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KP - The Kenney Papers

Reference code
Level of description
The Kenney Papers
Personal name
Kenney, Annie, 1879-1953
Pankhurst, Christabel, Dame, 1880-1958
Kenney, Jessie
Suffragists -- United Kingdom
Women -- Suffrage
Women political activists
Kenney, Annie, 1879-1953
Administrative/Biographical history
Horatio Nelson Kenney (1849-1912) and Ann Wood (1852-1905) were the parents of Annie Kenney and her siblings. Horatio was born in Ashton-under-Lyne, the son of William Kenney, a smith's labourer, and his wife Agnes. Ann Wood was the daughter of James Wood, a cotton carder. They were married at Leesfield parish church in April 1873, Horatio being described as a cotton self actor minder and Ann a cotton card room hand, and are buried together in Greenacres municipal cemetery, Oldham.

Jessie Kenney has left vivid descriptions of her parents and her grandmother, Agnes Kenney. Ann was very much the matriarch, a strong warm character. Her death in January 1905 clearly devastated the family, and Jessie signals it as the point at which the family broke up.

Horatio is more elusive. He appears to have been something of an introvert, preferring the company of his livestock or a walk on the moors to the animated discussions that followed high tea on Sundays. He was recognised locally as an expert in folk medicine and the care of animals. For most of his life he worked in the cotton mills, save for an ultimately unsuccessful venture into business as a stationer.

Although the younger Kenneys began to go their separate ways in the first five years of the twentieth century, the family remained very close apart from an unexplained period of estrangement on the part of Rowland.

Such facts and documents as we have about Horatio and Ann Kenney, beyond the recollections of Annie and Jessie, are entirely due to the research carried out by Geoffrey Woodhead, MBE, FRSA, (d. 2011).
Kenney, Jessie
Archival history
The first deposit, and main body of papers in this collection, was transferred to the Archives Department of the University Library, University of East Anglia, in November 1993 and formally gifted to the University of East Anglia by Mr Warwick KenneyTaylor, son of Mrs Ann Taylor (née Kenney, and usually known as Annie Kenney), in January 1994.

This first deposit contained the majority of the surviving papers of Annie Kenney, her husband, James Taylor, and her younger sister Jessie Kenney, owned by the Taylor family. Mr Kenney-Taylor has subsequently deposited in the collection additional material that has come to light. He has also been active in tracing surviving papers in the possession of other members of his mother's family or elsewhere, some of which have been deposited in this collection.

In particular he brought the collection to the attention of his cousins Beatrice and Dorothy Clarke of Montreal, the daughters of Nell Clarke (née Kenney).

On 10th August 1995 the first tranche of material was received from Beatrice and Dorothy Clarke. The most recent deposit from the Clarkes was received in January 2002.

In August 1996 Sylvia Williams Hale, granddaughter of Mary Elizabeth Dixon (née Kenney), deposited a small collection of news-cuttings.

In June 1997 the archivist collected from the Convent of the Missionary Franciscan Sisters [St Francis' Nursing Home], Braintree, additional papers of Jessie Kenney, including a complete typescript of 'The Price of Liberty' and the transcript of an interview of Jessie by Ms Barbara Morgan.
Scope and content
The collection contains papers of the suffragists Annie and Jessie Kenney and their extended family. It includes correspondence with the sufragette Christabel Pankhurst.
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