Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

K.T. Keller Papers

Dates: 1947-1958

Chairman, President's Advisory Committee on the Merchant Marine, 1947.
Director, Office of Guided Missiles, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1950-53.

The papers of K.T. Keller primarily relate to his service as the Chairman of the President's Advisory Committee on the Merchant Marine and as the Director of the Office of Guided Missiles under the Secretary of Defense. The bulk of the documents consist of correspondence between Keller and his colleagues regarding the progress of the programs under his directorship, and also correspondence with other parties with interests in Keller's projects. The collection includes numerous newspaper clippings, magazine articles, itineraries, and a small number of maps, photographs, charts, and reports to the President, the National War College, and various officials.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: Less than one half of one linear foot (approximately 800 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: Copyright in the unpublished writings of K.T. Keller in this collection has not been donated. Documents prepared by U.S. government officials in the course of their official duties are in the public domain. Copyright interest in documents which do not fall into this category are presumed to remain with the authors of the documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Erwin J. Mueller (1975).
Reprocessed by: Jamie Huff (2001) as part of the Internship Program at the Truman Library.
Supervising Archivists: Randy Sowell and Amy Williams

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1885 (Nov. 27) Born in Mount Joy, PA.
1911 Employed by the General Motors Company.
1916-1919 General Master Mechanic, Buick Motor Company.
1921-1924 Vice President of Chevrolet Motor Company.
1926-1935 Vice President in Charge of Manufacturing, Chrysler Corporation.
1935-1950 President of Chrysler Corporation.
1946 Awarded Presidential Medal for Merit for his contributions to the war effort during World War II.
1947 Chairman of the President's Advisory Committee on the Merchant Marine.
1950-1953 Director of the Office of Guided Missiles in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
1950-1956 Chairman of the Board, Chrsler Corporation.
1954 Awarded the Air Force Exceptional Service Award.
1966 (Jan. 21) Died in London, England.

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

Most of the documents contained in the papers of K.T. Keller are correspondence between Keller and his colleagues during his service as Chairman of the President's Advisory Committee on the Merchant Marine (1947) and as the Director of the Office of Guided Missiles under the Secretary of Defense (1950-1953). The collection was created from Keller's personal office file and was originally intended to include only the papers regarding the Guided Missiles Program. However, the decision was made by Keller, while gathering documents on the Guided Missile Program, to also include in the collection the papers regarding his chairmanship of the Advisory Committee on the Merchant Marine. The collection contains newspaper clippings, correspondence, maps, charts, photographs, handwritten notes, and reports. The papers are in one series and arranged alphabetically.

Most of the documents concerning the Guided Missile Program are in the form of letters to and from Keller, yet these letters reveal little information about the program itself. Information on the program can primarily be found in the reports written by Keller to the President after the first year of his directorship and again in a final report as the experimental phase of the program came to a close and Keller's position as director was no longer necessary. In the first year report, Keller explains how he approached the assignment, his short and long-term plans, current cost of the program, future budget recommendations, and the specifications and progress made on each missile. The final report of the Guided Missile Program, made in 1953, outlines the current testing results of each missile and recommendations by Keller on the future of the Guided Missile Program. Both a handwritten and a final draft of Keller's presentation before the National War College on the progress of the Guided Missile Program in 1952 are also in the collection. Other items in the collection regarding the Guided Missile Program include: a limited number of photographs, magazine articles on missiles and the missile program, newspaper clippings on the program and Keller's involvement, a map of the Los Angeles area that highlights sights pertinent to the program, and numerous letters from leaders of the aviation and scientific communities to Keller requesting various kinds of involvement in the Missile Program.

In regards to Keller's Chairmanship of the Advisory Committee on the Merchant Marine, the collection contains a magazine article and several newspaper clippings that outline the state of the Merchant Marine and its deterioration after World War II, and the appointment of Keller as Chairman. There is no complete information on Keller's actions during his tenure as the Chairman of the Advisory Committee, but an extensive final report (127 pages) outlines the committee's discoveries and recommendations to the President regarding the future of the Merchant Marine. There are also many letters to Keller by Naval officers and civilians with an interest in the Merchant Marine reflecting their opinions on the committee's final report.

A particular weakness of the collection lies in the gaps in information regarding Keller's time with the Guided Missile Program. This can be attributed to the secrecy surrounding the project; most of the pertinent documentation was not included among Keller's papers.

Other relevant materials at the Truman Library include the Records of the President's Advisory Committee on the Merchant Marine (Record Group 220) and documents in the Harry S. Truman Papers concerning Keller (in particular, in Official File 1285-EE, President's Personal File 739, and the Secretary's Office File of the Post-Presidential Papers).

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SERIES DESCRIPTION

Container Nos. Series
1
SUBJECT FILE, 1947-1958.
Personal and business letters, maps, charts, photos, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, reports, handwritten notes, presentation drafts, itineraries, cables, invitations, legal documents, and memos of Keller's tenures as Director, Office of Guided Missiles, Office of Secretary of Defense (1950-53), and Chairman, President's Advisory Committee on the Merchant Marine (1947). Arranged alphabetically.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST

SUBJECT FILE, 1947-1958

Box 1

  • Guided Missiles - Correspondence, 1950-52
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Guided Missiles - Correspondence, 1953-54
  • Guided Missiles - Final Report by the Director, Office of Guided Missiles, Sept. 17, 1953
  • Guided Missiles - Newspaper Clippings
  • Merchant Marine - Correspondence and Newspaper Clippings, 1947
  • Merchant Marine - Correspondence and Newspaper Clippings, 1948-49
  • National War College
  • Report of the President's Advisory Committee on the Merchant Marine

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