National Archives at Kansas City

Press Release: March 31, 2014

National Archives at Kansas City

John Simonson to Discuss Kansas City 1940: A Watershed Year at the National Archives

For More Information Contact:
Kimberlee Ried, 816-268-8072

Kansas City, (MO)…On Tuesday, April 29 at 6:30 p.m., the National Archives at Kansas City will host John Simonson for a discussion and signing of his book Kansas City 1940: A Watershed Year. A 6:00 p.m. reception will precede the program.

1940: It is the year Nazis rain bombs on London and goose-step into Paris, when President Franklin Roosevelt wins an unprecedented third term and Kansas Citians finally run the corrupt Pendergast political machine out of power. The new reform-minded city government is bent on cleaning up the sinful "Paris of the Plains" and streamlining its future with wide, new miles of trafficways. Notorious nightclubs have closed. The City Market opens. Glenn Miller swings, Bojangles taps, and Gone with the Wind premieres. Old buildings make way for parking lots. A dying meteor lights up the night sky above a racially segregated city, home to Charlie Parker, Thomas Hart Benton, Walter Cronkite, Satchel Paige, and Thomas J. Pendergast, ex-con. It is all on display in photographs taken by WPA workers and stories curated by John Simonson.

To make a reservation for this free program call 816-268-8010 or email kansascity.educate@nara.gov. Simoson will be available to sign copies of his book after the program. Copies of Kansas City 1940 will be available for purchase.

About the Author

John Simonson is an independent writer and editor. His local-history blog, “Paris of the Plains” www.parisoftheplains.com became the basis for Paris of the Plains: Kansas City from Doughboys to Expressways, published in 2010 by the History Press. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri.

The National Archives at Kansas City is one of 13 facilities nationwide where the public has access to Federal archival records. It is home to more than 50,000 cubic feet of historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by nearly 100 Federal agencies. Serving the Central Plains Region, the archives holds records from the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The facility is located at 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108. It is open to the public Tuesday - Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for research, with the exhibits open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit us online.

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