MacDonald Family, Military
Title: MacDonald Family,
Collector: MacDonald, R.K.
Quantity: 1 box (0.2 linear feet)
Collection Number: MS 0022
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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
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.