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James L. Kenney papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RS 21/7/189

Scope and Content

The collection (1952-1972, undated) contains a short biography, correspondence, and a newspaper obituary notice for James L. Kenney. The correspondence contains letters sent by Kenney to his parents from 1952-1953 while he was serving with the United States military occupational force in Sendai, Japan. In the letters, Kenney inquires about friends and family back home, tells about his activities and experiences in Japan, and comments on various topics including politics, farm and weather reports he hears from Iowa, and the military.


  • 1952-1972, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Library Special Collections and University Archives


James Lester Kenney was born to Claude and Marie Hollingshead Kenney on June 26, 1929, near Beaver, Iowa. He received his B.S. (1951) from Iowa State College (University) in animal husbandry. During his college years Kenney participated in Block & Bridle Club, Dairy Husbandry Club, VEISHEA open houses and horse shows, and was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho.

Upon graduation Kenney worked briefly for University Extension in Marshalltown, but received a military draft notice and arrived at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri for basic training in early August 1952. Kenney then served in Sendai, Japan, as part of the military occupational force there. Corporal Kenney was discharged on June 26, 1953.

After his discharge, Kenney worked for several years for Iowa State University Extension in Albia and as an assistant in the 4-H youth program in Adel. He became manager of Perry Implement Company in Perry, Iowa, and soon became assistant manager and bookkeeper of the local grain cooperative in Holstein. Farmers Grain Dealers in Des Moines and then General Mills in Avon hired him to merchandise grain. Kenney started a successful career as a commodity broker for Merrill Lynch in Des Moines in 1965. As part of his job he conducted informational meetings around the state for country grain elevator operators, farmers, and agricultural industrialists. In 1971 he joined Conti Commodity Co. as manager when the company made its debut into the commodity trading business.

James Kenney married Ruth Jean Grow (now Ruth Kenney-Randolph) of Rippey, Iowa, on August 8, 1953. Together they had three children: Jerry Lee, Linda Jean, and Sally Jane. Kenney was killed in an automobile accident on June 23, 1972.


0.21 Linear Feet (1 half-document box)


The collection is organized Alphabetical/y.

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 21/7/189. James L. Kenney papers, 1952-1972, undated
January 15, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672