Civic Research Institute Records (KC0071)
The Civic Research Institute was initially founded in September 1920, by Henry D. Faxon, W.B. Henderson, Howard McCutcheon, and Walter Matscheck. Originally named the Public Service Institute of Kansas City, it was patterned after the Kansas City Board of Public Welfare's Research Bureau which had conducted several detailed studies of the community and its needs. The establishment of the Institute as a private bureau eliminated governmental control or manipulation of research data -- a most important factor as the Pendergast machine assumed power over city and county governments. By October 1920, a Board of Trustees had been selected for the Institute. W.B. Henderson served as the first Chairman and Walter Matscheck was its first Director. William Volker provided the initial funding for the Institute. Later funding came from private and civic foundations, donations, and individual subscriptions.
Its purpose was to study problems in the Kansas City area with regard to politics, health, police, city budgets, charters, and state reorganization. The work involved preparing in-depth studies of the specific problem, its causes, and possible solutions. Extensive surveys were undertaken by the Institute as a check on city assessments and as a means of anticipating future problems. In the fall of 1931, the name of the Institute was officially changed to The Civic Research Institute. It continued to be an active research facility into the 1960's when other local research agencies and foundations became active.
These papers include information on a wide range of civic problems. As these are the working papers for the Institute, much of the raw data collected during the research process is available for study. Major research topics include: the Kansas City Police Department; Kansas City charters; health surveys; tax reassessment studies; public opinion polls; and Jackson County organization. Located within the Collection are also files dealing with the Institute's finances including both contributions and expenditures. 1920-ca. 1965.
© State Historical Society of Missouri
Monday, February 07, 2011
State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center-Kansas City
(816) 235-1543 WHMCKC@umkc.edu