Manuscript Collection

J.C. Nichols Company Records, ca. 1896-2007 (K0106)

322 cubic feet, + oversize volumes-oversize rolled items

Below is just a selection of the inventory. Full Inventory Available Here

Company records relating to the activities and history of the J.C. Nichols Company, the premier real estate company in the Kansas City area. Included are some personal papers of J.C. Nichols. Also architectural drawings for some Nichols development buildings and residences


Jesse Clyde Nichols (1880-1950), born and raised in Johnson County, Kansas, entered the real estate business in Kansas City, Kansas, in 1903, but by 1905 moved his efforts to Kansas City, Missouri, where he found his success.  His objective was to "develop whole residential neighborhoods that would attract an element of people who desired a better way of life, a nicer place to live and would be willing to work in order to keep it better."  Nichols included in his early planning fine residences, conveniently located shopping areas, and restrictive covenants to maintain the quality of housing.  From this base the J.C. Nichols Company grew in Kansas City and became responsible for the development of some 56 residential areas.  In addition, the company has entered such real estate ventures as rental housing, industrial parks, hotels, and shopping centers.

Perhaps the most widely recognized Nichols Company development is the Country Club District in Kansas City, Missouri.  The Country Club Plaza Shopping Center is, reportedly, the first shopping area in the United States planned to serve those arriving by automobile rather than trolley car. The Plaza has evolved since the opening of the first building in 1922 to a major Kansas City shopping center.

Under the leadership of J.C. Nichols and his son, Miller Nichols (1911-  ), the J.C. Nichols Company has been a primary force in the development of Kansas City and has been recognized nationally and internationally for its efforts in the area of real estate and neighborhood development.


The J.C. Nichols Company Records contain personal and business files dating approximately from 1930 to 1980. The personal files of J.C. Nichols, folders 1 through 80, contain material concerning his private life and include personal correspondence, trust agreements with his children, personal financial matters, speeches, subject files and articles written by him.

The business and financial files pertaining to actions of the J.C. Nichols Company begin with Folder 81.  They contain financial information, administrative files, development restrictions, community organizations and the securing of art objects.  Also included are printed materials produced by and about the Company and photographs of business associates of J.C. Nichols (folders 142- 155).

The following is a selection of speeches which are available online and links are provided below. View the complete inventory here.


Folder 31"City Planning" II, no date
Folder 32"Country Club Plaza", no date
Folder 33"Land Sub-Division for New, Outlying Shopping Centers in American Cities", no date
Folder 34"Why I am in the Real Estate Business", no date
Folder 35"Suburban Subdivisions With Community Features", June 1924
Folder 36"The Development of Outlying Shopping Centers", 20 May 1929
Folder 37"Opening of William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and Mary Atkins Museum of Fine Arts", 11 Dec. 1933
Folder 38"Recovery in Construction Activity and Realty Values", 9 Nov. 1935
Folder 39"City Planning", July 1936
Folder 40Letter to Members of Land Developers and Home Builders Division, 6 March 1937
Folder 41"Restrictions & Homes Associations", Feb. 1939
Folder 42"Planning For Permanence", 18 Nov. 1948
Speeches and Articles
Folder 43City Planning
Folder 44J.C. Nichols School Commencement (no date)
Folder 45Mistakes We Have Made in Developing Shopping Centers
Folder 46Statement Regarding Fort to Fort Drive, Washington D.C.
Folder 47Town Planning
Folder 48City Planning, Kansas City, 1923
Folder 49Suburban Subdivisions with Community Features, Washington, 1924
Folder 50Individual vs. Collective Efforts (Salesmanship) Kansas City, 1933
Folder 51Plaza Association, Kansas City, 1934
Folder 52J.C. Nichols School Commencement, 1936
Folder 53Outline of Remarks Accompanying Slides, Washington, 1936
Folder 54Plaza Association Honoring J.C. Nichols Company, 1937
Folder 55What to Do and What Not to Do in Planning a Subdivision, Dec. 1943
Folder 56Progress in the Plaza in 1946-1947

INVENTORY (1131kc): BOX 107

SPEECHES BY J.C. NICHOLS (numbers assigned by Nichols Co.)
Building and Selling of homes, 1936 (408)
Central United States-A Sleeping Industrial Giant (764)
City Planning (30)
City Planning (41)
City Planning (62)
City Planning (132)
Code of Fair Competition for Home Builders. Statement Accompanying, Washington, DC, 1933 (228)
Creating a Cultural Center Second to None? KC (119)
Creating Good Residence Neighborhood by Planning (104)
Development of Outlying Shopping Centers? Buffalo, 1929 (195)
Don'ts for Sales People, KC, 1933 (244)
European Trip (122)
Home Building and Subdivision Department, Cleveland (1)
Important Industrial Aspects of Kansas City, 1936 (392)
Individual vs. Collective Effort-Speech to Plaza Association-Fall 1933 (233)
Is Peace a Dream? (Class of 1897) (A)
Kansas and Missouri River Improvements, KCK, 1926 (159)
Missouri River, KC, 1935 (304)
Mistakes We Made Community Development-ULI#1, March 1945
Mistakes We Made Developing Shopping Centers-ULI #4, August 1945
Never Downgrade Your Competitor
Pioneer Mother Group, KC, 1924 (174)
Points on Salesmanship by JCN-speeches
Pointers for Salesmen, KC, 1933 (247)
Prudential Insurance Agents, KC, 1937 (folder empty) (447)
Real Estate Subdivisions-Best Manner of Handling Themes, June 20, 1912
Responsibilities and Opportunities of a Real Estate Board (70)
Robert A. Long, 1925 (151)
Robert A. Long Memorial, 1934 (258)
Shopping Centers-Look Before You Leap
Western Petroleum Refiners Association, KC, 1928 (178)
Wichita Art Association, 1934 (268)
William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and Atkins Museum of Fine Arts - opening, 1933 (253)
William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and Atkins Museum of Fine Arts - value to KC and Middle West, 1935 (290)
Homes of the Month, 1984-1991 (extra copies, not all months present)
Annual Reports, 1971-1997 (extra copies)

BOX 108

Folder 1Miller Nichols - general correspondence, 1973
Folder 2Miller Nichols - personal investments, 1974
Folder 3Miller Nichols - personal trips, 1970-1975
Folder 3aMiller Nichols-correspondence with KU re. JCN's papers
Folder 4Miller Nichols-letters home during Army service in Hawaii-1941
Folder 6Colorado Ranch Property, 1958-1959 REMOVED
Folder 7757 - Brief review of work on the Missouri River
Folder 8764 - Central United States - A Sleeping Industrial Giant
Folder 9799 - Postwar Development of the Middle East, 1944
Folder 10803 - Mistakes We Have Made in Community Development (empty)
Folder 11849 - Value of Research for the Milling Industry
Folder 12870 - Planning for Permanence, NYC, 1948
Folder 13876 - Land Subdivision for New, Outlying Shopping Centers
Folder 14307 - Countryside Homes Association, KC, 1935
Folder 15312 - J.C. Nichols School Commencement, 1935
Folder 16326 - Missouri River Opening, KC, 1935
Folder 17U.S. Chamber of Commerce? KC, 1935
Folder 18344 - Prudential Insurance Agents, KC, 1936
Folder 19640 - J.C. Nichols School Commencement, 1939
Folder 20645 - Foreign Trade Possibilities for KC and This Trade Terr.
Folder 21671 - Midwest Foreign Trade Conference, 1939
Folder 22675 - Lewis H. Brown Dinner, 1940
Folder 23677 - Red Cross Rally
Folder 24679 - Philadelphia speech
Folder 25689 - Progress and Needs of Our Defense Program Today, 1941
Folder 26702 - American Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, Washington, 1941
Folder 27708 - Defense and the Middle West, 1941
Folder 28715 - An Industrial Call to Arms, 1941
Folder 29721 - Need of Balance in Agriculture and Industry, 1940
Folder 30738 - Missouri River: Its Relation to Unified Inland Waterways
Folder 31749 - Article prepared for "Architectural Record" 1943
Folder 32567 - South America
Folder 33573 - Subdivision Practices, 1938
Folder 34600 - South American Trade Conference
Folder 35603 - Restrictions and Homes Associations
Folder 36619 - Latin America Beckons to Industry of Middle West, 1939
Folder 37624 - Letter to Land Developers and House Builders of NAREB, 1937
Folder 38637 - Foreign Trade and Its Relation to Kansas City, 1939
Folder 39450 - Salesmanship, Associates Division Real Estate Board, KC, 1937
Folder 40453 - Why I Am in the Real Estate Business, St. Louis, 1937
Folder 41472 - A&P Grocery Company Convention, KC, 1937 (empty)
Folder 42482 - Labor Crisis - Talk to JCN Men, KC, 1937
Folder 43485 - Our Right to Work, KC, 1937 (labor crisis)
Folder 44488 - Responsibilities and Opportunities of Kansas Realtors, 1937
Folder 45513 - A Yankee Realtor in South America, 1938
Folder 46543 - Merchandising and Traveling in South America, 1938
Folder 47357 - City Planning, NAREB, Chicago Study Course, 1936
Folder 48381 - Mexico, 1936


BOX 156: Folder 14Jesse Clyde Nichols - memoir
City Planning [ca. 1922?]
Facts Pertaining to the Home Building Industry in the United States, 1933
Planning of Jefferson City, 1938
J.C. Nichols School's First Graduating Class Commencement, 1929
Developer's View of Deed Restrictions