William Hayden Kuehn from Philadelphia

William Hayden Kuehn was born on November 26, 1904, in Philadelphia, Pa. His father Charles Henry Kuehn was a son of German immigrants, and his mother Catherine Hayden’s parents came from Ireland. Father Charles was in the printing and publishing business. In 1910 and 1920, the Kuehns were living in the So 54th St. in Philadelphia. On January 1, 1911, Hayden’s baby sister Dorothy was born.

I love it when I find a photo to compare to on the internet. Like this yearbook photo from 1927 from the University of Pennsylvania. Unmistaken this is our William Hayden!

1927 Yearbook of University of Pennsylvania

Yearbooks are a great source of genealogical information! We learn that Hayden graduated from West Philadelphia High School. During his studies at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he participated in the University’s literary and debate club (the Zelosophic Society), was a member of the Catholic Newman Club, and of the Musical Club, he played the violin in the University’s orchestra (a photo of him and the orchestra in the 1926 yearbook), and he did some journalistic work for the University’s publications Punch Bowl (University of Pennsylvania’s oldest and funniest satirical publication) and Spoon.

After graduation by 1930 Hayden was a solicitor in bonds by profession. He was living with his parents and sister at 1414 54th Street in Philadelphia, in the maroon (nowadays shabby-looking) house in the middle.

Source: GoogleMaps

In May 1931, tragedy struck Hayden’s family – his baby sister Dorothy died at just 20 years of age.

By 1940, Hayden had started working for Dun & Bradstreet Corporation, a credit reporting company founded in 1841, that nowadays “offers a wide range of products and services for risk and financial analysis, operations and supply, and sales and marketing professionals, as well as research and insights on global business issues. It serves customers in government and industries such as communications, technology, strategic financial services, and retail, telecommunications, and manufacturing markets” (Wikipedia). Hayden was the director of education at Dun & Bradstreet for more than 20 years before he retired in 1964.

When WWII broke out, Hayden was registered for the draft to the US Army in October 1940. Since I’m not too familiar with the drafting process, I wondered if he had volunteered as the US had not officially entered WWII yet. I suppose his name came up in the draft lottery, as I found this good explanation on the webpage of the National World II Museum in Orleans:

On September 16, 1940, the United States instituted the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, which required all men between the ages of 21 and 45 to register for the draft. This was the first peacetime draft in United States’ history. Those who were selected from the draft lottery were required to serve at least one year in the armed forces. Once the U.S. entered WWII, draft terms extended through the duration of the fighting. By the end of the war in 1945, 50 million men between eighteen and forty-five had registered for the draft and 10 million had been inducted in the military.

I don’t know if Hayden served in the armed forces. But I do know that his draft card tells us he was 5″ 8′ tall, had blonde hair and blue eyes.

By 1950, Hayden had moved to New York. But for his retirement, Hayden left the Philadelphia and New York finance circles and settled down in a house with a lakeview at Wolf Lake, Wurtsboro, New York. And good things are worth the wait – some time in his golden years he met and married Jean Proctor (1908-1988).

Hayden passed away in July 1983 and was buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Pennsylvania. This same photo was already added to FindAGrave in January 2022, probably before this photo went on sale.

His obituary was published in The Philadelphia Inquirer of July 28, 1983. Rest in Peace, Hayden Kuehn!

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