Kent, Allen
Interview Date
May 12, 1993
Allen Kent, a pioneer in the field of Information Science, founded University of Pittsburgh's Department of Information Science, School of Library and Information Science; born, 1921.
[T1S1] Respondent relates family's origins in Europe. Father's immigration to, and occupation in, New York are noted. Father's business difficulties during depression are reported. Siblings and their professions are named. Intermarriage in family and parents' deaths are noted. Respondent attendance of CUNY is reported. Respondent's activities as youth in Bronx are reported; Respondent's brief Bar Mitzvah preparations are indicated. Current synagogue affiliation is reported. Respondent's success and activities in public school are discussed. Ethnic composition of public schools Respondent attended is specified. Respondent's friends during adolescence and later occupations are related.
[T1S2] Respondent's friends as youth are enumerated; extent of involvement in youth group is related. Treatment father received for mental illness is mentioned. Schoolmates who became famous named; activities as youth in Bronx are recounted. Experience with racism in 1950s is recounted. Cost and availability of health care as youth is indicated. Accommodations are reported; recreation is extensively enumerated. Respondent outlines adolescent business venture.
[T2S3] Respondent explains changing name in 1946 from Kaslofsky. Respondent's relates losing job as busboy as adolescent and explains means of support during college. Tuition and admission standards of CCNY are reported. Wife's maiden name is reported. Respondent explains choice of major and recounts social life at CCNY. Respondent mentions lack of degree beyond B.S. Respondent enumerates jobs with War Department. Education of wife is reported. Respondent recounts repercussions of illness during WWII. Respondent's special assignments during WWII are indicated.
[T2S4] Conditions on journey to and from Europe in WWII are related. Children's names, ages and occupations are specified. Unsuccessful business venture following WWII is discussed. Respondent's initial work with, and offer of employment by, James Perry are indicated. Respondent's work for CIA at M.I.T. is reported. Respondent outlines job offers from Patel Memorial and Case Western Reserve. Housing discrimination in Massachusetts is mentioned. Respondent recounts confrontation with G.E. in 1958 over a development project. Respondent's plans to organize a documentation center in 1950s are recounted. Respondent's association with Hubert Humphrey is mentioned. Circumstances of visiting U.S.S.R. in 1958 are related.
[T3S5] Restrictions upon Respondent's travel in U.S.S.R. are reported. Purpose and itinerary of Respondent's visit is outlined. Organization of first international conference is noted. Respondent reports military career of Russian liaison. Respondent indicates difficulty of rewrites for <i>Harper's Magazine</i>. Chancellor Litchfield of University of Pittsburgh is characterized and job offer to Respondent is recounted. Factors in Pitt's development in the 1950s and Litchfield's subsequent dismissal are specified. Extent of Respondent's familiarity with Hubert Humphrey is reported. Respondent expresses satisfaction with postwar career decisions. Wife's influence on Respondent's religious practice is reported.
[T3S6] Respondent relates futile attempt to contact Russian scientist. Distress of KGB agent during suspected defection is mentioned. Sources of grants Respondent has received are extensively enumerated. Respondent illustrates ease in obtaining grants in 1960s. Friendliness of Pittsburgh is commented upon. Respondent notes ethnicity of friends and expresses influence of Perry. Respondent's involvement with specialized encyclopedias is mentioned; sites for vacations are reported. Respondent notes social and religious memberships. Respondent's political views since the 1960s are reported.
[T4S7] Respondent enumerates cultural pursuits. Children's occupations and families are discussed. Respondent's choice of residence in Pittsburgh is reported. Oakland locations of Respondent's department are chronicled. Circumstances and benefits of the administrative integration of information science and library science at University of Pittsburgh are detailed. Origins and financial support of information science doctoral students are discussed. Respondent's views on administrative position are expressed. Sources of various inter-departmental frictions at University of Pittsburgh are noted.
[T4S8] Respondent's reaction to potential use of blacklists in requisitions during a grant-funded project is recounted. Saudi Arabian "black list" is explained; aftermath of investigation of University of Pittsburgh is related. Membership, programs and fees of Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckard College are extensively detailed. Respondent expresses contentment with career and life. Respondent reports views on contributions. Wife's Russian studies and work with Russian immigrants are reported.
Education; Humphrey, Hubert H. (Hubert Horatio), 1911-1978; Russia; Science; Information science; University of Pittsburgh; University of Pittsburgh. University Libraries. Information Sciences Library; World War, 1939-1945
Birth Date
New York, NY
Occupation (father)
Length (hours)
Harrison, Mary
Dinman, Gabrielle
Collateral Materials
Box 103 FF 1
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh