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Snyder, Robert M. (Robert McClure), 1876-1937



  • Existence: January 17, 1876 - February 9, 1937


Born January 17, 1876, in Louisville, Kentucky, Robert McClure Snyder, Jr. was raised in Kansas City by his father and stepmother. Snyder’s mother, Frances Hord Snyder, had died when Snyder was a year old. Snyder was educated in local schools; the Missouri Military Academy at Mexico, Missouri; Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky; and the University of Missouri.

After college Snyder became involved in the business enterprises of his father, a prominent banker and land speculator. Their success in piping natural gas affordably from southeastern Kansas, Oklahoma and other places provided the Snyder family its fortune.

Snyder married Mary Amelia Bowen on April 10, 1906. Shortly after their return from a European trip in October 1907, Snyder’s father died unexpectedly in one of the first motor car accidents in Kansas City. Snyder and his half-brothers, Leroy J. Snyder and Kenneth White Snyder, continued development of the Ha Ha Tonka estate of more than 5,000 acres in the Missouri Ozarks, which their father had started and where an imposing stone mansion was completed exteriorly before his death.

By 1916 Snyder had divested his business interests in the Kansas Natural Gas Company. Afterward, Snyder’s primary interests were the continuing development of Ha Ha Tonka (now a State Park), as well as research and writing on Western Americana, a subject on which Snyder was an authority and avid collector.

Robert M. Snyder, Jr. died of a heart attack on February 9, 1937, at age 61. That same year, William Volker anonymously donated the entire collection, then equaling some 14,000 titles, to the University of Kansas City (now University of Missouri at Kansas City).


“Heart Attack Is Fatal at 61 to Robert Snyder.” Kansas City Journal-Post. February 10, 1937.

Oberg, Suzee Soldanels. “The Far Reaching Legacy of Kansas City’s Robert McClure Snyder,” Jackson County Historical Society Journal. Spring 2005.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Robert M. Snyder Jr. Collection

Identifier: MS-0161
Scope and Contents The Snyder Collection began as the private collection of Robert M. Snyder, Jr., a prominent Kansas City businessman in the early part of the 20th century. The collection was purchased by William Volker after the death of Snyder in 1937. That same year, Volker anonymously donated the entire collection, then equaling some 14,000 titles, to the University of Kansas City (now...
Dates: 1672 - 1976