The Kansas City Star – National Archives to host Dennis Farney, author of The Barnstormer and The Lady, with special guest Mary Lynn (Beech) Oliver

The National Archives at Kansas City will host author Dennis Farney and special guest Mary Lynn Oliver, daughter of Beechcraft Aviation founders Walter and Olive Ann Beech, for a discussion and signing of his book The Barnstormer and The Lady Thursday, February 24, at 6:30 p.m.

Farney will be available to sign copies of his book after the discussion. A 6:00 p.m. reception will precede the event.

The Barnstormer and The Lady tells the story of Walter and Olive Ann Beech, the remarkable couple whose careers spanned virtually the entire history of American aviation. It is also the story of a marriage of opposites. Walter was a charming rascal, a hard-living barnstormer. Olive Ann was a small-town Kansas girl who hid her shyness behind an imperious manner and a backbone of steel. Together they founded Beech Aircraft Corp. in the midst of the Great Depression and guided their company to fame and fortune.

Their lives intersected with the giants of aviation: Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Jimmy Doolittle, and many others. Beechcraft customers ranged from Arthur Godfrey to Lyndon B. Johnson, from Hollywood stars to Pentagon generals and the company did much to transform Wichita, Kansas, from a dusty cowtown to an international aviation industry leader.

Dennis Farney is a native Kansan who received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism and political science at the University of Kansas. He spent 35 years working for the Wall Street Journal, initially in Dallas, New York City, Washington D.C., and finally Kansas City. During his time in Kansas City, he served as the political reporter and covered presidential, senatorial, congressional, and gubernatorial campaigns for the nation’s heartland. His career at the Wall Street Journal took him to numerous national political conventions and overseas to Eurpoe and Vietnam with Senator Bob Kerry of Nebraska. Since his retirement in 2001, Farney has hosted writing workshops for numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal and the Congressional Quarterly. He has also coordinated several book projects including Stand for the Best in partnership with Kansas City philanthropist and civil leader Tom Bloch.

Copies of The Barnstormer and The Lady are available for purchase at The Kansas City Store at the National Archives. For more information or to make a reservation for this free event, call 816-268-8010 or email:

The National Archives at Kansas City is one of 13 facilities nationwide where the public has access to Federal archival records. It is home to more than 50,000 cubic feet of historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by nearly 100 Federal agencies. Serving the Central Plains Region, the archives holds records from the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The facility is located at 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108. It is open to the public Tuesday – Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for research, with the exhibits open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit:

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