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Roberts, Joseph (1915-June 6, 1996)



  • Existence: 1915 - June 6, 1996


Joseph Doane Roberts was born in Needham, Massachusetts in 1915, but spent most of his life in Liberty, Missouri after attending William Jewell College. After graduating in 1940 with a Bachelor of Art’s Degree in Sociology, Roberts stayed in Liberty and married Martha Gilmer. It was here that his extensive journalistic career began, working at the Kansas City Star (KC Star), as well as the Kansas City Times. It was in 1946 that Roberts joined the KC Star after a brief period working as the managing editor of the Smithville Democrat Herald Newspaper. His first assignment was working at the Star’s news desk at the Muehlebach Hotel where President Harry S. Truman kept an office. His tenure at the KC Star included coverage of police activities, the courts, entertainment, politics, and foreign trade. He also covered foreign affairs in Ireland, England, Italy, Austria, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. In 1977, he was recognized for his exceptional reporting on downtown events by Downtown Inc. As Roberts came to be more of a prominent figure at the Star, writing more about business and real estate, he became the Star’s real estate editor, a position he would hold until his retirement from the Star in 1980. After his retirement, Roberts continued to write as a freelance journalist. Roberts also worked as a correspondent for various business publications including the National Real Estate Investor, McGraw-Hill World Service, and Engineering-News Record Magazine. In addition to having a highly successful career in journalism, Roberts was also in the Navy, serving in WWII and Korea. During the conflict in Korea, Roberts was assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Hospital in the public relations and welfare department. He also served on the National Board of governors at William Jewell College, and was a member of several fraternities and organizations including Sigma Delta Chi (a professional journalism fraternity), Sigma Nu, Alpha Phi Omega, the Sons of Rest, and International Relations Club. Roberts was also an active member of his church, First Presbyterian Church of Liberty, where he served as an elder. Roberts died June 6, 1996 at the age of 81 after losing his battle with leukemia. His wife, Martha, died January 30, 2017. Both are buried in the Mt. Memorial cemetery in Liberty, Missouri on the William Jewell campus.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Joe Roberts Collection

Identifier: MS-0342
Scope and Contents The Joe Roberts Collection was donated in October 2015 to the Dr. Kenneth J. LaBudde Department of Special Collections by Martha Roberts. This eclectic collection consists of items Roberts acquired during his time in Missouri, working at the Kansas City Star and the Kansas City Times. Included are items pertaining to the popular dry goods store, Emery, Bird, Thayer co., such as photographs, booklets, catalogs, and newspaper clippings. Also part of the collection, are items pertaining to...
Dates: 1899 - 1984