The Wilborn Collection

The Wilborn Negative Collection is unprocessed and uncatalogued. Therefore, the collection is currently under restricted access. Researchers are unable to to view the negatives at this time. Our plans are to share this extraordinary historic resource when substantial digitization of the collection is complete.

The Jackson County Historical Society in March 2017 acquired The Wilborn Photographic Collection – easily the largest and most significant collection of historic photographs of the Kansas City region, including commercial entities, events, built environment, streetscapes and people.

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JCHS is currently deeply involved in organizing staff, volunteers and equipment to digitize the entire collection at processing location in midtown Kansas City.

The collection has easily in excess of 500,000 images (perhaps many more) which are for the most part not indexed or cataloged.

We are looking for interns, volunteers and additional monetary to support to process this collection in a timely fashion.

If you have questions or interest in the Wilborn Collection, please send us a note through the online form. We are unable to search the collection in search of particular images at this time. Also, researchers are unable to search through the collection. Thank you for your patience. 

The collection dates back to 1921 and includes images through 2007.  Special subsets include 360 degree panoramic photographs and photograph images or negatives that reflect changes in photographic medium and different dimensions.  The vast majority of the collection is in the form of negatives, with some positive prints.

The collection comprises images from previous entities including Tyner Murphy, the Anderson Studio collections, Clarence Wilborn and several decades of professional work product by the current owner: Chris Wilborn.

Most of the collection is stored in metal filing cabinets in some chronological order.