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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 9677706

Sinclair Kennedy papers


This collection contains the papers of Sinclair Kennedy, author and lecturer. Correspondence makes up the bulk of the collection, with some writings, clippings, and miscellaneous materials. The correspondence and writings mostly refer to international politics, especially Kennedy's espousal of a federation of English-speaking countries, as well as home front issues during the Second World War.


  • 1905-1946

Conditions Governing Access

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. This collection is open to the public, but is housed off-site at Harvard Depository and requires 2 business-day advance notice for retrieval. Consult the Special Collections staff for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Law School Library holds copyright on some, but not all, of the material in our collections. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Special Collections staff. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Harvard Law School Library are also responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations who hold copyright.


5 boxes

The papers of Sinclair Kennedy span the years from 1905 through 1946, with the bulk of the material being from the years of World War II, 1941-1945, and a smaller grouping from the 1930s. The largest part of the materials is the correspondence, which falls into two main groups:

a) Personal or institutional correspondence – Letters to and from family members or friends. Correspondence with both these groups tends to be political in nature, often having to do with international politics and Kennedy's belief that the English-speaking nations should band together. The friends include citizens of other English-speaking countries: Newfoundland (which was separate from Canada until 1949), New Zealand, Australia, and Great Britain.

b) Subject correspondence files – Letters to and from government or media bodies, mostly impersonal. There are two sets of topics: wartime issues, which include wartime conservation, nutrition for servicemen, etc.; and correspondence regarding Kennedy's writings The Pan-Angles and Why Federate?

Nearly every correspondence file has a clippings file associated with it. Kennedy seems to have subscribed to a clippings service, which would collect and date stamp newspaper articles about the topics that interested him.

Kennedy's writings include mostly typewritten entries to the Circular Quarterly, apparently a newsletter his college friends put together to keep up with each other's lives. They are dated approximately every three months from 1917 through 1945, though tapering off in the later years. They describe Kennedy's daily life and travels much more fully than his correspondence does.

Other writings include drafts of a play titled "As We Will," a vision of a meeting between Hitler and Mussolini in 1938, and several open letters about English-speaking federation or wartime issues which he wrote during the First World War.

Historical/Biographical Information

Sinclair Kennedy (1875-1947) was born in Roxbury, MA to George Golding Kennedy and Harriet White (Harris) Kennedy. In 1897 he graduated from Harvard College and in 1906 from Harvard Law School. A man of private means, he spent his life traveling, writing, and lecturing. He advocated including the USA in a federation of the English-speaking world, and in 1914 published The Pan-Angles: A Consideration of the Federation of the Seven English-Speaking Nations , which was well-reviewed in the political science literature at the time, and well known in international politics circles. He later wrote Why Federate? on the same topic.

Series List

  1. Series I: Correspondence
  2. ___Subseries A: Personal and Institutional Correspondence, arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent,and chronologically within each correspondent.
  3. ___ Subseries B: SubjectCorrespondence,arranged by topic, by correspondent, and chronologically.
  4. Series II: Writings

    Alphabetical bysubject, mostly arranged in Kennedy's original files. These includean ancestral tablet, consisting of handwritten genealogical notes aswell as a typewritten family history; drafts of a play called "As WeWill" which Kennedy wrote as part of his letters to George K. Briggs;Kennedy's handwritten biographical notes; over 20 years' worth oftypewritten Circular Quarterly entries; excepts from letters meant for publication; twoshort narratives of his canoeing trips to Newfoundland in 1905 and1907; published open letters; and other miscellaneous notes anddrafts.

  5. Series III: Miscellaneous

    This seriesincludes various club invitations from the 1910s, to dinnersregarding his work with pan-Angle federation; a copy of a poem byHenry Lyte (1793-1847); estate materials for Jonathan Dorr;the writings of Richard Jebb; a biographical booklet aboutGeorge Golding Kennedy, Sinclair Kennedy's father; a Massachusettsincome tax form from 1929; miscellaneous materials on nutrition andwartime conservation; miscellaneous materials and pamphlets having todo with The Pan-Angles, Why Federate?, and other miscellany.

  6. Series IV Clippings

    Files associatedwith the correspondence or other files, arranged chronologicallywithin correspondence or other file designations

  7. Series V Photographs

    This series includes photographs of George K. Brigg'schildren; photographs from Circular Quarterly of S. Kennedy's houses,landscapes, postcards from his journeys, and one of him with his wifein 1945; and an unidentified photograph of an older man from the late1800s.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Contact Curator of Modern Manuscripts and Archives.

Processing Information

Processed by Eve Lauria, May 2005

Kennedy, Sinclair. Papers, 1905-1946: Finding Aid.
Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections Repository

Harvard Law School Library's Historical & Special Collections (HSC) collects, preserves, and makes available research materials for the study of the law and legal history. HSC holds over 8,000 linear feet of manuscripts, over 100,000 rare books, and more than 70,000 visual images.

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