Clay County Archives and Historical Library ~ Liberty, Missouri

Preserving the Past for the Present

A meeting was called by Clay County Circuit Clerk Jack Roberts on November 3rd, 1978 to "...make plans for the preservation..." of the original records in the custody of the court because they "...should be preserved and deposited in some location whereby they will be readily available to anyone wishing to review them."  He was concerned because "The older records have been poorly stored, making it very difficult to extract research information from them" and because the state would issue a court order authorizing the disposition or destruction of the microfilmed records.

Those who attended the meeting included:

  • Kermit Karns of the Clay County Museum Assocation and the American Family Historical Association.
  • Milton Perry of the Clay County Parks and Recreation Department.
  • Anna Coleman of the Smithville Historical Society.
  • Ron Fuenfausen of the Clay County Museum Assocation.
  • Vera Hawthorn Eldridge of the Alexander Doniphan DAR, the Historical Society and Museum.
  • AnnDeane Phillips of the Threilkill Genealogical Society and the Gladstone Genealogical Society.
  • Estella Morrison of the UDC, Excelsior Springs.
  • Willeta Williams of the Excelsior Springs Genealogical Society.
  • Virginia Dykes of the Excelsior Springs Historical Society.
  • Barbara Jackson of the Clay County Historical Society
  • Lester Irminger of North Kansas City.

At this meeting, Jack Roberts reported that van loads of old records from the Circuit Clerk and other County offices were being transported to the County Home.  He expressed concern there would be no organization prepared to take these records once the court order to dispose of these records was issued.  Various thoughts and ideas were shared by those in attendance.  It was decided to form a "study committee" to consider the best course forward.

A press release was issued on November 13th announcing the committee and its purpose.

After many meetings and a lot of leg work to determine the best location for these records and the group to care for them, it was decided to create a new not-for-profit organization and space was found in a single room in the Administration bulding of the Odd Fellows Home on South 291 Highway.  The Clay County Archives was incorporated in 1979 and the work of moving the records from the County Home to the room in the Odd Fellows Adminstration building began.