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REV. HORACE B. MCKENNA, S.J., PAPERS: PART II

The Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J., Papers: Part II consist mostly of incoming correspondence received by this important Jesuit during his ministry in Ridge, Maryland. Along with numerous research letters for two articles published by McKenna in "The Jesuit Seminary News" about Jesuit work with African-Americans, the collection includes several letters between him and Rev. John LaFarge, S.J. on that same topic. The bulk of the papers, which comprise 4 boxes (6.0 linear feet), date between 1923 and 1953.

In addition to correspondence from some of his fellow Jesuits, a large amount of correspondence from many of Father McKenna's family members is included. His parents, brothers, and sisters wrote to him often, and many of their letters about family news are preserved in this archive. There is also a fine run of correspondence from Rev. Thomas E. Ambrose, S.J. to his uncle Father McKenna. These papers also hold correspondence from some of Rev. McKenna's friends and parishioners.

A group of files collected by the Rev. Thomas E. Ambrose, S.J. are housed together with the Rev. McKenna, S.J., Papers: Part II. Rev. George M. Anderson, S.J., of "America" magazine donated these materials to Georgetown Special Collections Division in December 1998. These files, dating from 1969 to 1988, consist mostly of printed material about Father McKenna's career and include a few items written by him.

The Georgetown University Library Special Collections Division is home to the Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J., Papers: Part I (20 boxes, 29.0 linear feet), which document his work with Washington's inner-city Catholics between 1960 and 1981. That first segment of papers includes autobiographical tapes of Father McKenna, and research files produced by John S. Monagan, author of the biography "Horace: Priest of the Poor" (Washington: Georgetown U. Press, 1985). Monagan's book is found in the main stacks of the Georgetown University Library. The library's audio-visual department holds a copy of a video tape "Priest of the Poor" about Father McKenna. Part II of Father McKenna's papers supplement Part I by providing information on the early years of his ministry.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: Known for his ministry to the poor in southern Maryland and inner-city Washington, D.C., Horace B. McKenna was born on January 2, 1899, in New York City. One of 12 children, Horace was the son of Charles F. McKenna, a respected chemist, and Laura O'Neill McKenna. Educated at Fordham Prep, he entered the Society of Jesus at St. Andrew-on-the-Hudson in 1916.

After pursuing further studies at Woodstock College in Woodstock, Maryland, and teaching first overseas in the Philippine missions and then at Boston College High School, McKenna was ordained on June 23, 1929, by Archbishop Michael Curley of Baltimore. In 1931, he began his long service as a priest in southern Maryland, where he served ably for 22 years amidst poverty and segregation. Perhaps his most notable assignment was as pastor of St. Peter Claver Church in Ridge, Maryland.

From 1953 to 1958, Father McKenna worked as assistant pastor of St. Aloysius Church in Washington, D.C. After a time as assistant pastor of Gesu Church in Philadelphia, he returned to St. Aloysius, where he served as assistant pastor for the rest of his life. In 1977, he co-founded SOME (So Others Might Eat), a community service center for the poor and homeless that began as a soup kitchen and expanded into a full-scale operation with medical and counseling services. McKenna was named by "Washingtonian Magazine" as one of the recipients of the "Washingtonian of the Year" award for 1977. He also assisted in the creation of Sursum Corda, a low-income housing project in Washington, D.C.

Father McKenna died at the age of 83 on May 11, 1982. He is remembered as a dedicated friend of the poor and underprivileged in southern Maryland and the nation's capital area.

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GENEALOGICAL NOTE: The following abbreviated genealogy of the McKenna family is provided to help researchers identify family correspondents in the Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J., Papers: Part II. This brief genealogy focuses on individuals whose correspondence is found within this particular collection.

(McKenna) Charles F. McKenna was married to Laura (O'Neill) McKenna.

Laura (O'Neill) McKenna died in 1900.

Charles F. McKenna married Julia (Harlin) McKenna in 1903.

Some of the children of Charles F. McKenna:

Charles F. McKenna, Jr., (wife: Jewell).

Daniel Morris McKenna, (wife: Gladys).

Elizabeth McKenna, (husband: George "Bert" Fargis).

Helen McKenna, (husband: Thomas E. Ambrose).

Horace B. McKenna (1899-1982), entered Society of Jesus 1916, ordained 1929;

Laura McKenna, Jr. (husband: William P. Frost);

Mary McKenna;

William McKenna (wife: Josepha);

(McKenna) Son of Charles F. McKenna, Jr. and Jewell McKenna:

Charles F. McKenna, III.

(Fargis) Children of Elizabeth (McKenna) Fargis and George B. Fargis:

Charlie; George, Jr.; Jimmy; Jo; Judy; Mary; Paul; Tina.

(Ambrose) Son of Helen (McKenna) Ambrose and Thomas E. Ambrose:

Thomas E. Ambrose, S.J.

(Frost) Sons of Laura (McKenna) Frost and William P. Frost:

Charlie and Bill.

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SYNOPSIS: The Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J., Papers: Part: II are arranged into six (6) series as described below:

SERIES 1 - Correspondence from Individuals. Contains correspondence from notable individuals to Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J. Includes correspondence from fellow Jesuits, including Rev. John LaFarge, S.J.; Rev. William Markoe, S.J.; and Rev. Harold Mulqueen, S.J. Arranged alphabetically by last name of correspondent.

SERIES 2 - Correspondence from Family Members. Contains a vast archive of correspondence to Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J. from various members of his family. Includes a large number of letters from Rev. Thomas E. Ambrose, S.J.; Anne W. McKenna; Helen McKenna; Julia McKenna; Laura McKenna, Jr.; and Mary McKenna. The letters date from 1923 to 1953. Arranged into folders alphabetically by last name of correspondent and then chronologically within each folder.

SERIES 3 - Incoming Chronological Correspondence (1923-1953). Contains correspondence received by Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J. between 1923 and 1953. Includes letters from friends, parishioners, and fellow Jesuits. Arranged chronologically.

SERIES 4 - Printed Matter. Contains printed matter found among the papers of Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J. Includes two articles he published in the "Jesuit Seminary News" in 1928.

SERIES 5 - Photographs. Consists of 4 folders containing photographs found among the papers of Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J. Includes several photos of St. Peter Claver's Church and School in Ridge, Maryland.

SERIES 6 - Rev. Thomas E. Ambrose, S.J. Files. Contains files about Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J. maintained by his nephew Rev. Thomas E. Ambrose, S.J. Includes newspaper clippings, dated 1970-1989, about Rev. McKenna, along with a few published articles by him. Arranged in rough chronological order.

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ABBREVIATIONS:

ACS - Autograph Card Signed

ALS - Autograph Letter Signed

TC - Typed Card

TCS - Typed Card Signed

TEL - Telegram

TL - Typed Letter

TLS - Typed Letter Signed

TM - Typed Manuscript

ACCESSION DATA: Status: Open access. Provenance: Gift of Horace W. McKenna, December 1998. Processed by Scott S. Taylor, May 1999.

BULK DATES: 1923 - 1953
SPAN DATES: 1923 - 1988

EXTENT: 4 boxes, 6.0 l.f.

SERIES


SERIES: 1. Correspondence from Individuals


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Consists of 30 folders containing correspondence from notable individuals to Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J. Includes correspondence from many of his fellow Jesuits, including John LaFarge, S.J.; William Markoe, S.J.; and Harold Mulqueen, S.J. Arranged alphabetically by last name of correspondent.

SERIES: 2. Correspondence from Family Members


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Consists of 130 folders containing a vast archive of correspondence to Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J. from various members of his family. Includes a large number of letters from Thomas E. Ambrose, S.J.; Anne W. McKenna; Helen McKenna; Julia McKenna; Laura McKenna, Jr.; and Mary McKenna. The letters date from 1923 to 1953. Arranged into folders alphabetically by last name of correspondent and then arranged chronologically within each folder.

SERIES: 3. Incoming Chronological Correspondence (1923-1953)


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Consists of 38 folders containing incoming chronological correspondence received by Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J. between 1923 and 1953. Includes correspondence from friends, parishioners, and some of his fellow Jesuits. Arranged chronologically.

SERIES: 4. Printed Matter


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Consists of 6 folders containing printed matter found among the papers of Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J. Includes two articles he published in the "Jesuit Seminary News" in 1928.

SERIES: 5. Photographs


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Consists of 4 folders containing photographs found among the papers of Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J. Includes several photos of St. Peter Claver's Church and School in Ridge, Maryland.

SERIES: 6. Rev. Thomas E. Ambrose, S.J. Files


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Consists of 18 folders containing files about Rev. Horace B. McKenna, S.J. maintained by Rev. Thomas E. Ambrose, S.J. Includes newspaper clippings, dated 1970-1989 about Rev. McKenna, along with a few published articles by him. Arranged in rough chronological order.

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