James C. Olson Research Grants
The State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center-Kansas City (SHSMO-KC), [formerly the Western Historical Manuscript Collection-KC] had in fact existed on paper as part of the joint manuscript collection of the State Historical Society of Missouri and the University of Missouri, since 1968. Its reality came about because of the vision of University President James C. Olson (1917-2005). Dr. Olson was a practicing historian, for a time was director of the Nebraska State Historical Society, and was an officer of the State Historical Society of Missouri. He clearly understood the value of historical research to inform the activities of the present and the future. And he also understood that responsibility for the state’s history was larger than any single university campus. In cooperation with the State Historical Society of Missouri, Dr. Olson brought the Western Historical Manuscript Collection system into the University of Missouri’s Central Administration creating and funding a state-wide network with a single direction and purpose. In so doing he eliminated the bickering and completion for collections that often plague historical archives. More importantly, this innovative network is designed to be researcher-centered in providing unique access to the State Historical Society and University of Missouri collections—now totally 45,000 linear feet (that is over 8.5 miles!). In 2011, this network further refined and streamlined by coming under the administration of the State Historical Society of Missouri, a move we are confident that Dr. Olsen would have approved.
By moving original historical materials among the four SHSMO offices via the university’s courier system, researchers can use any of the SHSMO network collections at a location convenient to them. This saves time, travel, and lodging costs and makes research materials available to students and individuals who otherwise would not trek across the state to check a source, or scratch an itchy curiosity. Additionally, donors of records who are motivated in part by a desire to have their materials available, know that without sacrificing the security and preservation of the records, more researchers can use them.
The establishment of the SHSMO network by Dr. Olson gave Kansas City and western Missouri a formidable tool in ensuring history is preserved and used. For this reason, in celebration of its 25th year, SHSMO-KC established a special research grant program named in Dr. Olson’s honor.
Our thanks to Dr. Olson for his vision and his actions to preserve and make available our rich and important history, and for his innovation that has so ably served the citizens of Missouri, and scholars and researchers everywhere. We are pleased to honor in this meaningful way a valued friend and advisor to SHSMO-KC.
The James C. Olson Research Grants will assist individuals using the history found in the holdings of the State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center-Kansas City for publications, documentaries, and other scholarly work by helping offset costs such as travel, duplication of materials, transcription and translation, and other miscellaneous expenses. A total of up to $1,000 will be awarded annually for all grants in the form of cash grants and/or the waiver of costs and fees.
Applicants will be judged primarily on need and secondly on the value of the research project by a committee of regional scholars. Applicants should submit a letter of request detailing the nature of the research, the costs associated with the research, and need for the grant. Grants may be requested either before or after the research is conducted.
Requests may be made at anytime, but award of grants will be made twice annually on May 1st and November 1st.
Send letter or questions to:
State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center-Kansas City
302 Newcomb Hall, UMKC
5123 Holmes Street
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
Phone: (816) 235-1544
Fax: (816) 235-5500
Last revised: Tuesday, October 04, 2011
© State Historical Society of Missouri