Information for Researchers
Scope and Content
Collection Title: Roger Kent Papers,
Date (inclusive): [ca. 1947-1974]
Collection Number: BANC MSS 74/160 c
Kent, Roger, 1906-1980
Number of containers: 31 boxes and 3 cartons
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Letters addressed to Kent; copies of his replies and subject files which include clippings, notes, speeches, press releases
and ephemeral printed material. $b Documenting Kent's role in Democratic Party politics - his campaigns for Congress, his
leadership as head of the California Democratic State Central Committee and as chairman and co-chairman of various local and
state political campaigns.
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts
must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft
Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which
must also be obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Roger Kent Papers, BANC MSS 74/160 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
The collection of his correspondence and papers came to The Bancroft Library by various gifts of Mr. Kent and the Democratic
State Central Committee from 1965 through 1974.
Roger Kent was born on June 8, 1906, in Chicago, Illinois, the youngest of seven children of William and Elizabeth (Thacher)
Kent. William Kent (1864-1928) was a prominent Progressive Republican who served as independent Congressman from the California
First Congressional District from 1911 to 1917 and later was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to a four year term on
the U.S. Tariff Commission. Elizabeth (Thacher) Kent (1868-1952) was a leader in the women's suffrage movement.
Roger Kent attended Washington D.C. and Marin County public schools and Thacher School at Ojai, California. He was graduated
from Yale in 1928 and from Yale Law School in the class of 1931. In 1930, he married Alice Cooke of Honolulu.
Starting in 1931, Kent was employed as an attorney with the San Francisco law firm of Chickering & Gregory until he resigned
in 1936 to become senior attorney in the San Francisco regional office of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Following
3 1/2 years of service in the Navy, Kent became a partner in the new San Francisco law firm of Crimmins, Kent, Bradley & Burns
in April 1946. Kent has been associated with the firm to the present with the exception of a leave of absence from March 1952
to May 1953 when he was General Counsel for the Department of Defense and, briefly, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense.
Kent registered in the Democratic Party in 1928 and ran for Congress in the First Congressional District in 1948 and 1950.
Though not nominated, he received more votes than any other candidate on both political tickets in the 1948 primary. In 1950
he lost to the Republican incumbent after nomination. From December 1953 to August 1954, Kent was the Northern California
chairman of the Richard Graves for Governor Committee and was elected chairman of the Northern California Division of the
Democratic State Central Committee later in 1954.
Because of his outspoken California political leadership, Kent served an unprecedented tenure, alternating every two years
as either chairman or vice chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee from 1954 to 1965. During this period, he was
also active in the 1956 Presidential campaign of Adlai Stevenson, and served as state chairman of the 1960 Kennedy-Johnson
campaign, Northern California chairman of the 1962 Edmund G. Brown for Governor campaign, Northern California chairman of
the 1964 Johnson-Humphrey campaign and as co-chairman of the Committee to Re-Elect Governor Brown. He also served as a member
of the Postmaster General's Stamp Advisory Committee in 1961 and as chairman of the Western States Democratic Conference from
1962 to 1965.
The Kent family resides at Kentfield in Marin County, California.
Scope and Content
The collection consists of 31 boxes and 3 cartons and documents Kent's political activities for the period from 1947 through
early 1974. The correspondence prior to 1954 primarily relates to his campaigns for Congress and his positions with the Department
of Defense; the material for the period 1954-1965 to his leadership as head of the California Democratic State Central Committee
and chairman and co-chairman of various local and state political campaigns. The correspondence after 1965 includes many candid
assessments and discussions with leading local, state and national figures and political aspirants regarding a variety of
liberal contemporary issues.
The collection comprises letters addressed to Kent together with copies of his replies; personalia; a diary; speeches; memoranda;
photographs and portraits; clippings; and a general subject file. Most of the portraits have been removed and indexed separately
in the portrait collection.
The Papers as a whole are described in greater detail in the Key to Arrangement which follows.
Additional Roger Kent letters are with the Kent family papers at Yale University.