Collection Full View

Frank Kingdon Collection (ca. 1936 - 1946)
RepositoryNewark Public Library, Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center
Collection IDMG Kingdon
Size1.67 linear ft. (4 boxes)
Collection Description
Dr. Frank Kingdon, educator, Methodist minister, and radio commentator, was born in London and came to the U.S. in 1912 and became minister of a small Methodist church in Maine. He received a BA degree from Boston University in 1920 and went on to do graduate work at Harvard. His doctorate in Divinity was bestowed by Albion College in 1927.

He moved to New Jersey to take the pulpit of a prominent Methodist church, and became a Trustee of Dana College in Newark. In 1934 he became president of the College. When the New Jersey Law School, Seth Boyden Business School, and Dana College merged in the 1930s to become the University of Newark, Kingdon was chosen as the University's first president (1936). He was the author of "John Cotton Dana, A Life" (1940), written with the encouragement of Dana's assistant and successor, Beatrice Winser, and of a number of other books on progressive theology and New Deal politics. He was deeply involved in the civic affairs of Newark, through the Newark Welfare Foundation and the Newark Community Chest, among other organizations.

In the months leading up to the United States' entrance into the World War II, Kingdon pressed for U.S. entry into the war through his membership in the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, the Fight for Freedom Committee, and other organizations. In 1940 he left the University of Newark to chair the Emergency Rescue Committee, which assisted European artists and intellectuals seeking to flee Nazi-dominated countries. In this work, and in later years, he became closely associated with Eleanor Roosevelt, Reinhold Niebuhr, and many other progressive leaders and intellectuals. He took an active role in the New Jersey Joint Council on International Relations, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the Union for Democracy. In the late 1930s Kingdon gave weekly addresses as part of the Newark Museum Program on Newark's WOR radio station; after the War, he was a commentator for programs produced by radio stations WMCA and WINS in New York. As a daily columnist for the New York Post in the 1940s and 50s he attempted to influence the Democratic Party from the left, but he broke with the organization Progressive Citizens of America in 1947 over the issue of running Henry Wallace as a third-party candidate, a move which he opposed.

Frank Kingdon died at his home in New York City in 1972.
Collection Contents
Box 1: consists of a scrapbook of pamphlets, reprints of articles, and newspaper clippings, primarily related to Kingdon's involvement in the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, and to his work as chairman of Emergency Rescue Committee (1941); 4 folders of Kingdon's "radio talks" on WOR (1936-1940, 1944); and 1 folder of incoming correspondence, mostly fan letters and requests for copies of his radio talks (1936-1939)

Box 2: consists of 3 folders of newspaper clippings, and a few leaflets, largely regarding Kingon's speaking engagements, his work as president of Newark University, and his committee activities on behalf of humanitarian causes, issues of social justice, World War II, etc. (1937-1941)

Box 3, Folder 1, labeled "Pamphlets": contains miscellaneous printed material, including sermons, addresses, reprints, and articles by Kingdon. Newark-related material by Kingdon includes an address to the Welfare Federation of Newark (1937), a radio talk entitled "New Jersey Art at the World's Fair," given in conjunction with the Newark Museum (1939); and a pamphlet entitled "Compact Definitions of Democracy, Socialism, Communism and Fascism," prepared for the Newark Public Library (1939)

Box 3, Folder 2: contains programs and announcements of Kingdon's sermons, lectures, and other speaking engagements; promotional material related to his committee work; and a report by David Harris, Director of the Newark War Veterans Service Bureau, regarding services rendered (1936-1946)

Box 3, Folder 3, entitled "Letters": contains correspondence, mostly Kingdon's letters and notes to his close friend, Beatrice Winser; many of the notes are related to Kingdon's radio talks, committee work, etc. (1936-1942). Also included are two reprints of Winser's letter "To American Librarians" (1939)

Box 3, Folder 4: consists of Newark University material, including 2 annual reports, a commencement program, a convocation address, material relating to Kingdon's resignation, etc. (1937-1940)

Box 4: contains transcripts (1945-1946, mailed to Beatrice Winser at the Newark Museum) of Kingdon's "Commentaries," a show which aired almost daily, and was produced in the studio of radio station WMCA. Kingdon's "Commentaries" were generally on topics relating to national and international politics.
FormatTextual materials
SubjectsEducation; Libraries; Media / Broadcasting; Politics and Government; Religion / Churches; World War II
Time Period20th Century
LanguageEnglish
Access policyOpen for research
Finding AidYes
Finging Aid URLhttps://newarkpubliclibrary.libraryhost.com/repositories/3/resources/198