Finding Aid for the Ruth Eleanor McKee Papers, 1905-1972

Processed by Dan Luckenbill; machine-readable finding aid created by Genie Guerard
UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections
Manuscripts Division
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
Email: spec-coll@library.ucla.edu
URL: http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/special/scweb/
© 2001
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Note

Area, Interdisciplinary, and Ethnic Studies--Asian American Studies History--United States and North American History Geographical (by Place)--United States Arts and Humanities--Literature

Finding Aid for the Ruth Eleanor McKee Papers, 1905-1972

Collection number: 1151

UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections

Manuscripts Division



Los Angeles, CA

Contact Information

  • Manuscripts Division
  • UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections
  • Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
  • Box 951575
  • Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
  • Telephone: 310/825-4988 (10:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., Pacific Time)
  • Email: spec-coll@library.ucla.edu
  • URL: http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/special/scweb/
Processed by:
Dan Luckenbill, May 1975
Additions by:
Manuscripts Division staff, 1985
Encoded by:
Genie Guerard
Text converted and initial container list EAD tagging by:
Apex Data Services
Online finding aid edited by:
Amy Shung-Gee Wong, November 2000 & May 2002
Funding:
This online finding aid has been funded in part by a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).
© 2001 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Ruth Eleanor McKee Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1905-1972
Collection number: 1151
Creator: McKee, Ruth Eleanor, 1903-
Extent: 11 boxes (5.5 linear ft.) 1 oversize box
Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Abstract: Ruth Eleanor McKee (1903- ) spent ten years at the Library of Hawaii publishing poetry in small magazines and published her first novel on the history of Hawaii in 1934. While working as a historian for the War Relocation Authority (WRA) she wrote 3 monographs. In 1951 she began working for the United States Department of State and was appointed United States Consul at Tokyo in 1958. The collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, and research materials related to Ruth E. McKee's work as a novelist, poet, United States Foreign Service officer, and writer for the War Relocation Authority (WRA). McKee's research for the WRA focused on Japanese American evacuation and internment during World War II.
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
Language: English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

Restrictions on Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.

Additional Physical Form Available

A copy of the original version of this online finding aid is available at the UCLA Department of Special Collections for in-house consultation and may be obtained for a fee. Please contact:
  • Public Services Division
  • UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections
  • Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
  • Box 951575
  • Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
  • Telephone: 310/825-4988 (10:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., Pacific Time)
  • Email: spec-coll@library.ucla.edu

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

Gift of Margaret Ringnalda, 1975 and 1984.

Funding

This online finding aid has been funded in part by a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Ruth Eleanor McKee Papers (Collection 1151). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

Biography

McKee was born in 1903 and grew up in Ventura County, California; BA, University of California, Southern Branch (later University of California, Los Angeles), 1926; spent ten years at the Library of Hawaii, publishing poetry in small magazines; published first novel on the history of Hawaii, 1934; wrote 5 subsequent novels; moved to Sonoma County, California, 1936; wrote 3 monographs while working as a historian for the War Relocation Authority (WRA); began working for the United States Department of State, 1951; appointed United States Consul at Tokyo, 1958; retired to Cape Cod, 1963.

Additional Biographical Narrative

Ruth Eleanor McKee (1903-) was a poet and novelist, a historian for the War Relocation Authority (WRA) and an officer in the U.S. Foreign Service. Her childhood was spent in Ventura County, California. She later wrote that it was this environment of isolation which caused her to begin reading and writing at an early age. Her first writings were journals and poems. At the age of 14 she took her father's car and a revolver and ran away to Los Angeles, seeking local color for a novel. She was found three days later, employed as a cook.
She received a Bachelor of Arts from the Southern Branch of the University of California in 1926. That same year she had enough money for a one-way ticket to Honolulu, and with Kathryn MacFarlane, also a writer, she began a new life in Hawaii.
She remained there for ten years, working at the Library of Hawaii. During this time she published poems in the small magazines of the day, such as Voices and Lyric West. Typescripts of her poems are here in the papers, as well as copies of some of the publications. She contributed dozens of book reviews to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, signing herself R.E.M. In 1934 Doubleday in New York and John Lane in London published her first novel, The Lord's Anointed. Still considered one of the best fictions to treat the history of Hawaii, it received good reviews and sold well. She published five more novels.
In 1927 she had married a lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, Darr Alkire. She was divorced the following year and assumed custody of her son Michael. They left Hawaii for California in early 1936 to live in the Redwoods in Sonoma County. There she wrote her last published novels, all of them successful critically and financially. The most successful was Christopher Strange, a novel of California from Gold Rush days through the turn of the century, including the development of Palm Springs.
She wrote three significant monographs while working as historian for the WRA. These monographs were summaries and analyses after the fact. Research materials for this writing are in part here in the papers. She also began novels about Japanese Americans, but these were not published. They exist here in manuscript, and are perhaps of some value in recreating the lives of those people whom she observed and with whom she had great empathy.
Michael was killed in a plane crash in 1950. In 1951 she began working for the Department of State, ghostwriting articles, primarily about Germany. In 1958 she was appointed United States Consul at Tokyo, for Tokyo, by President Eisenhower. She hoped to use this experience to further her knowledge about Japan and Japanese Americans. She retired from the Foreign Service in 1963 and moved to a house she had built in West Chatham, Massachussetts, on Cape Cod, where she lived until her death.
The papers are the gift of her literary executrix, Mrs. Margaret Ringnalda.
by Dan Luckenbill, May 1975

Scope and Content

Collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, and research materials related to Ruth E. McKee's work as a novelist, poet, United States Foreign Service officer, and writer for the War Relocation Authority (WRA). McKee's research for the WRA focused on Japanese American evacuation and internment during World War II.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged in the following series:
  1. Biographical and correspondence (Boxes 1-4).
  2. Journals and diary (Boxes 5-6).
  3. Poetry, prose fiction, non-fiction prose (Box 7).
  4. Published novels (Box 8).
  5. Unpublished novels (Box 9).
  6. Writings for War Relocation Authority (Box 10).
  7. Writings for U.S. Signal Corps, U.S. Dept. of State, and manuscripts by other writers (Box 11).
  8. Certificates and book review clippings (Oversize Box 12).

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
McKee, Ruth Eleanor, 1903- .
United States. War Relocation Authority.
United States. Army. Signal Corps.
Authors, American--20th century--Archival resources.
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945--Research.

Items Removed from Collection

  • Copy of Healdsburg Enterprise,
    Date: Wednesday, November 28, 1888.
    Miscellaneous American Newspapers (Collection 1661). Box 7.
  • Galley proofs of Christopher Morley's Mandarin in Manhattan. Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection (Collection 100). Box 136.
  • Copies of Lyric West.
    Date: 1928[?] and 1931-33
    have been removed and added to the Department's holdings.

Container List

Box  [1]

Biographical

Box 1, Folder 1

Autobiography. 1946.

Physical Description: 6 leaves. Typescript, with holograph notes.

Note

Written in the fall of 1946 for some application for a writing fellowship.
Box 1, Folder 2

Photos of Ruth Eleanor McKee. 1905, 1907, 1918, 1930, 1952, 1963 and n.d.

Physical Description: 9 items.
Box 1, Folder 3

Clippings, giving general information about Ruth Eleanor McKee. 1936, 1938 and n.d.

Box 1, Folder 4

Diplomas, etc.

Note

See also: Oversize Box 12.
 

8th grade. 1916.

 

Manual Arts High School. 1920.

 

Teacher's credential, Southern Branch of the University of California. 1923.

 

Credential, State Board of Education. 1923.

 

Master of Arts, University of Hawaii. 1930.

 

Certificate from School of Librarianship, University of California at Berkeley. 1939.

Box 1, Folder 5

Marriage and divorce. Marriage certificate, Honolulu. 1927. Decree of divorce, Territory of Hawaii. 1928.

 

Michael Alkire.

Box 1, Folder 6

Letters to Michael Alkire. 1944.

Box 1, Folder 6

Letters from Michael Alkire to Ruth Eleanor McKee. 1945-46 and 1950.

Box 1, Folder 7

Photos. n.d.

Physical Description: 6 items.
Box 1, Folder 8

Armed services records. 1945-48, 1950 and n.d.

Box 1, Folder 9

Written numerology. n.d.

Box 1, Folder 10

Clippings. ca. 1950.

Box 1, Folder 11

Legal items after his death. 1950.

Box 1, Folder 12

Letters, expressing sympathy to Ruth E. McKee. September-October 1950 and n.d.

Box 1, Folder 13

Diplomatic passport. 1958. Travel documents. 1960 and 1963.

Box 1, Folder 14

Travel vouchers. 1963.

Box 1, Folder 15

Retirement from foreign service. Certificate and letter. 1963.

Box 1, Folder 16

Consular service, Japan. Ephemera, etc. collected 1958-63.

Note

See also: Oversize Box 12.
Box 1, Folder 17

House at Harding Shores, West Chatham, Massachusetts. Correspondence, legal items, specifications and drawings. September 1957-October 1963.

Box 1, Folder 18

Clippings concerning friends of Ruth Eleanor McKee:

 

Kathryn MacFarlane Thompson. 1936-38, 1946 and n.d.

 

Elmire Goldthwaite. 1941.

 

Julia Montgomery. 1957.

Box  [1-4]

Correspondence

Box  [1]

Miscellaneous Correspondence

Box 1, Folder 19

Miscellaneous correspondence. 1920, 1931, 1935, 1943, 1950-51, 1957 and 1965.

Note

Includes letter from Lily Bess Campbell.
Box 1, Folder 20

With agents, editors and publishers. 1928-1973.

Physical Description: 21 items.
Box 1, Folder 21

Letters from Kathryn MacFarlane Thompson. 1947 and 1958.

Box 1, Folder 22

Letters to Margaret Ringnalda from Kathryn MacFarlane Thompson. 1934-35 and 1940.

Box 1, Folder 23

Enclosures to the Ringnalda correspondence. 1942-43 and 1953.

Box  [2-4]

Letters from Ruth Eleanor McKee to Margaret Ringnalda

Box 2, Folder 1

1934 and 1937-41.

Box 2, Folder 2

1942-44.

Box 2, Folder 3

1945.

Box 2, Folder 4

1946.

Box 2, Folder 5

1947.

Box 2, Folder 6

1948.

Box 2, Folder 7

1949.

Box 3, Folder 1

1950.

Box 3, Folder 2

1951.

Box 3, Folder 3

1952.

Box 3, Folder 4

1953.

Box 3, Folder 5

1954.

Box 3, Folder 6

1955.

Box 4, Folder 1

1956.

Box 4, Folder 2

1957 (1 item) and 1958.

Box 4, Folder 3

1959.

Box 4, Folder 4

1960-61.

Box 4, Folder 5

1962.

Box 4, Folder 6

1963.

Box  [4]

Letters from Ruth Eleanor McKee to Eleanor Grahl

Box 4, Folder 7

1966-68.

Box 4, Folder 8

1969-72.

Box  [4]

Letters from Margaret Ringnalda to Ruth Eleanor McKee

Note

[Addition, 1985]
Box 4, Folder 9

ca. 1931-32, 1940, 1943-45, 1947 and 1949.

Note

Most have news about C.F. McIntyre.
Box  [5-6]

Journals

Note

Of a diary nature, although many contain drafts of poems. All are in composition books of varying sizes.
Box 5

1913-1951 (inclusive dates).

Note

The following headings were given by the literary executrix:
 

Tulare, Los Angeles, Ventura. 1913-17.

 

UCLA-Hawaii. 1924-31.

 

Berkeley, Los Angeles. 1938-39.

 

Healdsburg, Washington, D.C. 1940-48.

 

Washington, D.C. 1948-51.

Box 6

1951-1971 (inclusive dates).

Physical Description: 12 items of a diary nature.
Box 6

1930-1935 (inclusive dates).

Physical Description: 4 items with general notes on readings, etc.
Box  [7-11]

Manuscripts and Publications Materials

Box  [7]

Poetry

Box 7, Folder 1

Typescripts of poems. ca. 1919-50.

Physical Description: 48 titles. 67 leaves.

Note

All of these appear to be copies, with very little correction of text. Many have holograph notes giving place of publication or circumstances of their composition.
Box 7, Folder 2

Publications with poems by Ruth Eleanor McKee. 1928[?] and 1931-33.

Physical Description: 9 items.

Note

Note: copies of Lyric West have been removed and added to the Department's holdings.
Box 7, Folder 3

Poems: Ruth Eleanor McKee, n.p. n.d.

Physical Description: [19]pp.

Note

Keepsake printed by Margaret Ringnalda for the friends of Ruth Eleanor McKee.
Box 7, Folder 4

[Hawthorne: a study of the modifications which took place in his attitude toward sin]. No author given. n.d.

Physical Description: ca. 50 leaves. Typescript.

Note

Has note by Ruth Eleanor McKee: Research Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Box  [7]

Prose Fiction - [Unpublished (?)]

Box 7, Folder 5

Juvenilia.

Note

One story, with note by Ruth Eleanor McKee: As far as I can recall I wrote this at about 18, maybe 19. I submitted it to The Smart Set!
Box 7, Folder 6

Stories, Ruth Eleanor McKee, The Library of Hawaii, Honolulu, T.H.

Physical Description: 5 items.
Box 7, Folder 7

Stories, Healdsburg.

Physical Description: 4 items.
Box 7, Folder 8

Stories written under pseudonyms.

Physical Description: 6 items.
Box 7, Folder 9

Unfinished manuscripts.

Physical Description: 6 items.
Box 7, Folder 10

Unfinished manuscripts. 1965-67.

Physical Description: 1 item (2 copies).
Box  [7]

Non-Fiction Prose

Box 7, Folder 11

Publication about Library of Hawaii. Library Journal. 1932.

Box 7, Folder 12

Publication about Library of Hawaii. Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 1933.

Box 7, Folder 13

A word about American poetry. In The New Americans. 1933.

Box 7, Folder 14

Notes for lecture [?]. n.d.

Physical Description: 9 leaves. Typescript.
Box 7, Folder 15

[Review of novel by Rose Macaulay]. n.d.

Physical Description: 1p. Typescript.
Box 7, Folder 16

Clippings of book reviews from Honolulu Star-Bulletin written by Ruth Eleanor McKee when working at the Library of Hawaii. ca. 1930-33.

Note

See also: Oversize Box 12.
Box  [8]

Published Novels

Box 8, Folder 1

Research notes about Hawaii. Possibly for The Lord's Anointed or After a Hundred Years.

 

The Lord's Anointed.

Box 8, Folder 2

Correspondence. 1934 and n.d.

Box 8, Folder 3

Dust jackets from various printings.

Box 8, Folder 4

Clippings of reviews. 1934-35 and n.d.

 

After a Hundred Years.

Box 8, Folder 5

Correspondence, publishing agreement. 1935.

Box 8, Folder 6

Clippings of reviews. 1935.

 

Under One Roof.

Box 8, Folder 7

Carbon typescript. 1936 [?].

Physical Description: 208 leaves.
Box 8, Folder 8

Publishing agreement. 1936.

Box 8, Folder 9

Dust jacket.

Box 8, Folder 10

Clippings of reviews. 1936.

 

Three Daughters.

Box 8, Folder 11

Notes, in composition book. Healdsburg. 1938 [?].

Box 8, Folder 12

Correspondence. 1938.

Box 8, Folder 13

Clippings of reviews. 1938.

 

Christopher Strange.

Box 8, Folder 14

Holograph notes in composition book. ca. 1941.

Box 8, Folder 15

Correspondence. ca. 1941.

Box 8, Folder 16

Publication announcement. 1941.

Box 8, Folder 17

Dust jacket and photograph of dust jacket painting.

Box 8, Folder 18

Clippings of reviews. 1941.

Box 8, Folder 19

Storm Point. Dust jacket.

Box  [9]

Unpublished Novels

Box 9, Folder 1

Follow the birds: a story of the hop harvest. n.d.

Physical Description: 128 leaves. Carbon typescript.
Box 9, Folder 2

Scattered notes for Japanese-American novel. In composition book. ca. 1957.

Box 9, Folder 3

The refuge. n.d.

Physical Description: 386 leaves. Typescript with some holograph corrections.
Physical Description: f.1 of 2: leaves 1-167.

Note

First book of projected Japanese American novel for which Ruth E. McKee kept the WRA materials and asked for Embassy duty in Japan.
Box 9, Folder 4

The refuge. n.d.

Physical Description: f.2 of 2: leaves 168-386.
Box 9, Folder 5

In the beginning. n.d.

Physical Description: 3 leaves. Typescript with some holograph corrections.

Note

Possible prologue to The refuge [?]
Box 9, Folder 6

Portrait of an American. n.d.

Physical Description: 154 leaves. Typescript with some holograph corrections.

Note

Beginning of second book in Japanese American saga.
Box  [10]

Writings for the War Relocation Authority (WRA)

Box 10, Folder 1

Holograph notes concerning relocation centers, etc. ca. 1942-46.

Physical Description: In 2 composition books.
Box 10, Folder 2

Letters from Grace Nichols Pearson. March 1943-July 1946 and n.d.

Note

Note by Ruth Eleanor McKee: Special WRA references in letters.
Box 10, Folder 3

Miscellaneous correspondence having to do with WRA, Japanese-Americans, etc. 1945 and n.d.

Box 10, Folder 4

Press releases, etc. from Tule Lake Segregation Center. Primarily concerning removal of internees because of violence in the center. June-July and December 1944 and n.d.

Box 10, Folder 5

Department of the Interior. 1945.

Physical Description: Mimeographed items.
Box 10, Folder 6

[ History of Evacuation and WRA Program] by Ruth E. McKee. n.d.

Physical Description: 246 leaves. Carbon typescript with some holograph corrections.

Note

With note by Ruth Eleanor McKee: Carbon of edited version was submitted to Interior - to Miss Sylvia Altman. This was not censored.
Box 10, Folder 7

California and Her Less Favored Minorities: a Study of the Evacuation of Persons of Japanese Ancestry from the Pacific Coast, War Relocation Authority. April 1944.

Physical Description: 27, iv [4] leaves. Mimeograph.

Note

Prepared by Ruth E. McKee, WRA historian.
Box 10, Folder 8

The Wartime Handling of Evacuee Property. United States Department of the Interior, War Relocation Authority. Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office. 1946.

Physical Description: 113pp. Mimeograph.

Note

Note on cover by Ruth Eleanor McKee: This is just tossed in gratis, the most exacting and tedious of my writing assignments for WRA - I have a more entertaining one but have only one copy.
Box 10, Folder 9

Wartime Exile: the Exclusion of the Japanese Americans from the West Coast. Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office for United States Department of the Interior, War Relocation Authority. 1946.

Physical Description: 167pp.

Note

This report prepared by Ruth E. McKee.
Box 10, Folder 10

The Latest Word: WRA Reports Alumni Association. News Bulletin.

Scope and Content Note

  • no.1 (November 1945)
  • no.2 (January 1946)
  • no.3 (April 1946)
  • no.4 (June 1946)
  • no.5 (August 1946)
  • no.9 (July 12, 1949)
  • Also, final issue Ave Atque Vale (n.d.).
Box 10, Folder 11

Correspondence of Earl M. Finch with Frank Cross, WRA, concerning Japanese American servicemen. June 1944.

Box 10, Folder 12

Clippings concerning Japanese Americans. 1941-42, 1945-46, 1948, 1950 and n.d.

Box 10, Folder 13

WRA. Miscellaneous printed materials. ca. 1942-45.

Box  [11]

Writings for the United States Signal Corps

Box 11, Folder 1

The Signal Corps' Bird of War. n.d.

Physical Description: 48 leaves. Typescript with some holograph corrections. Another copy. Carbon typescript.
Box 11, Folder 2

Signal Corps technical information letter. August 1945.

Physical Description: 40pp.
Box 11, Folder 3

Terrett, Dulany. [Signal Corps report]. ca. 1949.

Physical Description: 11 leaves. Mimeograph.

Note

Note by Ruth Eleanor McKee: Re-hash of Ruth McKee's material by her superior Terrett in Pentagon - great conflict and indignation on her part.
Box 11, Folder 4

Research material [?] Correspondence, memoranda, etc. concerning Roberts death ray. 1939-43.

Note

Some items bear the note: copy for Miss McKee.
Box 11, Folder 5

Research material [?] Outlines of Signal Corps topics. 1945.

Physical Description: ca. 60 leaves. Carbon typescripts.
Box  [11]

Writings for the Department of State

Box 11, Folder 6

Publications containing articles ghostwritten by Ruth Eleanor McKee. 1951-53.

Physical Description: 7 items.

Note

Includes one publication with authorship not annotated by Ruth Eleanor McKee.
Box 11, Folder 7

Department of State publications about Japan and Germany. 1955 and 1957.

Box 11, Folder 8

Clipping about writing of State Department pamphlets. 1957.

Box 11, Folder 9

Miscellaneous printed and mimeographed items collected by Ruth Eleanor McKee during her period of writing for the Signal Corps and State Department. ca. 1943-57.

Box  [11]

Manuscripts by Other Writers

Box 11, Folder 10

Thompson, Kathryn MacFarlane. Poems & fiction. ca. 1929-47.

Physical Description: ca. 60 leaves.

Note

Some were written to Ruth Eleanor McKee and are annotated by her.
Box 11, Folder 11

Rogers, Gene. My Friend Anna. n.d.

Physical Description: 11 leaves. Typescript.
Box  [Oversize Box 12]

Certificates and Book Review Clippings

Oversize Box 12

Bachelor of Arts Degree, Southern Branch of the University of California. 1926.

Oversize Box 12

Certificates from the Department of State, with appointment as Foreign Service Officer, class four; secretary in the diplomatic service; and Consul of the United States. 20 July 1955.

Physical Description: 4 items.
Oversize Box 12

Certificate from the Department of State, appointment as Consul of the United States of America at Tokyo, Japan, for Tokyo. 28 July 1958.

Oversize Box 12

Certificates in Japanese with seal of the Embassy of the United States of America, Tokyo. Also translation of October 1 document. 8 July and 1 October 1958.

Physical Description: 2 items.
Oversize Box 12

Clippings of book reviews by Ruth Eleanor McKee from Honolulu Star-Bulletin. ca. 1930-1933.

Physical Description: Pasted on oversize scrapbook pages.

Note

No dates on items.