Skip to main content

Kenneth McCaleb Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Coll-216

The Kenneth K. McCaleb Papers are composed primarily of manuscripts. Also, newspaper clippings, publications, magazines, and photographs. One of the photographs is of former Japanese World War II military leader Tojo, after his attempted suicide as he is lying his chair. Another photograph is of the former Japanese military leaders signing the surrender documents. Most of the photographs are personal. The documents were collected between 1942 to 1971.


  • none

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

This material is made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to taking precautions against infringement of copyright and respecting the publication rights of reproduced materials. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards. Any materials used should be fully credited with their source according to the example given in the Preferred Citation note. Requests for assistance with citations and images of publication quality should be directed to


5 Linear Feet


Kenneth K. McCaleb was a newspaperman, writer, and World War II War Correspondent for the International News Service (INS). His papers include manuscripts, correspondence, newspaper clippings, publications, photographs. Also included are World War II artifacts and documents of Colonel James Williams Allison III.

Biographical / Historical

Kenneth McCaleb was born February 24, 1901, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He lived and worked in New York City with his wife, Dorothy Crowley McCaleb, who was a cooking editor for the New York Mirror, a now defunct morning tabloid newspaper. They had two daughters.

Before McCaleb was a war correspondent, he was a newspaperman for over 25 years. He was a Sunday editor for the Philadelphia Record, and Sunday editor and news editor for the New York Mirror.

Kenneth K. McCaleb was a World War ll War Correspondent, holding credentials with the United States Navy from 1942 - 1945. He was also credited in the Army news. McCaleb was the Pacific Bureau Chief for the International News Service (INS), now called United Press International. INS provided news to the newspapers, and radio stations all over the world. McCaleb was at the scene of the bombing mission of Tinian and was outside of Hedeki Tojo’s home when he attempted suicide. He was also stationed on Guam as city editor for the Pacific area. Many of the reporters were scattered over many miles of the Pacific Ocean away from their home base.

McCaleb went on three missions in the Pacific on a B-29. One mission was an air-sea rescue mission, and another, toward the end of the war, was what McCaleb described as the “longest bombing mission in history, up to that time,” with the 53rd Bomb Wing of the 20th Air Force from the island of Tinian, in the Philippine Sea. “It was the first raid to be staged from Iwo.” The target was Aomori, a region in Japan, where a night raid of the town lasted for nearly two hours on July 28, 1945. During that time, McCaleb heard Saipan radio telling the Japanese that the United States was coming to bomb 11 of their cities, with Aomori being at the top of the list.

McCaleb, stated in an interview (undated) that he compared the bombing in Aomori to Babe Ruth’s home run in the World Series. “Babe Ruth pointed out for the grandstand the exact spot on the fence over which he was going to hit his next home run - and then hit it… “He said the United States Armed Forces told the Japanese “Where we were going to hit out next home run - Aomori - and then we hit it.” The purpose for the United States letting the Japanese know what cities were going to be hit, was based on Psychological Warfare.

McCaleb was at the scene where Tojo tried to kill himself with a gun. Tojo (1884 to 1948) was a Japanese military leader, and former prime minister (1941 to 1944) who set in motion the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. After the war, Tojo was tried and hanged as a war criminal.

McCaleb traveled to Okinawa before the Japanese “folded up”. He was on patrol with the Fourth Marines, an infantry battalion. He was aboard the U.S.S. Missouri and took pictures of the officials of the Japanese government signing the surrender document on, September 2, 1945. McCaleb was with a news crew who traveled to Japan to talk to the Japanese military leader, Hedeki Tojo. McCaleb was outside of Tojo’s home when Tojo attempted suicide. According to an interview McCaleb gave concerning Tojo’s attempted suicide, he said:

“I guess we were the people who gave Tojo the word that he was going to be pinched. As soon as we arrived, we went to the gate of Tojo’s front yard. There was a flock of (Japanese) policemen there, all armed, but we convinced them through our interpreter that we had legitimate business inside and they let us through. We got as far as the front door, which was opened by a woman we later learned to be a sister of the man we’d come to see. Again we explained our mission through our interpreter and, as we were doing so, Tojo came to the window of the front room overlooking one end of the porch, at our left. He spotted Burn’s with his camera and said in Japanese: “No photographs! No Photographs!” …Through our interpreter, we told Tojo about General McArthur’s order for his arrest… Tojo disappeared from the window and the door was very firmly closed.

It wasn’t until three hours later — after four o’clock in the afternoon ‘’ that the Counter-Intelligence boys arrived. We were right behind them when Major Krause went to the door and knocked. Behind us were a dozen or so other correspondents and photographers who had arrived bye that time. …Tojo appeared in the same window from which he’d talked to us. He asked Krause if he was to be arrested. Krause replied that his orders were to take Tojo to headquarters. That was all. Tojo motioned for Krause to enter. Then he closed the window and disappeared. A moment later we heard a shot… The front door was unlocked. Krause threw it open and we all followed him into a hallway or anteroom. Off this to our left was the door to the front room. This was locked. Krause kicked it in. And there was Tojo, unconscious and apparently dying. He’d shot himself just below the heart and the blood was pulsing from the wound and spreading over the white silk shirt he wore and the chair he was sitting in…After about fifteen minutes of this, I noticed that Tojo had begun to mutter. I motioned to some of the (Japanese) interpreters… Tojo said he too full responsibility for the war, that he thought it was a just war and would be good for Japan. Now he had come to the conclusion it was a bad war for Japan…”

After the war, McCaleb returned to New York to work at The Star-Ledger newspaper, based in Newark, New Jersey. He was asked to give talks about his time as a war correspondent. He spoke at the Newark Athletic Club, on the topic, “They Got the Word,” about the campaign in the Pacific and his “on the spot” coverage of the attempted suicide of former Japanese Prime Minister, Hedeki Tojo.

After he retired as a newspaperman, he and his wife moved to Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico to live and write stories. He wrote “Every Exciting Sunday”, copyright 1959. Later, he moved to a small fishing cottage in Aransas Pass to work at the Corpus Christi Caller Times as a columnist. McCaleb wrote the column, “Conversation Piece.” His collection includes many manuscripts, mostly unpublished.

Kenneth McCaleb died at the age of 76, on the night of December 15, 1977, in Aransas Pass. Bill Walraven, journalist at the Corpus Christi Caller Times, reported on his friend’s death, and their friendship.


The collection is organized into Kenneth K McCaleb’s manuscripts, photographs, newspaper clippings, and publications. Also, Colonel James Allison III documents and artifacts, including two military helmets.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Janet (Allison) Hallows on July 7, 2011.

Related Materials

Collection 22: Bill and Marjorie Walraven Papers

Processing Information

Collection was processed by volunteer Nadine Vasquez Hefner. She partially organized the documents, created the ArchivesSpace records, and finding aid in June 2023. Processing was assisted and finalized by Eric Christensen, Librarian of Archive Processing.

Guide to Kenneth McCaleb Papers
Nadine Hefner
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Repository

6300 Ocean Dr.
Unit 5702
Corpus Christi TX 78412 United States
361-825-5973 (Fax)