The Jay Richard Kennedy collection includes manuscripts, correspondence, personal memorabilia, printed materials, professional materials, legal materials, video materials, audio materials, photographs, and medical records.
The collection includes manuscripts for Prince Bart, Favor the Runner, and The Chairman (unpublished). Of particular note are manuscript materials pertaining to Sing Man Sing, a musical that Kennedy wrote with Harry Belafonte (for whom he acted as business manager); items pertain largely to musical numbers, including “We’ll Call It Love,” “I Need She,” “There Is a Sound,” “Once Was a Dream,” “Woman Curious,” “Sinning,” and “I Found Me.” Additional manuscripts include screenplays for “Assigned to Treasury,” “The Chairman,” “Prince Bart,” and “To The Ends of the Earth.”
Correspondence in the collection is largely professional, documenting exchanges with publishers, agents, and publicists (1948-75). Notables include W.C. Ling, A. Zev Goldberg, and Mao Tse Tung. Invitations to Kennedy’s birthday celebrations are present, as well (1981-86).
Kennedy’s personal memorabilia consists of various certificates and awards, such as a plaque from the Lake Tarleton Club of Pike, NH (1953); the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (1956); The Oracle Society (1960); The United Civil Rights Council of Los Angeles (1966); and The Marquis Who’s Who Publications Board (1991-92). Kennedy’s M.A. degree from Antioch College (1975) is also included.
The collection’s printed materials include newsclippings and tearsheets from Variety, New York Times, and other publications, often regarding Kennedy’s books, screenplays, and awards. Dust jackets for Short Term, Bart, Chairman, Favor the Runner, and The Most Dangerous Man In the World are also present, as well as page proofs for James Farmer’s Freedom – When?.
Professional materials include biographical information and press releases for Favor the Runner. A press kit for The Jean Arthur Show and assorted business cards constitute additional materials.
Collected legal materials include contracts, resumes, transcripts, court papers, and certificates. Also present is Kennedy’s will and related correspondence.
Video materials consist of 8mm and 16mm film reels, as well as VHS cassette tapes. Reel titles include “Welcome Travelers,” “Humphrey-68,” “March for Jobs & Freedom,” and “Will the Real Richard Nixon Please Stand Up.” Items documented on VHS include Strategy for Survival, Straight Talk, March for Jobs and Freedom, and Center for Human Problems.
Collected audio materials are captured on reel-to-reel audio tapes and records. A comprehensive collection of tapes contain Sing Man materials—including line readings, notes, and Belafonte’s rehearsals. Records of Edward R. Murrow’s This I Believe are present, as well, with guests such as Robert G. Cleland, Marie Neal Martin, Bob Hawk, C. Jared Ingersoll, Phyllis Parker, Hugh Lyon, Dr. Will Durant, and Kennedy himself. Additional records include titles such as “Women in the War,” “Rogues Gallery,” “Author the Critic,” “Suspense,” “Johannes Steel,” “Gabriel Heatter,” and “Jack Pepper Spot #1.
Photographs in the collection include black and white and color prints, contact sheets, and negatives. In addition to prints of Kennedy with family and friends, photographs feature a number of notable figures, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Frank Sinatra, and Harry Belafonte. Many materials pertain to Kennedy’s Civil Rights participation, documenting the March on Washington (with MLK Jr., Dr. Eugene Carson Blake, A. Philip Randolph) and a related television panel (with MLK Jr., John Lewis, Roy Wilkins, and others). Publicity shots of Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. for Favor the Runner are also present, alongside a photograph of Kennedy with Hubert and Muriel Humphrey.
Kennedy’s medical records—examination and operation reports—from UCLA are collected, as well.