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Brooks Mather Kelley

KELLEY, BROOKS MATHER Brooks Mather Kelley, 83, a resident of Guilford for thirty-two years, died at Yale-New Haven Hospital on February 14, 2013. The cause was multi-system failure. He was born on August 18, 1929, in Lake Forest, Illinois, the son of Phelps and Mary Cotton Kelley. He attended Deerfield Academy and, afterward, served a year in the Army. He entered Yale College and graduated with a B.A. in 1953. While at Yale, he was a member of the secret society Book and Snake. Following a year with Price Waterhouse in Chicago, he enrolled at the University of Chicago, where he received his M.A. in 1956 and his Ph.D. in 1961. He was a Lecturer in History at Illinois Institute of Technology 1956-57. He was an Instructor at Yale 1961-64, Assistant Professor, 1964-67, Curator of Historical Manuscripts and University Archivist, 1964-66. He was, variously, Lecturer, Research Associate, and Research Affiliate at Yale from 1967 to 2007. He was the author of "Yale, A History," published by the Yale University Press in 1974 and reissued in paperback in 1998. Also in 1974 the New Haven Preservation Trust published his brief study, "New Haven Heritage: An Area of Historic Houses on Hillhouse Avenue and Trumbull Street." He was co-author with Daniel J. Boorstin of the much-lauded high school textbook, "A History of the United States," published first (1980) by Ginn and Company and subsequently by Pearson-Prentice Hall. It went through many editions, most recently in 2007 as part of a new series called Prentice Hall Classics. He was also editor, with Boorstin, of "Perspectives; Readings on American History in the 20th Century" (1992). He served as historical consultant to the television series "Freedom to Speak," based on the ideas and course of Yale history professor Rollin G. Osterweis, hosted by William F. Buckley, Jr., and produced by WQED/Pittsburgh in 1983. He was also a consultant in Modern European History for "The Random House Dictionary of the English Language," 2nd edition, unabridged, 1987. In 1956, he married Jean Russell. That marriage ended in divorce. He is survived by his sister, Cynthia K. McGrath, his wife of 32 years, Suzanne Gray, and by his sons John Hutchinson (Bonny) and Todd Russell, and by his stepchildren, John and Elizabeth Burbank, and five grandchildren. He was predeceased by his brother, Phelps Cotton, and his son Brooks Russell Kelley. He served on the boards and as an officer of a number of nonprofit organizations: The New Haven Colony Historical Society (now Museum), The New Haven Preservation Trust, ISIS, The Foote School, and Connecticut Fund for the Environment. He loved to travel and with Suzanne visited all the continents and a large number of countries. Among his favorite journeys was traveling from Vladivostok to Moscow by private train just after the collapse of the Soviet Union and voyaging, also by train, from Beijing to Moscow following the route of the old Silk Road much of the way. Two of their trips took them around the world. He also loved to sail and skied into his 80's, active as he liked to say in nine different decades. There will be a memorial reception for Brooks held at the Graduate Club at 155 Elm Street in New Haven on March 9 at 2 pm. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Connecticut Fund for the Environment, 142 Temple Street, 3rd floor, New Haven, CT 06510 or to The Kelley Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, 70 Audubon Street, New Haven, CT 06510.

Published in The New Haven Register on Feb. 27, 2013
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