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William E. Kennick Papers, 1947-2009
3 records storage boxes, 1 archives box (3.5 linear ft.)

Abstract:
Professional and personal correspondence, lecture notes and other course materials, and speeches and writings related to his career as a professor of philosophy at Amherst College. Letters are mostly incoming correspond-ence from former students, fellow faculty members and administrators at Amherst. Correspondents include Profs. Theodore Baird, William Pritchard, Jerold Rothstein Presidents Calvin Plimpton and John William Ward; from former students, David Foster Wallace (AC 1985). Also included are Professor Kennick's 6-volume typescript on the history of philosophy and a binder of printed material entitled collectively "A Gallimaufry of Materials for Use in My Philosophy Courses." Among his writings are published articles and a personal memoir. The collection also includes ca. 40 letters of condolence to Mrs. Nancy Kennick after her husband's death in 2009.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to the collection for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Amherst College Archives and Special Collections
Amherst, MA

Biographical Note

William E. Kennick taught philosophy at Amherst College for more than 35 years. He was the William F. Kenan Jr. Professor from 1978 to 1980 and the G. Henry Whitcomb Professor from 1976 until 1993, when he retired -- the last Amherst professor forced to do so because he had turned 70. He served as faculty marshal from 1972 to 1993.

Kennick was born in 1923 in Lebanon, Ill. Co-valedictorian of his high school class, he received a full tuition scholarship to Oberlin College, which he supplemented by working in steel mills every summer. He graduated from Oberlin in 1945 with honors in philosophy, the only summa cum laude graduate in his class. He entered Cornell University as a Susan Linn Sage Fellow in philosophy but was called up by the Army in 1946. He served for 18 months in the U.S. Army Medical Corps.

While recovering from an injury suffered during basic training, Kennick was summoned by a major who asked how he'd like to be a clinical psychologist. Reluctantly, he accepted an assignment to the neuropsychiatric department at Madigan General Hospital at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Wash. After the Army, Kennick took a special teaching fellowship at Oberlin, after which he returned to Cornell and was awarded a Ph.D. in philosophy. He taught briefly at Boston University before returning to Oberlin in 1951. Three years later, he was named permanent head of Oberlin's philosophy department.

He arrived at Amherst in 1956 and began to teach a two-semester course on the history of philosophy. "His seriousness as a teacher, sometimes felt as severity, brought out responsive efforts in his students who wanted to be taken seriously, who looked not just for a degree but an education," said Henry Clay Folger Professor of English William H. Pritchard '53. Kennick regularly handed out a four-and-a-half page single-spaced document he compiled, "Some Rules for Writing Presentable English." He was among those who lamented the demise, in 1966, of the New Curriculum and its program of required core courses.

Kennick was acting dean of the faculty in 1979-80. He was also the author of 23 papers and numerous reviews. He wrote and edited the textbook Art and Philosophy (1964 and 1979) and co-edited Metaphysics: Readings and Reappraisals (1966). His 1958 essay, "Does Traditional Aesthetics Rest on a Mistake?" was, for decades, one of the more influential and reprinted essays in aesthetics. He inaugurated the aesthetics course at Amherst and also taught courses on metaphysics and the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Kennick died in Amherst on April 12, 2009 after a long illness.

[Source: "Professor Kennick, Remembered." Amherst, Summer 2009]

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Professional and personal correspondence, lecture notes and other philosophy course materials, speeches and writings related to Professor Kennick's career as a professor of philosophy at Amherst College. Letters are mostly incoming correspondence from former students, fellow faculty members and administrators at Amherst. Correspondents include Profs. Theodore Baird, William Pritchard, and Jerold Rothstein (AC 1962); Amherst College Presidents Calvin Plimpton and John William Ward; and former students, David Foster Wallace (AC 1985) and Hardy Culver Wilcoxon (AC 1974). Also included are Professor Kennick's 6-volume typescript on the history of philosophy and a binder of printed material entitled collectively "A Gallimaufry of Materials for Use in My Philosophy Courses." Among his writings are published articles and a personal memoir. The collection also includes ca. 40 letters of condolence to Mrs. Nancy Kennick after her husband's death in 2009.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to the collection for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

[Identification of item], in William E. Kennick Papers [Box #, Folder #], Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library.

History of the Collection

Gift of Nancy Kennick, 2009.

Processing Information

Processed in March-April 2010 by Peter A. Nelson.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
PO Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000

Phone: (413) 542-2299
Fax: (413) 542-2692

Email Reference Form: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives/askus
URL: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives
Language
English

Contents List
Series 1: CORRESPONDENCE,
1951-2006


Letters from former Amherst students of W.E.K. (A-F)
1960-2000

Box 1: folder 1
Letters from former Amherst students of W.E.K. (G-K)
1960-2000

Box 1: folder 2
Letters from former Amherst students of W.E.K. (L-P)
1960-2000

Box 1: folder 3
Letters from former Amherst students of W.E.K. (R-Z)
1960-2000

Box 1: folder 4
Letters to W.K. from Amherst Colleagues (A-G)
1961-2000

Box 1: folder 5
Letters to W.K. from Amherst Colleagues (H-Z)
1956-2004

Box 1: folder 6
Letters to W.K. from Officers of the Administration (AC Presidents)
1956-1993

Box 1: folder 7
Letters to W.K. from people outside Amherst
1958-1999

Box 1: folder 8
Professional and student correspondence (unsorted)
1951-2006

Box 1: folder 9
Correspondence - outgoing
1979-1988

Box 1: folder 10
Series 2: WRITINGS & SPEECHES,
1947-2000 and n.d.


"The Concept of God in Whitehead's Cosmology"
1950

Box 2: folder 1
Ph.D dissertation: "A Methodological Approach to Metaphysics" (Cornell University)
1952

Box 2: folder 2
Writings: Articles and reviews
1955-1989

Box 2: folder 3
Misc. published writings
1947-1961

Box 2: folder 4
"Robert Sweeney: A Note of Appreciation";
"Who is Jesus?"
1959, n.d.

Box 2: folder 5
Miscellaneous published articles
1962-

Box 2: folder 6
Writings- promotional material from publishers
1963-1977

Box 2: folder 7
Writings on Plato
n.d.

Box 2: folder 8
"The World as I Found It" (memoir)
2008

Box 2: folder 9
Speeches and talks - Oberlin College
1953-1960

Box 2: folder 10
Speeches and talks
1964-1989

Box 2: folder 11
Montale translations and notes
1999-2000

Box 2: folder 12
"Three Sequences of Short Poems by Eugenio Montale" trans. W.E. Kennick
2000

Box 2: folder 13
Diary of a trip to Paris, Madrid, and Rome
n.d.

Box 2: folder 14
"Introduction to the History of Philosophy, Part I: Thales to Ockham, Chapter I: Early Greek Philosophy" by W.E. Kennick
n.d.

Box 4: folder 1
"Introduction to the History of Philosophy, Part I: Thales to Ockham, Chapter II: Socrates and Plato" by W.E. Kennick
n.d.

Box 4: folder 2
"Introduction to the History of Philosophy, Part I: Thales to Ockham, Chapter III: Aristotle" by W.E. Kennick
n.d.

Box 4: folder 3
"Introduction to the History of Philosophy, Part I: Thales to Ockham, Chapter IV: Hellenistic-Roman Philosophy" by W.E. Kennick
n.d.

Box 4: folder 4
"Introduction to the History of Philosophy, Part I: Thales to Ockham, Chapter V: Early Medieval Philosophy" by W.E. Kennick
n.d.

Box 4: folder 5
"Introduction to the History of Philosophy, Part I: Thales to Ockham, Chapter VI: Islamic and Jewish Philosophy in the Middle Ages" by W.E. Kennick
n.d.

Box 4: folder 6
Series 3: TEACHING MATERIALS / STUDENT WORK,
1958-2002


"A Gallimaufry of Materials for use in my Philosophy Courses" (p. 1-148) (see also box 4)
1959-1999

Box 2: folder 15
"A Gallimaufry of Materials for use in my Philosophy Courses" (p. 149-333)
1959-1999

Box 2: folder 16
"A Gallimaufry of Materials for use in my Philosophy Courses" (p. 334-481)
1959-1999

Box 2: folder 17
"A Gallimaufry of Materials for use in my Philosophy Courses" (p. 482-579)
1959-1999

Box 2: folder 18
Philosophy Dept: Prof Kennick-Assignments
1958-1977

Box 2: folder 19
Philosophy Dept: Prof Kennick-Philosophy II
1987

Box 2: folder 20
Philosophy Dept: Prof Kennick:-Philosophy 17
1969-1991

Box 2: folder 21
Philosophy Dept: Prof Kennick-Philosophy 18
1964-1995

Box 2: folder 22
Philosophy Dept: Prof Kennick-Philosophy 19
1977-1985

Box 2: folder 23
Philosophy Dept: Prof Kennick-Philosophy 41
1992

Box 2: folder 24
Philosophy Dept: Prof Kennick-Philosophy 61
1981-1999

Box 2: folder 25
Wittgenstein-Course Reader
Spring 1999

Box 2: folder 26
Aesthetics
Spring 1992

Box 2: folder 27
Philosophical Questions Drawn from the Writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein, compiled and edited by Kennick
1989

Box 3: folder 1
Wittgenstein - Lecture notes 1
n.d.

Box 3: folder 2
Wittgenstein - Lecture notes 2
n.d.

Box 3: folder 3
Wittgenstein - Lecture notes 3
n.d.

Box 3: folder 4
Wittgenstein - Lecture notes 4
n.d.

Box 3: folder 5
Wittgenstein - Course materials
n.d.

Box 3: folder 6
Wittgenstein - Syllabi
1983-1997

Box 3: folder 7
Wittgenstein - Philosophical Investigations
n.d.

Box 3: folder 8
Miscellaneous
1995

Box 3: folder 9
Wittgenstein - Exams
c.1981-1997

Box 3: folder 10
Miscellaneous notes
n.d.

Box 3: folder 11
"Φώς ίλαρόν," a Greek Christian hymn
2002

Box 3: folder 12
"Philosophical Semantics" - Doctoral Dissertation by Michael W. Pelczar
2000

Box 3
"Wittgenstein on Seeing: A Reading of Philosophical Investigations, Part II, section xi" - honors thesis by Sean Greenberg
1993

Box 3
"Paternalism and the Liberal Paradigm" - honors thesis by Todd Michael Hinnen
1993

Box 3
"Seeing the World Aright: Ludwig Wittgenstein's Moral Views in the Context of their Viennese Roots" - honors thesis by Jeremy Perlman
1997

Box 3
"Istanbul: Indian Summer 2004" by Joseph Cary
n.d.

Box 3: folder 13
"A Gallimaufry of Materials for Use in My Philosophy Courses" by W.E. Kennick (see also box 2, folders 15-18)
n.d.

Box 4: folder 7
Series 4: HONORS / EPHEMERA / PHOTOGRAPHS,
1954-2005


Honors and ephemera
c.1966-1995

Box 3: folder 14
Amherst College Endowment funds in honor of W.E. Kennick
1988-2005

Box 3: folder 15
Madigan Convalescent Hospital - activities card when W.E. Kennick was recovering from an injury in the U.S. Army
12 July 1995

Box 3: folder 16
Photographs - Philosophy department; Commencement
c.1980s

Box 3: folder 17
Memorial tributes (to others)
1983 and n.d.

Box 3: folder 18
Miscellaneous ephemera
c.1954-1991

Box 3: folder 19
Series 5: POSTHUMOUS MATERIAL,
2009


Memorial tribute to W.E. Kennick
2009

Box 3: folder 20
Correspondence to Anna "Nancy" Kennick about W.E. Kennick
2009

Box 3: folder 21
Letter and manuscript from Paterson Brown (AC 1960)
2009

Box 3: folder 22

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Kennick, W.E.
  • Philosophy teachers -- United States.
  • Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 1889-1951 -- Aesthetics.

Contributors
  • Baird, Theodore, 1901-
  • Forgie, J. William.
  • Pelczar, Michael W.
  • Plimpton, Calvin Hastings, 1918-
  • Pritchard, William H.
  • Rothstein, Jerold M.
  • Wallace, David Foster
  • Wilcoxson, Hardy C.


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