Processed by: Sharon Brown McConnell; machine-readable finding aid created by:Hilary Writt
William Lee Keene Papers
1928 - 1975
Eastern Kentucky University ArchivesRichmond, Kentucky 40475-3102
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], William Lee Keene Papers (1896-1975), 86A4, University Archives, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond.
.45 cubic feet, 750 items, 1 Box
William Lee Keene was a professor of English at Eastern Kentucky University from 1926 until his retirement in 1965. He was born on April 3, 1896 in Lafayette, Tennessee to Henry and Alice Branford Keene. He attended Middle Tennessee College in Murfreesboro for three years before going on to George Peabody Teachers College in Nashville. There he received both his bachelor of science and his master of arts degrees. He completed two years of additional study at Peabody and served in the armed forces from 1917-1919.
Mr. Keene was noted for his genteel public speaking and was sought after for his expertise in offering tributes to deserving individuals. An annual event to select an outstanding female orator at Eastern has been named in his honor,"The W.L. Keene Oratorical Contest." His skills in writing are not to be overlooked. While he did not actively seek publication, many items he wrote have appeared in print. One of his poems, "Our Unreturning," has been set to music by Mr.Dean Gatwood. It was first performed by the Richmond Choral Society in 1986. A bibliography of his published work is included in these papers.
Mr. Keene was a very creative, sensitive, modest man. While he was not a joiner, he was on campus and in the community. He frequently served as a speaker during the weekly assembly programs on campus and was often asked to read the scripture during public gatherings.He was a member of the First Christian Church and the Kiwanis Club. For a great number of years he was faculty advisor to the staff of the Eastern Progress.
He married Mae Powell of Garrard County in 1929. They had two daughters Kathryn Kearns and Alice Garnache. Mrs. Keene was a teacher in the Training School at Eastern before her marriage. Mr. Keene died on October 3, 1975 following a short illness and was buried in the Richmond Cemetery.
The William Lee Keene Papers, consisting of one box containing speeches and writings of Mr Keene from 1928-1975, were donated to the Archives by Keene's daughters, Mrs. Kathryn Kearns and Mrs. Alice Garnache, in 1982. While the collection is small, it is representative of the material which Mr. Keene wrote or composed for speaking.All of these are fine examples of Mr. Keene 5 unique ability.
The Miscellaneous Series includes a photograph of Mr. Keene, ca. 1960, a bibliography of his published works, a short biographical sketch, and a small number of letters.The correspondence includes the years 1945-75.
There are twenty-eight speeches in this series. Some of these were given at dedications of buildings or were tributes to outstanding individuals. They are arranged by type and then alphabetically by title.
The Writings Series consists of twenty-nine items. Essays, short stories, poems, dramatizations and miscellaneous writings are included. While much of the writing was done in the 1950s, there is at least one poem dating back to 1928. These items are arranged by type and then alphabetically by title.
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