I can’t think of another piece of landscape of similar size where so many things have happened that have been of significance in the story of America.
— David McCullough Pulitzer Prize winning historian and Harry S Truman biographer

JCHS partners to publish history book:
WWI dispatches of KC Star journalist Otto Higgins

Jackson County Historical Society is partnering to publish another regional history book published through Mid-Continent Public Library’s Woodneath Press.

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The next history book project is Frontlines to Headlines: The World War I Overseas Dispatches of Otto P. Higgins by local historian by James J. Heiman. The book will be released April 20.

The book is a narrative review of the complete collection of 218 overseas World War I dispatches, which includes a sampling of dispatches and 42 field photographs by Kansas City Star journalist Otto P. Higgins and published between May 1918 and July 1919.

Descriptions of the dispatches are presented in narrative form in the book and organized sequentially in monthly installments by date of composition, followed by a representative sampling of photographs and intact articles.

The articles covered the troop movements and battles of several Kansas City-area and Missouri-based Army units which were part of the American Expeditionary Force led by Gen. John Pershing.

The author is a teacher at Metropolitan Community College—Blue River and continues to research and write about community ritual and memorialization of the First World War. His other books include Voices in Bronze and Stone:  Kansas City’s World War I Monuments and Memorials and other published articles.

The JCHS Strauss-Peyton photographic collection includes portraits of many Kansas City area individuals who served in the First World War. These images have been scanned and organized by Bruce Mathews into a slideshow.

Other books which JCHS has published with Woodneath Press include Cowtown: History of the Kansas City Stockyards by Edward Matheny, Jr. and The First Beverly Hillbilly: The Untold Story of the Creator of Rural TV Comedy a memoir about Paul Henning written by his wife Ruth.

JCHS Acquires Major Regional Photographic Collection

In July, JCHS formally announced it had acquired a regional photographic collection from Chris Wilborn.

The photographs go back to the early 1900s and may include over 500,000, if not more, images.

“I kept everything,” Chris Wilborn said in a newspaper article about the acquisition. “My dad kept all the negatives he shot.”

JCHS plans to scan the photographic negatives and eventually make them available online.

“The end goal is all online through JCHS,” said Executive Director Steve Noll who helped arrange the acquisition.

Learn more about the Wilborn collection.