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Kendall W. King Papers

Identifier: Ms-2002-002

Scope and Content

The Kendall W. King Papers span the years 1959 to 2000 (bulk 1960-1979). The collection includes materials on cellulase, Mothercraft Centers,nutrition in Haiti, nutrition an meeting world food needs, and miscellaneous professional and personal papers.

Two reports on celluslase concern King's pioneering work on how complex carbohydrates are digested by microorganisms. The reports deal with the shortcomings of of cellulose and cellulose substrates for studying the mechanism of cellulose action and the the site of attack on substrate by cellulose.

The collection includes front matter and six chapters of King's manuscript, "Mothercraft Centers and the Malnourished Child," as well as reports, speeches, guidelines, and publications by King and others, including several reports by Ivan D. Beghin. Mothercraft or Nutritional Rehabilitation Centers aimed to educate mothers about how to feed and care for infants and young children using techniques compatible with their understanding and financial limitations. In developing countries, pre-school children are most vulnerable to restrictions in the food supply and, therefore, the group in which malnutrition is most serious.

King did pioneering work in Haiti establishing the Mothercraft Center concept and did research for the Haiti project at Virginia Tech. He began his work in Haiti in 1958 when he served on a nutrition survey investigating the nutritional status of the Haitian people. In 1959 to 1960 he lead a nutritional research project in Haiti. The collection includes reports and publications about appraisal of nutrition in Haiti and efforts to ameliorate malnutrition in children through research and Mothercraft Centers.

The papers contain United Nations' publications, reports, and guides from 1977-1979 on world hunger, family nutrition programs, and food and nutrition appraisal, research, education, and policies. Topices include efforts to combat malnutrtion in pre-school children, the place of vegetables in meeting the food needs of emerging nations, community action, and United Nations' nutrition policies and programs.

Correspondence in the collection is primarily with publishers about the Mothercraft Center manuscript (1972-1982). Other correspondence relates to the King scholarship fund. The collection also contains Warren H. Strother's interview with King, materials by King on generating research grants and evaluating faculty, poems by King, "Dr. Kendall King Memorial Address" by Frederick W. Harrison, and a "Resolution in Memory of Dr. Kendall King," adopted by the Council on Research of the University of North Carolina.


  • 1959 - 2000


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

Kendall W. King (1926-1990) was the son of Hilda Bainton King of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania and Charles Glen King, a widely known biochemist and former professor at the University of Pittsburgh. He had two siblings, a brother, Robert D. King, M.D., Chancellor's Distinguished Service Professor of Neurological Surgery at Upstate Medical University, and a sister, Mrs. Dorothy Hammel. Kendall King married Kathleen Abbitt (later Young), who graduated from Virginia Tech in the class of 1947, and they had two children, Russell and Virginia. He received B.S. (class of 1949) and M.S. degrees from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin.

King was a member of Virginia Tech's faculty for 15 years. He had a split appointment in biology and biochemistry and nutrition, but he transferred entirely to the Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition shortly after R. W. Engel came to Virginia Tech to head the new department in 1952. King served as department head from 1966 to 1968. He helped develop the new department's curriculum, generated more than $1 million in teaching and research grants, andhelped start its study abroad program. King pioneered work in how complex carbohydrates are digested by microorganisms, but he was most noted for his pioneering work in Haiti, establishing the Mothercraft Center concept. He served as consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development and World Health Organization, establishing similar programsin other nations.

In 1986 he joined the Research Coporation, a New York foundation for scientific research, as assistant vice president for grants. He becamae vice president in 1977 with full responsibility for planning and managing the corporation's $6 million annual grants program. That program became a major source for basic research funds for liberal arts colleges. He also administreed the corporation's research and traning project in public health and nutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean.

From 1983 to 1986, King was vice president of Remick Associates, a chemical, pharmaceutical, and microelectronics recruiting firm. In 1986 he became associate dean at Western Carolina University (WCU) with princial responsibilities in research addministration. He worked closely with WCU's international educational and technical assistance projects and started the university's first scholarship fund for international students. He died in 1990 at age 64.


0.8 Linear Feet (2 boxes)


The Kendall W. King Papers span the years 1959 to 2000 (bulk 1960-1979). The collection includes materials on cellulase, Mothercraft Centers, nutrition in Haiti, nutrition an meeting world food needs, and miscellaneous professional and personal papers.

Source of Acquisition

The Kendall W. King Papers were donated to Special Collections in May 2001.

Related Materials

There are a number of works by Kendall W. King in the Rare Book Collection and University Libraries, including Poems and Perms (call number PS3561.I4799 P64 1977), Haiku Americain : a collection of poems (call number PS3561.I4799 H3 1965), and A Little Mischief (call number PS3561.I4799 L58 1977).

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Kendall W. King Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Kendall W. King Papers was completed in 2002.

Kendall W. King Papers, 1959-2000
Tamara Kennelly, Archivist
2003 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US