University of Houston Libraries, Special Collections

Guide to the Kenneth W. Kennedy World War II Letters

Overview of the Collection

Creator Kennedy, Kenneth W.
Collection Title Kenneth W. Kennedy World War II Letters
Dates 1905-1945
Identification 2007-019
Physical Description 0.50 Linear Feet
Language of Materials English
Repository University of Houston Libraries
M.D. Anderson Library, 4333 University Drive, Houston, TX, 77204-2000, URL:, Phone: 713-743-9750

Biographical Information:

Brigadier General Kenneth W. Kennedy was born on September 3, 1918 in Nacogdoches, Texas.  He attended Stephen F. Austin University prior to his acceptance to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Military Engineering, and Military History in 1941.  In addition he attended the Army Command and General Staff College in 1944, graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Masters in Civil Engineering in 1947, later attending the Armed Forces Staff College in 1957 and the Army War College in 1962, where he would eventually serve on the faculty as Director of the International Relations Course.  General Kennedy’s legacy includes military service in World War II, the Greek Civil War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and peacetime engineering projects in the United States as well as Japan and Greece.  His brother, Joseph W. Kennedy, Ph.D., was instrumental in the discovery of plutonium and noted for his work on the atomic bomb at the Los Alamos laboratory.

During World War II Kennedy served as a shore party commander in the invasion of Northern Africa, receiving a promotion to major for his efforts.  Following World War II he served as an engineering advisor to the Greek government during the Greek Civil War, earning commendations from King Paul of Greece.  He served as a Base Section Engineer during the Korean War and Senior Engineer Advisor (later named Theater Engineer) during the Vietnam War.  In the United States, Kennedy was instrumental in the maintenance of Mississippi River navigation channels, the pioneering construction for early space launch facilities at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and, later, various public works projects and civic service.

During his 30 years of service in the Army Corps of Engineers, Kennedy received a number of accolades and commendations including the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit with Cluster.  He died at the age of 90 on June 25, 2009 in Lakeway, Texas.

Scope and Contents

This collection is primarily concerned with correspondence from Kenneth Wade Kennedy relating to his World War II service.  The collection also includes correspondence from various family members, newspaper clippings relevant to the family, and a small number of musicale programs and wedding invitations.

All letters are arranged chronologically with the exception of a discreet number of letters from various family members which have been arranged alphabetically by author.  Newspaper clippings are undated, while programs and wedding invitations have been arranged chronologically.


Conditions Governing Access:

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian. Reproduction decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis.

Access Terms

This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Genre/Form of Material:
Clippings (information artifacts)
Programs (documents)
Personal Name:
Kennedy, Joseph W. (Joseph William), 1916-1957
Kennedy, Kenneth W.
Topical Term:
World War, 1939-1945

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation:

Kenneth W. Kennedy World War II Letters. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. To cite a specific item from this collection, please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting.

Acquisition Information:

Donated by Tom McKinney January 26, 2009

Detailed List of Contents

Correspondence from Kenneth W. Kennedy 1926, 1937-1945, undated

Scope and Contents
Letters from Kenneth W. Kennedy are arranged chronologically and include insights into his time spent at West Point and his role in the Northern Africa campaign of World War II.
Box Folder
1 1 Kenneth W. Kennedy letters 1926, 1937-1939
2 Kenneth W. Kennedy letters 1940-1941
3 Kenneth W. Kennedy letters 1942
4 Kenneth W. Kennedy letters 1943
5 Kenneth W. Kennedy letters January 1944-July 1944
6 Kenneth W. Kennedy letters September 1944-August 1945, undated

Correspondence from Kennedy Family 1942-1944, undated

Scope and Contents
Letters from various members of Kenneth W. Kennedy’s family allow for a look into his relations back in the U.S. during World War II. Of particular note are letters from his brother, Joseph Kennedy, sent while working on the discovery of plutonium at the University of California, Berkley and while working on the first atomic bomb at Los Alamos. The fourteenth folder, with letters from various family members, has been arranged chronologically.
Box Folder
1 7 Maddie Baxter Wade Kennedy 1942-1944, undated
8 Joseph William Kennedy (father) 1942-1944
9 Joseph William Kennedy (brother) 1924, 1943-1944, undated
10 Adrienne Kennedy 1943-1944
11 Zeno Cox 1942-1944
12 Tissie 1942-1943, undated
13 Joan Williams 1942
14 Various family members 1934-1945, undated

Newspaper Clippings undated

Scope and Contents
Newspaper clippings are undated and relate primarily to various topics of import to the family, but also include references to Kenneth W. Kennedy and his service during World War II.
Box Folder
1 15 Various newspaper clippings undated

Programs and Invitations 1905-1912

Scope and Contents
A small handful of musicale programs and family wedding invitations are arranged chronologically.
Box Folder
1 16 Programs, invitations 1905-1912