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Katherine Goldsmith papers

Call Number: RH MS 1093


Katherine Goldsmith was a teacher, writer, and historian in Kansas City, Missouri. Her papers comprise materials spanning the mid-19th century through the 20th century relating to her key areas of research interest: Kansas City metropolitan area history, industry, railroads, urban planning, and city development. These materials include significant collections of newspaper clippings, essays, publications, maps, photographs, and correspondence that provide both contemporary and retrospective insight into the area's development over the past two centuries.


  • Creation: 1825 - 1999


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Audio visual materials are stored in the KU Annex off-site storage area.

All researchers interested in reviewing this material must consult Spencer Research Library Public Services staff (785-864-4334 or, 9-5 M-F CST) before a planned visit; staff will respond within three days, though materials may not be available in that timeframe. Access to audio visual materials may require digitization first. Be advised that drop-in requests for this material cannot be accommodated.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Katherine Goldsmith

Katherine Goldsmith was born in 1916 in Kansas City, Missouri. She studied at the University of Kansas City (now University of Missouri-Kansas City) and then moved to Washington, D.C. where she worked as a writer and editor at the American National Red Cross. She later returned to Kansas City and worked as a historian in the Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library in the 1960s. She also later taught in the Kansas City, Missouri Public School District in the 1970s. Goldsmith died in 2006, leaving the research materials she collected and created throughout her life to several cultural heritage institutions in the Midwest, including the Spencer Research Library.

Goldsmith was an active member in several historical and cultural clubs and organizations in the Kansas City area. During her time as a student at the University of Kansas City, she co-founded the Inter-American Club, a club centered around the study of Spanish language and Latinx culture. She remained a member of the club throughout her adult life and later became the club's archivist. She was also a member of the Steering Committee of the Missouri Urban Studies Group and served terms as president of both the Mid-America Heritage Council and the Steering Committee of the Urban History Research Center.

Goldsmith was an avid writer of historical articles and monographs, particularly relating to Kansas City history. She wrote a number of essays and short monographs as part of the History of Kansas City Project under the direction of Professor A. Theodore Brown. She is the author of a substantial unpublished monograph titled J. C. Nichols - City Builder, and was the recipient of the third annual Native Sons of Kansas City Award for a short history monograph about Willard E. Winner.


49.75 Linear Feet (51 boxes + 9 oversize boxes, 95 oversize folders, 1 audiotape reel, 1 audio cassette)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

Katherine Goldsmith's papers comprise research materials and historically significant records relating to Kansas City area history, arranged into eight series: Scrapbooks, Newspaper and magazine clippings, Essays and publications, Maps and blueprints, Personal materials, Photographs and illustrations, Research materials, and Audiovisual materials. A large portion of the materials were created and collected through Goldsmith's work as part of the History of Kansas City Project and as a historian in the Missouri Valley Special Collections. The collection includes some deaccessioned materials from the Kansas City Public Library (KCPL).

The scrapbooks, research notes, and bibliographies, containing materials related to various topics in local history, were compiled in order to assist library patrons in their research at KCPL. The essays and publications also relate to local history, and many were written by Goldsmith and others as part of the History of Kansas City Project. The maps, plats, blueprints, photographs, and illustrations in the collection show the development of Kansas City, Missouri, and in particular the development of its railways and trafficways, with the majority of the materials dating to the early 20th century. The collection also includes a small series of materials classed as "personal" by Goldsmith that relate to her involvement in various local clubs and historical societies.

Goldsmith's original folder titles have been retained in all possible instances. Please note that terms and language used in this collection are representative of when the records were created and have not been replicated in this finding aid, except when directly quoting.

Physical Location

RH MS 1093

Physical Location

RH MS 569

Physical Location

RH MS 1072

Physical Location

RH MS Q454

Physical Location

RH MS R452

Physical Location

RH MS R453

Physical Location


Physical Location

A/V items at Annex (Contact Spencer Library Public Services)

Physical Location

KC AV 78

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Katherine Goldsmith, 2001, 2003; estate of Katherine Goldsmith, post-2006.

Separated Materials

Issues from the following titles have been removed from the collection and cataloged separately, sometimes in order to fill gaps in an existing cataloged title:

Change May/June 1966 issue, located at Spencer Research Library at RH D419.

Fairfax Industrial District: Kansas City (1946), located at Spencer Research Library at RH DK70.

Jackson County Historical Society Journal, located at Spencer Research Library at RH Ser D3382.

National Magazine, located at Spencer Research Library at RH Ser D3381.

Guide to the Katherine Goldsmith Collection
Katherine Goldsmith papers
Finding aid prepared by db, 2007. Finding aid encoded by db, 2007. Finding aid revised by vej, 2019.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Katherine Goldsmith Collection, RH MS 1072, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States