An inventory of the Michael Kenny Papers at The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives
Born in London, England, on June 23, 1923, Kenny earned five degrees at Oxford University including a doctorate in social anthropology in 1967. In the Second World War, he served in the Mediterranean as an officer in Britain's Indian Army. He and his wife, Laura, had three children: Hal Jose, Ana Pilar, and Michael Patrick. He managed a theater in London's West End, taught at Oxford and in Spain, and joined the faculty of The Catholic University of America in 1959. At CUA, he was Assistant Professor from 1959, Associate Professor from 1962, and Ordinary Professor from 1966. He was a member of the university's President's Advisory Committee on University Planning, chaired Latin American studies committees, and was a trustee of the Consortium of Washington Universities. As the Editor of the Anthropology Quarterly, past president of the Washington Anthropological Society, and a fellow of the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology, Kenny was internationally recognized for his contributions to the field of Ibero-American Studies. His A Spanish Tapestry: Town and Country in Castile (1961) was widely praised and went through many editions. He also served on grant review boards for the Fulbright program and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was also a university representative to the Upper Northeast Coordinating Council and a soccer coach for the Catholic Youth Organization. He died on January 11, 1986, at Lealand Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C.
The Michael Kenny Papers consists largely of his research and class notes, but also contains significant documentation on his academic career at The Catholic University of America (CUA) as well as his writing and publishing work.
The first series, Research and Classroom Materials, 1900 and 1940s to 1980s, in boxes 1-28, contains the most documentation of Kenny's research and classroom work. Since there is a noticeable overlap between his classroom and research work, these papers are included in one series. Some of the material is in Spanish, but the majority is in English. Information on Kenny's work in other countries includes extensive documentation of his work in Mexico with Centro de Investigaciones Superiores del INAH. The bulk of the materials include files on Spanish culture both in Spain and in Latin America. Kenny also collected information on D.C. issues such as immigration and urban infrastructure. There are notes from his research trips as well as printed material on particular events. The final three boxes in this series contain extensive bibliographical notes from his research both in English and in Spanish. Much of the material from his class notes relates to the course he taught on witchcraft and magic at CUA. The classroom materials also include graded papers and grade sheets which are considered confidential student records.
The second series, Writings, 1950s-1980s, in boxes 29-32, has extensive documentation of Kenny's publishing and writing efforts through galley copies, editorial correspondence, book reviews, encyclopedia entries, and conference papers. Much of the documentation on Kenny's published works include correspondence and drafts of Spanish Tapestry: Town and Country in Castile, as well as two of the books he co-edited: La Antropologia Medica en Espana (1980) and Urban Life in Mediterranean Europe (1983). This series also contains copies of Kenny's work as editor of the Anthropological Quarterly, which was published by the anthropology department.
The third series, Office Files, 1950s-1987, in boxes 33-40, is made up of materials related to Kenny's work at The Catholic University of America Department of Anthropology as well as area institutions. Consisting largely of correspondence, the documents include information on Kenny's consulting work, discussions with students and colleagues, CUA budget and curriculum, summer school, and events on campus and in the Washington, D.C., consortium of colleges and universities.
The fourth series, Professional Organization and Conference Material, 1960-1985, in boxes 41-42, contains materials from Kenny's participation in professional conferences, institutes, and workshops. Many of the conferences Kenny attended were annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association, and some of the files include notes and correspondence related to specific sessions for which Kenny wrote papers.
The fifth series, Printed Material, 1930s-1970s, in boxes 43-44, is printed material from Kenny's office that includes his name, such as professional directories, or that is significant as primary source material.
The sixth series, Personal Files, 1940s-1980s, in boxes 45-46, consists largely of material compiled by Kenny from his student days at Oxford including class and research notes and drafts of his thesis. There is also a folder of correspondence from Eve Warren Byrd.
The seventh series, Photographs, 1940-1981, in box 47, mostly document Kenny's professional career from the late 1950s until the early 1980s. There are also casual snapshots of friends, as well as photos from Kenny's time as a soldier in World War II. A number of slides were transferred to the audio visual collection.
The eighth series, Audio Visual materials, 1970s, in box 48, has tape reels from a panel Kenny participated in at The Catholic University of America. These were transferred to the audio visual collection.
The ninth and last series, Religious Objects, undated, in box 49, is consists of two communion props and a framed image of a saint.
Please note that this collection is stored off site so that it may take up to 72 hours to retrieve boxes.
The Michael Kenny Papers consists of eight series:
Restrictions on Access
There are access restrictions on Series 1 and Series 3. Files will need to be screened for confidential student information.
Donated by Mrs. Michael Kenny and the CUA Department of Anthropology in 1994, 1995, and 1996.
Much of the Kenny Papers remains in its original folders. One reason for this is the large amount of writing on the folders themselves. Also, the papers are in good condition. Some metal removal did occur if corrosion had occurred. Some of the papers may have had water damage while in storage prior to their acquisition by the archives. A large portion of the last accession included printed material from his office. Much of this was sent back to the anthropology department for selection before being sent to Mullen Library for possible inclusion in the general collection. Please ntoe that this collection is stored off site, so that it may take up to 72 hours to retrieve boxes.
Processing completed in February 2006 by Jordan Patty. EAD markup completed in February 2006 by Jordan Patty. Some revisions by William John Shepherd in December 2011.
The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives:
The Joseph Cornelius Connolly Papers
The Catholic University Mullen Library:
Spanish Tapestry: Town and Country in Castile (1961)
La Antropologia Medica en Espana (1980)
Urban Life in Mediterranean Europe: Anthropological Perspectives (1983)
This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Kenny, Michael, 1923-1986
Catholic University of America
Anthropology Latin America
Anthropology Study and teaching (Higher) United States
La Antropologia Medica en Espana. ed. Michael Kenny y Jesus M. de Miguel. Barcelona: Editorial Anagrama, 1980.
Kenny, Michael. Spanish Tapestry: Town and Country in Castile. London: Cohen and West, 1961.
Urban Life in Mediterranean Europe: Anthropological Perspectives. ed. Michael Kenny and David I. Kertzer. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1983.
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