Wednesday, April 23, 2014


On Tuesday, April 29 at 6:30 p.m., the National Archives 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 traffic ways. Notorious nightclubs have closed. The City Market opens. Glenn Miller swings, Bojangles taps, and Gone with the Wind premiers. 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 us here. Copies of Kansas City 1940 will be available for purchase onsite from Rainy Day Books.

About the Author

John Simonson is an independent writer and editor. His local-history blog, “Paris of the Plains” 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.

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