CCHA Report, 13 (1945-46), 7-8
A Tribute to our Deceased
Dr. James F. Kenney to Whose Memory this
Present Volume is Dedicated
Acting Dominion Archivist, a past president of the Irish Historical Association and at the time of his premature death, secretary of the Canadian Catholic Historical Association, James F. Kenney M.A., Ph.D., LL.D., D. Litt., died suddenly, Tuesday, June 4th at his residence, 133 Rideau Terrace, Ottawa. Dr. Kenney was in his 62nd year. He was widely known in Canada as a Dominion archivist, in the United States, as advisory editor of the Catholic Historical Review and in Europe, for his work in Irish historical research.
Dr. Kenney was born 1884 in Belleville, Ont. Completing his early education there, he entered the University of Toronto, where he graduated in 1910 with the Master's degree in Arts, majoring in Canadian history. He attended the University of Wisconsin, receiving the degree of M.A. and later studied at Columbia University where the Ph.D. was conferred upon him. Dr. Kenney entered the office of the National Archives in 1912. His exceptional ability as a research historian in the classification and summarization of documents dealing with the constitutional and political history of Canada was rewarded in 1926 by order-in-council appointing him Director of Historical Research and Publicity in the Public Archives of Canada.
History and its problems formed the all-consuming interest in life for Dr. Kenney. As a Dominion archivist, past president of the American Catholic Historical Association, and of the Irish Historical Association, and secretary of the Canadian Catholic Historical Association, and former secretary of the Royal Society of Canada, he devoted his entire life that the past might enlighten the present. Members of all these Societies recognise his painstaking research and scholarly contributions to Canadian, Irish and Catholic history in general, for all of which they held his life in grateful memory. Dr. Kenney is known from coast to coast in Canada as founder of the C.C.H.A. Since its foundation in 1933, he has been the untiring dynamic secretary of the English Section. Furthering interest in Canadian Catholic history through the activities of the Association became his life-work. The Association now numbers approximately 1200 members about evenly divided between the French and English Sections. Twelve annual volumes containing the scholarly papers read at the annual Meetings are a monument to the founder.
Two funeral Masses were held for the deceased. The first REQUIEM was sung in his parish church of St. Brigid's, Ottawa, where many priests and members of the Government including the Hon. Paul Martin, K.C. Secretary of State, attended the service. The remains were later brought to St. Anthony's Church, Toronto, where Solemn High Mass was sung by Msgr. McGrand assisted by Very Rev. E. J. McCorkell, C.SS.R., Superior General, as Deacon and Rev. John A. Gallagher, C.SS.R., President of the English Section of the Canadian Catholic Historical Association, as Sub-deacon. Interment took place in St. Michael's Cemetery, Toronto.
Dr. Kenney was a very devout Catholic. It is said of him that to see him receive Holy Communion was a most edifying and inspiring experience. A scholar, a public-spirited citizen, a christian gentleman, a zealous promoter of Catholic Action in a most important field, history, Dr. James Francis Kenney is a distinct loss to the Church and Canada. May his soul rest in peace.
John A. Gallagher, C.SS.R.
Canadian Catholic Historical Association