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Local History

Digital Douglas County History: Get Digging!

Do you enjoy spelunking for local history? If so, we’ve got a goldmine for you: in January, we launched a new tool for digging into our community’s past–the Digital Douglas County History portal (find it at http://history.lplks.org, or on our Genealogy and Local History page under the Research Resources tab on the library’s homepage). This project, a collaborative venture of the Watkins Community Museum, the Douglas County Genealogical Society, and the Lawrence Public Library, features hundreds of images of Lawrence faces, places, and events. Read More..

Postcards from the Edge (of History) and More

Local history buffs, genealogy researchers, students, and scholars—prepare to get lost in our new collaborative online portal for Digital Douglas County History.

We’ve partnered with Watkins Community Museum and Douglas County Genealogical Society to make this available and will continue to develop its collections, both old and new.

Featured right now is a collection of postcards specific to Douglas County from Sally Postma, and her mother, Charline Fitzpatrick. They were digitized and uploaded over the 2016 summer by an intern from the University of Kansas.

>>Take a Tour<<


Sally’s son-in-law, Peter Carttar, says, ”The postcards … nearly all depict scenes of Lawrence from the late 19th century through the first two decades of the 20th century. The collection contains many photographs of downtown Lawrence, Haskell Indian Nations University, the University of Kansas and various disasters that visited the town from a 1911 tornado to ice flow jams on the Kansas River.” Read More

Thanks to a generous gift from the Douglas County Genealogical Society, we have some fresh funding to put towards continuing our digitization efforts.

Why digitize? Digitization adds value to physical collections by making it easier to share, view, and research historic documents while protecting artifacts from overhandling.

For more information about this project, contact Melissa Fisher Isaacs, Information Services Coordinator at mfisherisaacs@lpl.org.

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Kansas Day + Local History Portal Launch

Celebrate Kansas Day with the launch of our online local history portal! All ages welcome on Sunday, Jan 29 from 2-3 PM in the Auditorium.

Peter and Rosalea Carttar will discuss the remarkable postcard collection available to view on the portal, and you’ll learn how you can be part of this project!

Digital Douglas County History is a collaboration of the Watkins Community Museum, the Douglas County Genealogical Society, and LPL. Email Melissa for more info.

Community Torch Relay + Party!

On Wednesday, July 27, the Watkins Museum of History opens their new exhibit about Douglas County Olympians with the only way to begin an Olympics…with a torch relay!

At 10 AM, participants will gather at the Lawrence Public Library before sending off the first runner. The relay will make its way down Massachusetts Street before its dramatic finish at the Watkins at 11th and Mass, where we will “light” the torch of the new exhibit!

From 10:15 AM–12 PM, join us at the museum for a party with Olympic-themed games, crafts, and refreshments celebrating the exhibit and the athletic achievements of our area’s residents.

If being a torch-bearer sounds like fun, Watkins is looking for volunteers ages 6-adult to be part of their relay.Kids ages 6-15 must sign up with a parent or guardian. Contact Abby Magariel at the Watkins Museum for more information: amagariel@watkinsmuseum.org, or call 841-4109.

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Local History And More At LPL

Interested in researching your roots? Investigating the history of your house? Heard about one of the many pivotal historic events that happened right here in Lawrence, and want to learn more about it? The Information Services team at Lawrence Public Library is here to help! Our Local History room is a quiet, light-filled space on our lower level, and a treasure trove of resources to help you get started on your research. Read More..