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Letter from Major Gregory Vigeant, Jr., to the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners discussing issues at polling places during previous elections. He writes that "citizens have been threatened and told if they did note vote as ... they were told to by the machine that taxes would be raised and I, myself, have been threatened by violence."

July 9th 1940

Letter from Independence, Missouri Mayor Roger T. Sermon to Senator Harry S. Truman. Sermon expresses to Truman he is appalled that James M. Pendergast "has just simply quit." He then discusses Kansas City Mayor John B. Gage and the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant.

February 14th 1941

Letter from H. H. Vaughan on behalf of Senator Harry S. Truman to Kansas City, Missouri Mayor John B. Gage. Vaughan informs Gage that the Vocational Training Bill is still pending in the Senate. This bill in part affords $75,000 to the Kansas City Public Schools for vocational training in federal defense manufacturing.

June 28th 1941

Letter from Kansas City, Missouri Mayor John B. Gage to Senator Harry S. Truman. Gage informs Truman that funds to purchase equipment for vocational training in federal defense manufacturing are not available until the Senate passes an appropriation for such purpose.

June 20th 1941

Portrait of John B. Gage, Mayor of Kansas City MO from 1940-1946. Source: Kansas City Museum (George Fuller Green Collection).

John B. Gage
Daniel Coleman

Urged to run for mayor during the final years of the Pendergast era, John B. Gage reportedly called his candidacy “the silliest thing in the world.” But the qualities that made him such an unlikely choice—his distaste for politics and devotion to ethical, transparent city government—made him an ideal leader for a generation of Kansas Citians who had come to expect the worst from their elected officials.

Photograph of John B. Gage, mayor of Kansas City from 1940 to 1946, seated at his desk with a pen in hand.

John B. Gage, Kansas City mayor from 1940 to 1946, in city council chambers.

John B. Gage, Kansas City mayor from 1940 to 1946, in city council chambers.

Photograph of Kansas City Mayor John B. Gage, who served from 1940 to 1946, with members of the City Council.

August 17th 1942
Kay Barnes

Of the thousands of women volunteers who devoted time, energy, and resources to the reform campaigns of 1940, one woman was acknowledged by all as their singular leader: Claude Gorton. As the designated chairman of the Women's Division of the United Campaign Committee, she exhibited exemplary leadership throughout the reform efforts of the late 1930s. Indeed, Gorton is perhaps best known for her leadership role in the 1940 municipal elections, which resulted in a “clean sweep” and replaced the remnants of the Pendergast machine with a reformed city charter and new candidates.

Portrait of John B. Gage, reform mayoral candidate in 1940.

Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict,1855-1865.
The Pendergast Years, Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression.
KC History, Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library.