Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression

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Letter from the 25 Industrus Club to an unknown recipient. The writer provides information on a number of "whisky joints" run by Italians from the North End as well as places of prostitution. The writer comments that "when the Republicans party was in there was about 150 of such women but sinse the Democrats have got in office they have increased to about 250 or more with out exaggerateing a bit, and we have sat and watched the police come and take money from these girls and would never do a thing to stop it."

Date: 
April 4th 1934

Correspondence from Frank "Chee Chee" DeMayo, Inmate #31989, to his wife, Bessie DeMayo, discussing personal and legal affairs, and mentioning Tony Ribaste, a member of a Kansas City organized crime family. DeMayo was sentenced to time in the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth after a conviction of conspiracy to violate Prohibition law.

Date: 
January 9th 1930

Prison record of Frank "Chee Chee" DeMayo, Inmate #31989, which includes personal and family information as well as sentencing and arrest dates. DeMayo was sentenced to time in the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth after a conviction of conspiracy to violate Prohibition law.

Date: 
March 21st 1929

Letter from Lauretta S. Canfield to Governor Lloyd C. Stark, expressing the support of the women of Independence Avenue Methodist Church in his work enforcing liquor and gambling laws, stating that "As christian citizens WE pledge our co-operation to do all we can for the betterment of our City and State."

Date: 
May 20th 1938

Letter from David M. Proctor to Judge James V. Billings, in response to Billings' solicitation of support. Proctor writes that, in spite of warm personal feelings, he cannot support Billings for two reasons: one, he is a Republican, and second, due to his sponsorship by the Pendergast machine.

Date: 
May 21st 1938

Letter from Harley Ferguson to Governor Lloyd C. Stark, describing the open gambling in Kansas City during the 1930s and hoping to shut it down. He expresses particular concern that gambling establishments are open on Sundays and open to women, and says they "operate without fear."

Date: 
June 20th 1938
letter From C. M. Meadows to Lloyd C. Stark

Letter from C. M. Meadows to Governor Lloyd C.Stark, requesting that Stark put him in touch with "some official authority in connection with these beer places." He reports that "a number of the fellows running such places are using their establishments for display rooms for [Judge James] Billings literature," as well as "boosting Pendergast and knocking [Stark's] administration." Meadows also writes that the Pendergast machine has been bad for property values and created "open and solicitious gambling houses, [horse] race rooms," and other issues.

Date: 
June 25th 1938

Letter signed "A friend" to Governor Lloyd C. Stark, discussing the lack of enforcement of gambling and dancing in Kansas City, noting that the Jockey Club and other establishments "put out front lights and pull the blinds down, and run till 5 and 6 a.m. every morning."

Date: 
July 10th 1938

Letter from Mr. and Mrs. E. R. Slater to Governor Lloyd C. Stark, complaining of the frequent prostitution and other crime near their home on 14th Street, and noting that the police are frequent customers, making enforcement unlikely. They also express concern that the property owner rents to black people, and mention threats that they'll lose their pensions if they don't support Pendergast candidates. The Slaters report a bar serving "drinks [on] Sunday which they serve in bowls with crackers in it and call it chicken soup."

Date: 
July 26th 1938

Unsigned postcard to Governor Lloyd C. Stark, reporting that "'slots' are in vogue in Jackson Co.," Jackson County, naming Ridge Arcade and a business operated by Jack Nigro as two locations.

Date: 
July 8th 1938

Letter signed "Your Friend" to Governor Lloyd C. Stark, reporting that Pendergast's influence (namely liquor sales and gambling) stretches across the state line into Missouri, and encloses a newspaper clipping on that subject.

Date: 
July 20th 1938

Letter from W. G. Lynch to Governor Lloyd C. Stark, reporting that while the August 2 election was cleaner than in the past, corruption still remains and that "liquor interests must be curbed and license laws enforced." Lynch also congratulations Stark on James Douglas's win in the Supreme Court vote, and writes that "the boss thrives on prestige and privilege... You have deflated him considerably. He is no longer unbeatable."

Date: 
August 3rd 1938

Letter from C. E. Blomquist to Governor Lloyd C. Stark, congratulating him on Douglas's win, but requesting he "come to Kansas City and break up this insidious ring of Italians and Pendergast workers who are fostering such a string of 200 or 300 gambling houses upon our people."

Date: 
August 3rd 1938

Unsigned letter to Governor Lloyd C. Stark, writing that Kansas City's oppression under Pendergast "is only exceeded by Hitler abroad." The letter thanks Stark for his work in cleaning up state goverment and suggests that he looks into Jackson County courts.

Date: 
December 1st 1938

Letter from M. E. Hartman to Governor Lloyd C. Stark, unenforce rape and other crimes occurring in Kansas City.

Date: 
August 10th 1939

Letter signed "A mother" to Governor Lloyd C. Stark, concerned about a location at 9th and Spruce allowing underage drinking and gambling, and begging Stark to help save the "men & young women who frequent this place."

Date: 
October 4th 1937

Letter from J. R. Smith to Governor Lloyd C. Stark, including a St. Joseph News-Press newspaper clipping about an Al Capone associate marveling at Kansas City vice. The article is titled "WIDE OPEN AND VULGAR." Smith also requests that Stark help retain Henry Dillingham as U.S. Marshall, and writes that Harry Truman "is not fit to represent a good dog kennel."

Letter from J. William Smith to Governor Lloyd C. Stark concerning the inadequacy of police protection in past Kansas City elections and other political and economic problems in the city. He also writes that he "would like to add ... that this is the most Wide 'open' town I was ever in."

Date: 
March 3rd 1938

Letter signed "A friend" to Governor Lloyd C. Stark, concerned about local crime, and describes two men named Jim Monzo and Joe Deluco as "in the racket here of narcotics and want me to get in the racket with them."

Date: 
March 27th 1938

Letter signed "From One Who Wishes you Success" to Governor Lloyd C. Stark with information about how the Pendergast machine achieves its votes by bringing in out-of-town relatives, "friends of the machine" from Kansas City, Kansas, and WPA workers who "were given jobs just a week before."

Date: 
July 16th 1938

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