Eliza, four brothers, including Pate and Tom, and two sons, Harrison and Isaac.

American Royal Collection 1916-1982

The American Royal Livestock Show began in 1899 as a cattle show in Kansas City, Missouri at the Kansas City Stockyards. Since its inception, the American Royal has expanded to include a horse show, a dairy cattle show, and a rodeo. The Livestock and Horse Show occurs every year in October or November, while the Dairy Cattle Show and Rodeo occur in the summer. Each year there are special events that led up to the show, including a Coronation Ball with a Queen Contest, and an American Royal parade.

The Jackson County Superintendent of Schools Collection 1890-1960

Records of the Office of the Superintendent of Schools for Jackson County, Missouri, primarily under the administration of LeRoy French Blackburn and Homer Clements. These records pertaining to Jackson County rural school districts include Missouri School Directories; teachers' examination results; applications for state money; grade books; teachers examination records and evaluation records; district plat books from the 1920s annual reports; teachers first week and semester reports to County Superintendent; special census of handicapped children; and a large quantity of correspondence. Reports of the District Clerk to County Superintendent, 1909-1962; Reports of the Secretary of the Board to the County Superintendent and State Board of Education, 1930-1962; Teachers Term Reports to the District Clerk and County Superintendent, 1909-1964; and Missouri County School Census Cards, 1950-1964.

Chevis Samuel Papers, 1854-1864

Judge Thomas Minor Chevis (1806-1864) purchased a trading store from Glenn and Peter Burnett in 1839. Glenn changed it into a tavern which he operated until his death. The tavern was on a route of stage and mail coaches. Daughter, Patsy Ann Chevis (1836-1915) married Manlius Thompson Samuel (1833-1913) and resided in the building, as did their son Robert Lee Samuel (1868-1934) and his wife Mamie Shaw Martin Samuel (1873-1964). The collection was assembled by all of these individuals.

Donald R. Hale Collection

The Donald R. Hale Papers documenting the history of Lee's Summit, Missouri, and surrounding communities in Jackson County, Missouri. This voluminous collection includes the donor's personal collection of Lee's Summit history and memorabilia assembled over his lifetime, and includes: various original and reproduced documents; photographs; postcards; topically arranged newspaper clippings; scrapbooks; newspapers and city directories on microfilm; original maps and published atlases; periodicals of area historical organizations; Abstracts of Title; local history-related research papers; monographs; and, records gathered that pertain to community initiatives in which Hale was a participant. Of particular note is a sizable selection of original papers from the William B. Howard estate. Rounding off this important local history collection is a complete set of books authored by Mr. Hale during his lengthy career to document Lee's Summit's rich history, and educating the need for its preservation. 

Historic Kansas City Foundation (HKCF) - Liberty Memorial Restoration Project Collection

The Historic Kansas City Foundation was founded in 1974 and is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the Kansas City area’s historic environment.   The organization regularly serves as an advocate for the preservation and rehabilitation of historic buildings and neighborhoods and is financed though memberships, corporate and foundation gifts, and public grants.

By 1994 the Liberty Memorial was closed to the public because of safety concerns.  There was significant deterioration of the underlying supports of the buildings.  The Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department has responsibility for the Liberty Memorial site (Kansas City owns the buildings and the land) and coordinated the planning as well as the construction work for the necessary repairs.   In 1998 an eighteen-month sales tax for restoration of the Memorial and creation of an endowment for the memorial and the museum was approved by Kansas City voters.  When the tax expired in 2000, it had raised $45.5 million dollars of the Memorial.   Additional funds came from the State of Missouri and the federal government with an estimated total of $102,000,000 raised for the project.   While the restoration of the existing Memorial was a focus of the Parks Board plan, it also included a significant expansion of the space for the Liberty Memorial Museum.

William T. Kemper Sr. Scrapbook Collection

Each scrapbook is generally divided into these sections: banking, financial, political, railroads, and personal (including items about himself, Mrs. Lottie Crosby Kemper and their three sons, James M., R. Crosby, and William, Jr.). There are 34 different scrapbooks. The 1924 scrapbook titled, "National Committeeman Scrapbook," is devoted to personal and party activities during the time Kemper was National Democratic committeeman from Missouri from 16 April 1924 until 1936. The 1918 scrapbook has a "war activities" section detailing among other things the end of World War I, and welcoming home of Kansas City boys. A detailed, searchable, topical finding aid is available for the 34 scrapbooks.

Veteran’s History Project Collection

The Jackson County Historical Society has collected over 1,700 recorded interviews since 2003 and is registered as an official “partner archive” and are included in the Library of Congress’ national database and are available locally in the JCHS Archives and Research Library in the Truman Courthouse. DVDs of the interviews can be purchased through our online store. $15 for domestic, $30 for international orders.

Pioneer Spring Cabin Information

The Jackson County Historical Society supports the wide-ranging efforts of individuals, groups and others who are interested in sharing the rich history of Jackson County. To that end, JCHS maintains an extensive archive of historic papers, property records, court files and images that it readily shares with others. Among JCHS holdings is an extensive scrapbook that contains information, newspaper clippings and other materials related to the “Pioneer Cabin” which is the subject of extensive community discussion. The discussion has brought much deserved attention to the challenges of the overlooked and neglected city-owned historic property.