Heart of America Glass Collectors

Kansas City

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Club History

 

The first National Depression Glass Association (NDGA) National Convention was held in Washington, DC, in 1975 and the second was in Oklahoma City in 1976.  A group of friends from the Kansas City area attended the second NDGA convention in Oklahoma; they were dazzled by the booths and displays, fascinated by the seminars, and caught up in the enthusiasm and fellowship of sharing the event with fellow collectors.  By the Spring of 1977, the group knew that it wanted to form a collectors club and eventually host the NDGA convention in Kansas City.

A dozen collectors attended the organizational meeting in May 1977 at the home of Gene Loveland.  The Heart of America Glass Collectors was born!  Over the next couple of months the club drafted and adopted by-laws, elected officers, incorporated as a nonprofit educational organization, and developed a proposal for hosting an NDGA convention.  The club included the following founding members:

  • Gene & Helen Allen

  • Betty Anderson

  • Carol Anderson

  • Helen Brink

  • Jim & Georgeann Hemry

  • Gene Loveland

  • Marilyn Loveland

  • Ferne McAfee

  • June Vandiver

40 years later, Gene & Helen Allen and Gene Loveland are still active members in the club!  The following members were the first elected officers of the Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc.:

  • President: Georgeann Hemry

  • Vice President: Richard Stiles

  • Secretary: Marilyn Loveland

  • Treasurer: Helen Allen

  • Historian: Jef Younger

Pat McGrain (a friend of the Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc. from Springfield, MO) attended the third NDGA National Convention in Buena Park, CA, in 1977 and presented a proposal on behalf of the Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc. to host the 1978 convention.  The proposal was accepted and the Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc. was proud to host the fourth annual NDGA Convention in Kansas City in July 1978.  (Click this link to see details of the1978 convention in Kansas City on the NDGA web site.)  Gene Loveland was the Convention Coordinator and Show Chairman.  The convention was held at the Hilton Plaza Inn at 45th and Main, overlooking the Country Club Plaza.  After the convention, the club looked for a way to promote collecting and to share their love of depression era glass and pottery with the community.

Meanwhile, in 1972 Fern Angus (from Springfield, MO) established a depression glass show in Independence, MO.  Fern later sold the show to Scotty’s Antiques.

In 1984 and 1985, the Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc. sponsored a depression glass show at the Holiday Inn in Lenexa, KS.

In 1986, the Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc. bought the promotion rights to the Independence show from Scotty’s Antiques and continues to promote it in the Spring and Fall each year.

  • The 1986 to 1989 and Spring 1990 shows were held at the Howard Johnson’s in Independence, MO.

  • The Fall 1990 show was held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Blue Springs, MO.

  • The Fall 1991 through Spring 2001 shows were held at the Heart of America 4-H Building in Independence, MO.

  • Since the Fall of 2001 the shows have been held at the Sermon Center in Independence, MO.

The Depression Era Glass & Pottery Show & Sale sponsored by the Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc. is the longest-running depression era glass and pottery show in the Kansas City area.  (Click the Glass Show button on the left to learn more about the show.)

The club has been an active supporter of the National Depression Glass Association through the years, promoting membership in the national organization and hosting the annual convention several more times.  In lieu of a local club, Pat Rose, a long-term member of the Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc. hosted the 20th annual NDGA Convention in nearby Topeka, KS in 1994.  (Click this link to see details of the 1994 convention on the NDGA web site.)

A National Glass Collection was proposed and created at the 25th annual NDGA Convention in Little Rock, AR in 1999.  Members of the Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc. were among the first to contribute to the National Glass Collection at the convention.

The Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc. proudly hosted the 28th annual NDGA Convention in Lee’s Summit, MO, in July 2002.  (Click this link to see details of the 2002 convention on the NDGA web site.)  The Convention Chairperson was Bev Harris.

The Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc. proudly hosted the 41st annual NDGA Convention in Kansas City MO, in July 2015.  (Click this link to see details of the 2015 convention on the NDGA web site.)  The Convention Chairperson was John Fields.

Two founding members of the Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc., Gene and Helen Allen, have the distinction of exhibiting at the most NDGA conventions (39 and counting).  They have missed only three conventions since they started doing them in 1978.

The Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc. has provided several major officers in the National Depression Glass Association, including the following members:

  • 1978-1980: Gene Loveland: President

  • 1978-1979: Helen Allen: Secretary

  • 1983-1984: Georgeann Hemry: Secretary

  • 1984-1986: Gene Loveland, Vice President

  • 1988-1990: Pat Rose: Secretary

  • 1990-1993: Marilyn Loveland: Secretary

In the 1970s and 1980s, the club regularly participated in a program with the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals in which club members ran a concession stand during a game and were able to keep a percentage of the profits for the club.  This early seed money allowed the club to purchase the promotion rights to the local show, to develop a reference library of books and video about the glass and pottery, and to make regular donations to charities (both local and national) and disaster relief organizations.

Since its inception, the Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc. has regularly supported a wide variety of charitable causes, including the American Red Cross, Harvesters-The Community Food Network, Kansas City’s City Union Mission, the Salvation Army, and relief funds set up after specific floods, hurricanes, and tornados.

Club members enjoy travelling together to shows, factories, and antique malls.  Planning the trips is half the fun, but sharing the excitement of treasure hunting with fellow collectors provides many enjoyable memories (and quite a few stories).  Club members have caravanned in vans “back east” to the Fenton glass factory and “down south” to the Rosenberg, TX show (stopping at every antique mall along the way).  They travelled by train to the Belleville, IL show and have enjoyed several antique mall junkets via tour bus.

Over the years, the Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc. has participated in a variety of opportunities to educate the Kansas City community about depression era glass and pottery, to instill an appreciation for the craftsmanship and skill of the manufacturers, and to foster a love for collecting.

  • In July 1978, the club created a temporary display for the main Kansas City, MO Public Library (downtown) and the Country Club Plaza library branch (near the NDGA convention site), prior to and during the time of the NGDA convention in Kansas City.  Depression glass and elegant glass were featured in cases in the entries to the libraries and in the main reading rooms.

  • In July 1978, Helen Allen was interviewed on a local mid-morning talk show about depression glass, the NDGA convention, and collecting in general.  She showed highlights of her collection, shared the story of how she started collecting, and answered questions about the glass.

  • From the start, club members have been asked to speak at a variety of local meetings, clubs, and events.  These usually involved at least one 8-foot table of treasures, a rapt audience, and lots of questions and answers afterwards.

  •  In recent years the Heart of America Glass Collectors, Inc. has partnered with the Bingham-Waggoner Estate, an historic home in Independence, MO, to provide several monthly featured displays each year.  The estate provides four huge showcases on the second floor and lets club members fill them.  Displays have ranged from Imperial’s Boudoir items to Fostoria’s Azure June pattern to Hall’s Crocus pattern and teapots to a colorful cornucopia of depression glass and dinnerware.  The club members always receive positive feedback from the docents, who say that the displays are tour highlights.

  • Club members have written articles for numerous publications over the years, including the National Depression Glass Daze, the National Depression Glass Journal, and Discover Mid-America.

New members are always welcome.  If you would like to check the club out to see if it is right for you, please join us at an upcoming meeting.  Check out the Club Info on this web site.