Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 601634

Joseph Berry Keenan papers

The Joseph Berry Keenan Papers (1942-1947) consists of personal and business correspondence, documents, and memos, as well as newspaper clippings and photographs. The bulk of the papers concern Keenan's work as Chief Counsel in the International Prosecution Section (IPS) of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) for the Japanese War Crime Trials following World War II.

Dates

  • 1942-1947
  • 1945-1947.
  • 1945-1947.

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. Publication contingent upon confidentiality statement signed by patron: see forms in Manuscripts office.

Extent

2 boxes

The Joseph Berry Keenan Papers (1942-1947) primarily consists of correspondence and documents written during, and often about, Keenan's work as Chief Counsel in the International Prosecution Section (IPS) of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) for the Japanese war crime trials following World War II.

The letters to and from Joseph Keenan that make up the bulk of the collection often mix legal and personal business. Keenan corresponds with fellow lawyers, members of the Federal judiciary, business partners, clients, politicians, associates and servicemen in Japan, as well friends. There is a significant amount of correspondence with Robert Murphy and other members of Keenan's Washington firm about its activities while Keenan is in Tokyo. Among the papers are documents relating to the court-martial of Major Walter V. Radovich, a three-page transcript of a 1946 interview with Madame Chiang-Kai-Shek, letters from Japanese and American citizens expressing their opinions on the war crime trials and the war itself, as well some candid notes by Keenan (in Series II and VI) on Japan and his work. The collection also includes newspaper clippings, photographs, business cards, and notes.

Historical/Biographical Information

Chronology
  • 1888 January 11. Born, Pawtucket R.I. son of Bernard A. and Sara (Berry) Keenan
  • 1910 A.B., M.A., Yale University
  • 1913 LL.B., Harvard Law School
  • 1913 Admitted to Ohio bar
  • 1919 Appointed special assistant to Attorney General of Ohio to investigate crime
  • 1920 July 7. Married Charlotte Quigley. Their children: William Quigley, Joseph Berry, Betty Jean, John David.
  • 1930 Formed firm of Keenan & Butler
  • 1933 July. Appointed special assistant to Attorney General of U.S. to investigate crime
  • 1933 October. Assistant Attorney General of U.S. in charge of criminal division of Dept. of Justice
  • 1946 U.S. chief of counsel for prosecution in trials of Japanese war criminals, Tokyo Japan
  • 1954 Dec. 8. Died
Chronology
1888
January 11. Born, Pawtucket R.I. son of Bernard A. and Sara (Berry) Keenan
1910
A.B., M.A., Brown University
1913
LL.B., Harvard Law School
1913
Admitted to Ohio bar
1919
Appointed special assistant to Attorney General of Ohio to investigate crime
1920
July 7. Married Charlotte Quigley. Their children: William Quigley, Joseph Berry, Betty Jean, John David.
1930
Formed firm of Keenan & Butler
1933
July. Appointed special assistant to Attorney General of U.S. to investigate crime
1933
October. Assistant Attorney General of U.S. in charge of criminal division of Dept. of Justice
1946
U.S. chief of counsel for prosecution in trials of Japanese war criminals, Tokyo Japan
1954
Dec. 8. Died

Series List

  1. Series I. Letters to Joseph Keenan, 1945-1947. 1945-1947.

    Thisseries consists of letters and copies of letters as well as telegramsand invitations addressed to Joseph Keenan during his work as ChiefCounsel for the International Prosecution Section (IPS) in Toyko. Thecorrespondence is arranged alphabetically by letter author. Groups ofletters by an individual author are arranged chronologically.Individuals with a larger amount of correspondence (roughly 5 or moreletters) have individual folders and are placed at the end of theseries.

  2. Series II. Letters from Joseph Keenan, 1945-1947.1945-1947.

    Thisseries consists mostly of copies of letters sent by Keenan, and allfrom his tenure as Chief Counsel for the IPS in Toyko. Thecorrespondence is arranged alphabetically by letter recipient. Like Series I, groups of letters by an individual author are arrangedchronologically and individuals with a large amount of correspondencehave individual folders and are placed at the end of the series.

  3. Series III. Statements of Walter V. Radovich.

    Court martial documents.

  4. Series IV. Dorothy Di Frasso Material.
  5. Series V. Notes on IMT Far East Defendants and on TrialObjectives
  6. Series VI. War crimes Trials Miscellany.
  7. Series VII. Photographs.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Contact Curator of Modern Manuscripts and Archives.

Existence and Location of Copies

The Joseph Berry Kennan Papers have been digitized and can be viewed here.

Processing Information

Erika Chadbourne, n.d. Reprocessed by Sally Vermaaten, March 2004.
Link to catalog
Title
Keenan, Joseph Berry. Papers, 1942-1947 : Finding Aid
Author
Harvard Law School Library Cambridge, MA 02138
EAD ID
law00155

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.

Contact:
1545 Massachusetts Avenue
Langdell Hall
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-4550