Collection ID: ARCH075

Collection context


1954-2007, bulk 1958-1975
The collection contains materials pertaining to the Keller Lectures from 1958-1976, including planning and publicity materials, photographs, transcripts, and recordings.
8.54 Linear Feet and (19 containers)
English and English


Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Scope and Content:

The collection contains letters, memos, programs, press releases, newspaper clippings, transcripts, and recordings of Keller lecture events. The collection also contains records of the University of Hartford Committee on Keller Lectures, which includes meeting minutes, financial records, and other materials including records of two events honoring Carolyn Keller.

Biographical / Historical:

Alexander Sidney Keller was born in New York City on August 5, 1905 to Elsie Davidson Keller and Sidney A. Keller. He went to Far Rockaway High School in Long Island and later graduated from Harvard College in 1926 and the Harvard School of Business Administration in 1928. He married Carolyn Witmark in 1932. Keller settled in Hartford in 1932 to head the Pratt & Whitney Company's Keller Division, formerly the Keller Mechanical Engineering Co. of Brooklyn, founded by his father. Keller went on to become Pratt & Whitney's Vice President and General Sales Manager.

During World War II, he served on Advisory Committees for the War Production Board, the National Production Authority, and the Department of Commerce. He served as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the National Machine Tool Builders Association and also on its Committee on governmental relations.

After the war, Mr. Keller and his family spent two years in Holland where, as Senior Industry Officer of the Marshall Plan Mission, he oversaw the effective allocation of three hundred million aid dollars. He was decorated by the Queen of the Netherlands for his outstanding work in reestablishing war-torn Holland on a sound economic and productive basis.

Throughout his life, Mr. Keller exhibited a sincere and profound interest in the dignity and rights of the individual. At no time was this quality so rewarding to society as when the need for refugee service was born. Founder of the Refugee Service of Hartford in 1938, he subsequently became Chairman of the Executive Committee of the National Refugee Service and as such was responsible for resettling hundreds of refugees who had escaped from Nazi Germany and from behind the Iron Curtain. He gave unstintingly of his time and effort to their problems on resettlement, housing, jobs, language barriers, emotional readjustment, and citizenship.

Mr. Keller also participated in a leadership capacity in many community activities involving social services including the Hartford Jewish Federation, Hartford Jewish Community Council, USO, Community Chest, YMCA, Girl Scouts, Symphony Society, Wadsworth Atheneum, and the American Jewish Committee. He was also a founder of the University of Hartford.

Above all came his devotion to his family and friends. It was his friends who were inspired to start this memorial to Mr. Keller. As one has expressed it so ably, "Al was a warm person who liked his fellowmen. No matter how busy his schedule he always had time to listen to someone else's problem and to extend a helping hand. His name was synonymous with good works in community endeavors."

Mr. Keller passed away on the afternoon of May 16, 1958. The Alexander S. Keller Memorial Fund, was established later that year by his family and friends, to enable the University to expose students and the interested public to the live and lively ideas and ideals of the great philosophers, writers, artists, and statesmen of their time.

[Alexander Keller biographical note is a revised version of a short biography which appeared in the 1964-1965 Keller Lecture program. This bio also includes information obtained from: "Alexander Keller Dies; P & W Co. Vice President," The Hartford Courant, May 17, 1958, (accessed November 22, 2017); as well as additional information from the Keller Family]

Carolyn Keller was born in 1910 in Woodmere, Long Island to Viola Cahn Witmark and Isidore Witmark. Mrs. Keller attended Woodmere Academy and Wellesley College. She was a significant community leader in the Hartford area and held several leadership roles throughout her life, including chairwomen of the Citizens Committee for the Connecticut Medical-Dental School, chair of the Greater Hartford Chapter of the American Jewish Committee, secretary of the Governor's Site Selection Commission which chose the location of the UConn Health Center, and secretary of the West Hartford Charter Revision Commission, to name a few. Mrs. Keller was also a regent of the University of Hartford. When her husband died in 1958, she helped establish the Alexander S. Keller Memorial Lecture Series at the University and curated and managed the series for the next decade. In 1968, Mrs. Keller received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University. She passed away on July 30, 1968.

[Much of the information from this note was obtained from "Mrs. A. S. Keller Dies at 58; was UofH Regent." The Hartford Courant (1923-1991), Jul 31, 1968, (accessed November 27, 2017); as well as from the Keller Family.]

Processing information:

In 2015, the call number was changed from K65K to ARCH075.


The collection is arranged into five series: I. Lecture Seasons, II. University of Hartford Committee on Keller Lectures, III. Photographs, IV. Recordings, V. Duplicates.

Indexed Terms

Alexander S. Keller Memorial Fund Lecture Series
Art, French
Art -- History
China -- History
China -- Politics and government
Criminal justice, Administration of
International organization
International relations
Literature -- History and criticism
Motion pictures
Nuclear warfare
Race relations
minutes (administrative records)
Sound recordings
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
University of Hartford
Alphand, Hervé
Alsop, Joseph, 1910-1989
Armbruster, Frank E.
Aron, Raymond, 1905-1983
Berger, Gordon Mark, 1942-
Berlin, Isaiah, 1909-1997
Brée, Germaine
Brzezinski, Zbigniew, 1928-2017
Cadoret, Michel, 1912-1985
Clark, Kenneth, 1903-1983
Cohen, Myron L., 1937-
Cunningham, Charles Crehore, 1910-1979
Deshingkar, Giri, 1932-2000
Eban, Abba Solomon, 1915-2002
Foster, William C. (William Chapman), 1897-1984
Galbraith, John Kenneth, 1908-2006
Goldstein, Abraham S.
Gunn, Theodore
Hall, Donald, 1928-
Hoffmann, Stanley
Hofheinz, Roy, 1935-
Hu, Changdu, 1920-
Hughes, H. Stuart (Henry Stuart), 1916-1999
Isaacs, Harold R. (Harold Robert), 1910-1986
Kahn, Herman, 1922-1983
Keller, Alexander Sidney
Keller, Carolyn Witmark
King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
Kissinger, Henry, 1923-
Lang, Paul Henry, 1901-1991
Lawder, Standish D.
MacLeish, Archibald, 1892-1982
McKayle, Donald, 1930-
Morgenthau, Hans J. (Hans Joachim), 1904-1980
Morot-Sir, Edouard
Moseley, Edwin M. (Edwin Maurice), 1916-1978
Myrdal, Gunnar, 1898-1987
Nossal, Frederick, 1927-
Oakes, John B. (John Bertram), 1913-2001
O'Grady, Gerald
Peyre, Henri, 1901-1988
Pool, Ithiel de Sola, 1917-1984
Poussaint, Alvin F.
Radzinowicz, Leon, 1906-1999
Rapoport, Anatol, 1911-2007
Read, Herbert, 1893-1968
Reischauer, Edwin O. (Edwin Oldfather), 1910-1990
Renan, Sheldon, 1941-
Riskin, Carl
Selden, Mark
Shapley, Harlow, 1885-1972
Smith, Henry Lee, 1913-1972
Snow, Edgar, 1905-1972
Spence, Jonathan D.
Stikker, Dirk U.
Sweeney, James Johnson, 1900-1986
Thomson, James Claude, 1931-
Tong, Averil
Van Doren, Mark, 1894-1972
Ward, Barbara, 1914-1981
Warren, Robert Penn, 1905-1989
Westin, Alan F.
Wilson, James Q.
Wright, Arthur F., 1913-1976
Wyzanski, Charles E. (Charles Edward), 1906-1986
Youngblood, Gene, 1942-
Zagoria, Donald S.
France -- History -- 20th century

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