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MacDonald Family, Military Correspondence

Title: MacDonald Family, Military Correspondence

Collector: MacDonald, R.K.

Dates: 1903-1967

Quantity: 1 box (0.2 linear feet)

Collection Number: MS 0022

Language: English

Restrictions: None

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Preferred Citation: MacDonald Family, Military Correspondence (MS 0022). Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.


Kenneth MacDonald, a graduate of Lincoln High and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, trained for the ministry at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Princeton University, and abroad in Germany. He accepted a missionary assignment in the Philippines in 1909. Kenneth married Alice Compton, who was also a graduate of the University of Nebraska, in 1913. Alice's sister, Nellie Jane Compton, worked in the University of Nebraska libraries during the 1920s and 1930s. Their brother Charlie Compton, served as a librarian at the St. Louis Public Library. Alice returned with MacDonald to the Philippines after a honeymoon in the Holy Land. They had four children, three of whom survived. Their second child, Esther, died of dysentery in Cebu at a mission meeting when she was three. Alice died in 1924, ten days after her fourth child, Robert (R.K.) was born. Alice's son, R.K. MacDonald, served as a high school librarian for 36 years.

In 1926 Kenneth married Margaret Wickes, a missionary teacher, and they had three children. While in the Philippines, Kenneth worked on translating the New Testament into the main Philippine dialect. At the approach of the Japanese during World War II, Kenneth and Margaret fled into the Philippine mountains with four of their children. The family was found and taken prisoner in 1942. They were held in Santo Thomas Prison until released to live in a compound in 1944. From the compound, Kenneth and family were re-interred to Los Banos where they starved and then were rescued on February 23, 1945. The MacDonalds recuperated in Missoula, Montana, for 16 months before returning to the Philippines to pastor and rebuild damaged mission and church buildings. In 1952, retirement brought the family to Missoula where Kenneth pastored various churches. He died at age 86.

Scope and Content:

There are two sections in the MacDonald correspondence, the first being Alice's letters to her family describing life in the Philippines (1903-1924, undated). The second section includes Kenneth and Margaret's letters to their family (1905-1967). In this second section, Kenneth writes about Alice's death and its aftermath. Also included in this section are letters written by both Kenneth and Margaret during their imprisonment during World War II and early retirement. Lastly, Margaret keeps in close contact with the family as she helps Kenneth through a terminal illness. There are distinct breaks in the correspondence from 1909 to 1921, and 1925 to 1945. The newspaper clipping included announces Kenneth's death and tells about important events in his life.


MacDonald, Kenneth, 1881-1967

MacDonald, Alice Compton

World War, 1939-1945 -- United States

World War, 1939-1945 -- Prisoners and prisons

Missionaries -- Philippines -- History -- 20th century

World War, 1939-1945 -- Correspondence

Container List: Box 1. Folder 1. Alice MacDonald, 1903, July-1917, Aug. Box 1. Folder 2. Alice MacDonald, 1920, Nov.-1922, Jan. Box 1. Folder 3. Alice MacDonald, 1922, Feb.-1924, Aug. Box 1. Folder 4. Kenneth MacDonald, 1905, Sept.-1909, Jan. Box 1. Folder 5. Kenneth MacDonald, 1921, Feb.-1925, May Box 1. Folder 6. Kenneth MacDonald, 1945, Mar.-1963, June Box 1. Folder 7. Kenneth MacDonald, 1965, Feb.-1965, Aug. Box 1. Folder 8. Kenneth MacDonald, 1966, Jan.-1966, Aug. Box 1. Folder 9. Kenneth MacDonald, 1966, Sept.-1967, Apr. Box 1. Folder 10. Kenneth MacDonald, 1967, May-1967, June, undated Box 1. Folder 11. Obituary, Kenneth MacDonald, The Missoulian, 1967, May 13
Related Material and Resources: For further information on the content of each letter please contact the Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries for a detailed finding aid.

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