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MC 508

Kennedy, Boomer, 1956- . Papers of Boomer Kennedy, 1973-1999: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from Mary and Michael Gellert.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 508
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Boomer Kennedy
Title: Papers of Boomer Kennedy, 1973-1999
Date(s): 1973-1999
Quantity: 4.8 linear feet (7+1/2 file boxes, 1 oversize box) plus 1 folio folder, 4 folio+ folders, 5 photograph folders)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Papers of auto mechanic and garage owner Boomer Kennedy.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 2000-M166, 2001-M2
The papers of Boomer Kennedy were given to the Schlesinger Library by Boomer Kennedy in October 2000 and January 2001.

Processing Information:

Processed: December 2004
By: Johanna Carll


Access. Unrestricted, except that folders #1.1-2.6 are closed until January 1, 2048; and #3.8, 5.1-5.4, and F+D.4 are closed until January 1, 2068.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers of Boomer Kennedy is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Boomer Kennedy Papers, 1973-1999; item description, dates. MC 508, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Boomer Kennedy was born Patricia Kennedy on December 1, 1956, in New Jersey and was raised in Connecticut and New Hampshire. Her mother christened her Boomer because she was the largest baby in the nursery at the hospital. Eventually she legally changed her name to Boomer. As a young adult, Kennedy struggled with substance abuse, eating disorders, and with family relationships. In the late 1970s she founded a watchband business that was successful for a time, but by the early 1980s she began training as an auto mechanic in New Hampshire and at ITT Technical School in Chelsea, Massachusetts, where she was one of three women in the 1983 graduating class of 500. In 1984, she opened Chicago Auto which she ran in Allston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, until the late 1990s when she moved to New Mexico. Kennedy was a volunteer in the buddy system program of the Boston AIDS Action Committee.


The collection is arranged in three series:


The collection contains date books, journals, correspondence, clippings, financial records, etc., relating to Boomer Kennedy's personal and professional life. Papers arrived at the Library in folders which were organized in no discernible order. The archivist arranged folders in three series, retaining the original titles; information in brackets was added by the processor.
Series I, Personal, 1973-1999 (#1.1-3.13), contains date books, journals, correspondence, clippings, etc. The date books and journals detail Kennedy's often tumultuous romantic relationships with other women and her troubled relationships with her family. There are also occasional references to her eating disorder, substance abuse, work as an AIDS buddy, and her feelings about Chicago Auto. Also included in this series is a small amount of correspondence and some of Kennedy's unpublished, often unfinished, fiction. Most of the materials, especially those relating to Kennedy's public speaking engagements and the clippings, focus on her role as a female auto mechanic.
Series II, Chicago Auto, 1984-1999 (#4.1-8.16, 9OD.1-9OD.5, FD.1, F+D.1-F+D.4), contains correspondence, clippings, personnel records, financial records, etc., relating to the running and promotion of Kennedy's garage. Chicago Auto opened in 1984 in Allston, Massachusetts. When the owners of the building decided to redevelop the property, Chicago Auto was forced to move, eventually settling at 24 Prospect Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Folders are arranged in two subseries.
Subseries A, General, 1984-1999 (#4.1-6.2), contains correspondence, newspaper advertisements, personnel records, etc., documenting the employees of Chicago Auto, management seminars/plans used by Kennedy, and the promotion of the business. In addition to newspaper advertisements, Chicago Auto attracted customers by offering car maintenance seminars to women which aimed to educate them about the upkeep of their cars and also to give them a basic understanding of repairs that might be needed. Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Subseries B, Financial, 1984-1999 (#6.3-8.16, 9OD.1-9OD.5, FD.1, F+D.1-F+D.4), contains ledgers, credit card statements, cash disbursement journals, etc., which document the income and expenditures of Chicago Auto. Materials are arranged alphabetically.
Series III, Photographs, 1982-1990, n.d. (PD.1-PD.5), contains photographs of Boomer Kennedy at work and in casual settings, such as a gay pride parade. There are also photographs of the Chicago Auto garage and employees.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

AIDS (Disease)--Patients
Body image in women
Cambridge (Mass.)--Social life and customs--20th century
Child abuse
Financial records
Women automobile mechanics--Massachusetts--Cambridge
Women-owned business enterprises--Massachusetts--Cambridge
Chicago Auto (Firm)