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Finding Aid Available for Kenneth W. Kennedy World War II Letters

categories: Finding Aids, USS Houston & Military History

A finding aid is now available for the Kenneth W. Kennedy World War II Letters.  The correspondence of Brigadier General Kennedy and his family provide an intimate glimpse of World War II life, both behind the curtain and on the stage of the North Africa Campaign.

Kenneth W. Kennedy played the role of a young Shore Party Commander in Operation Torch as part of the invasion of Northern Africa.  After the war, his engineering projects at home were numerous and included maintenance of the Mississippi River navigation channels as well as work on the early space launch facilities at Cape Canaveral.  This collection of letters home during World War II not only give insight and analysis of operations in the North Africa Campaign, but also (as much as secrecy would allow) the lengthy and meticulous preparations, both in the U.S. and abroad, leading up to the invasion.

The collection dates back to Kennedy’s days at West Point and as a whole provide a telling look at the transition of an officer from peacetime to the perils of war.  Letters from a number of family members, including his brother Joseph William Kennedy, are also included in the collection.  Joseph William Kennedy was a member of the team to first produce and isolate plutonium at the University of California, Berkley and he would later head the Chemistry and Metallurgy division at the Los Alamos National Laboratory as work proceeded on the first atomic bombs.  His letters include correspondence from both his time spent at Berkley as well as Los Alamos.

This collection, providing insights into the family and work of two brothers so critical to the war effort of the Allies, is sure to be a delight to anyone interested in the history of World War II.  Curious?  Take a detailed look at the finding aid or drop by the Special Collections Reading Room to view the entire collection.

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