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George Alexander Kennedy papers

Call Number: MS 308

Scope and Contents

George Alexander Kennedy, born May 17, 1901, in Mokanshan, Chekiang, China and graduated from the Shanghai American School. After earning a B.A. magna cum laude from the College of Wooster, Ohio, Professor Kennedy held several teaching positions and continued his studies at Western Theological Seminary, Union Thelogical Seminary and Columbia University. After coming to Yale in 1936 as Lecturer in Chinese Language and Literature, Kennedy earned a Ph.D. in Oriental Studies from the University of Berlin in 1937. Elevated to assistant professorship in 1943, he became Professor of Chinese Language and Literature at Yale in 1954.

Attendant to this mainstream of his career, Professor Kennedy was Director of the Military Intelligence School and Army Specialized Training Program, Chinese Language, at Yale from 1942 through 1944; taught summer classes at Michigan and North Carolina; was associate editor of the Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1945-1947; was visiting professor at the National University of Peking; and held a Geggenheim Fellowship for research in Japan in 1959-1960.

It was during his return from Japan in 1960 that he died from a heart attack. Kennedy was married twice – to Marion Galehouse in 1925, whom he divorced in 1933; and to Jean Wilson, in 1934. Gifted with keen insight, and a very lucid and elegant prose style, Professor Kennedy was a productive and note-worthy scholar in the field of Chinese Language and Literature. His career at Yale was among the more outstanding of the period since 1900. He authored, edited or helped to edit thirteen books and monographs, and contributed over forty major book articles and reviews.


  • 1931-1957


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Sinological Seminar, 1963.


  1. Series I. Correspondence
  2. Series II. Research Files


6 Linear Feet (13 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers consist of correspondence, manuscripts, notes, drafts of articles, bibliographies, clippings and printed articles and reviews by others. The material all relates to Chinese literature. Principal correspondents include John DeFrancis, Robert B. Hall, James R. Ware, Pearl S. Buck, John Hersey and Norman Cousins.

Biographical / Historical

George Alexander Kennedy was Professor of Chinese at Yale University from 1938-1960. He was director of the Military Intelligence School and Army Specialized Training Program in Chinese at Yale from 1942-1944; visiting professor at the National University of Peking; and author of many books and articles.

Guide to the George A. Kennedy Papers
Under Revision
compiled by William E. Brown, Jr. and Joseph Papagoda
June 2010
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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