Guide to the Edward J. McKenna. Jr. Collection 1942-1977 MG 1678
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Series Descriptions and Container List
The New Jersey Historical Society
52 Park Place
Newark, New Jersey 07102
Contact: NJHS Library
(973) 596-8500 x249
© 2006 All rights reserved.
The New Jersey Historical Society, Publisher
Processed by Douglas Baldwin.
Finding aid encoded by Julia Telonidis. February 2007. Production of the EAD 2002 version of this finding aid was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.Finding aid written in English.
Edward J. McKenna, Jr. was born in Monahan County, Ireland, in 1902. His family emigrated to New Jersey from England (according to the 1920 US census) in 1903. They lived in Newark, NJ for most of his childhood. His father, Edward McKenna Sr. was a baker by trade. In 1916, McKenna Sr. opened his own business, Mrs. Mac’s Kruller Baking Co. Edward J Mckenna (from this point forward referred to as “McKenna”), and his younger brother Robert, went to work for the family business as young men. In 1929, McKenna moved to Irvington, NJ with his wife Rosemary.
McKenna was not only a local businessman in the community. In the early 1940’s he became actively involved with the local Democratic party in Irvington, holding fundraiser and sponsoring political events through the Edward McKenna Association. In 1942, McKenna was elected to serve as a town commissioner for Irvington, which at that time was run under the commission form of government. This government form, in accordance with the Walsh act of 1911, operated where five commissioners were elected by the public. The five elected commissioners would then choose one of the commissioners to serve as mayor.
Being elected as a town commissioner, he made director of the Department of Parks and Public Property. He served in this position for 12 years. During his tenure as director, he was instrumental in various recreational programming initiatives in the township which included starting youth athletic leagues for football, baseball and basketball. He was also involved in planning and implementation of several various youth activity organizations, park beautification efforts, as well as various projects to upgrade and build affordable housing.
In 1954, due to some political shifting in the makeup of the Irvington Township Commission, McKenna was elected major of Irvington. He served as mayor for four years, when in 1958 he was defeated by William Lovell. McKenna was the second to last mayor, behind Lovell, to serve in the position under the commission form of government, which was disbanded by the township in 1962. In 1964, McKenna again made a bid for public office when he ran as a Democratic candidate for the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
After 1964, there is very little known about McKenna’s life. It is known that while holding political office he did continue to operate Mrs. Mac’s Kruller Baking Company. He was the father of four children, two sons (John and Edward III) and two daughters (Maureen and Joan).
As of 1957, he was he grandfather to thirteen grandchildren. However, no more progeny information is known from that time on. According to the Social Security Index, and a mass card located in Box 1, folder 4 of this collection, McKenna passed away in August 1977. However, it should be noted that this has not been fully confirmed through an obituary.
This collection contains the professional papers and photographs of Edward J McKenna. Correspondance, flyers, invitations, memberships lists, newspaper clippings, gala programs and by marriage record stubs from ceremonies he performed as mayor of Irvington represent the papers in the collection. Most of the photographs in this collection represent various public appearances and events McKenna attended as a political figure.
This collection is organized into two series:
The following represent items that were removed from the collection and transferred to the museum (Museum ID# 2006.37.1-3)
1. Forty (approximate count) small election pins from McKenna mayoral campaign.
2. Three small campaign banners.
For other collections containing the papers of former NJ mayors see:
Manuscript Group 189, Isaac Williamson (1767-1844), Governor of New Jersey Legal Notebook, The New Jersey Historical Society
Manuscript Group 283, Ewing Family (Trenton, NJ) Papers, The New Jersey Historical Society
Manuscript Group 287, James Parker (1725-1797) and John Parker (1729-1762) Papers, The New Jersey Historical Society
Manuscript Group 546, James Parker Journal, The New Jersey Historical Society
Manuscript Group 1645, Edgar P. Deuell Papers, The New Jersey Historical Society
For other collections regarding Irvington see:
Manuscript Group 81, Guide to the Camp Family Record Books, The New Jersey Historical Society
This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 1678, Edward J. McKenna Jr. Collection, The New Jersey Historical Society.
Donated by Robert J Bishop Jr., 2006.
The photographs and papers in this collection were removed from several large ledger books. The photographs were rehoused into individual mylar sleeves for preservation. The photographs have been processed and retained in the order in which they appear in ledgers. Surrogates were created for newspaper clippings that were in poor condition.
Siegal, Alan A (1974).Out of Our Past: A History of Irvington NJ. American Graphics Inc. Irvington, NJ. Pp. 356-361, 375
“McKenna Seen as New Mayor.”
“Meet the Mayor: He Has a Sweet Job.” Newark Sunday News. July 21, 1957. (Box 1, Folder 10)
“The Tuesday Election – Choices.”Irvington Herald. Oct, 1964. (Box 1, Folder 10)