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Collection #50

Robert J. Kadel Diaries

Date:1955 - 1987
Size:3 inches


This collection, comprising of annual datebooks of Robert J. Kadel from 1955 to 1987, was donated by a friend of Mr. Kadel, who met Mr. Kadel on the Villa Borghese in Rome in 1959 when the former was in medical school in Rome. The pair had a brief romantic affair and thereafter were best friends and close confidants through the remainder of Mr. Kadel’s life.

Scope and Content

One folder containing two photographs, a long letter, curriculum vitae and photocopied clippings and photographs; 23 datebooks consecutive from 1955 to 1987 (first entry January 1, 1955; last entry September 16, 1987). The donor confirmed that many coded entries refer to sexual assignations (e.g., “8 Reuben xx” on April 12, 1974). He also confirmed that datebook markings indicate the level of satisfaction that each assignation brought to Mr. Kadel and the number of meetings he had had to a given date with a given partner. Other entries cite current news events and whether his view of the same was positive or negative (e.g., “Toronto Baths raided –” on February 8, 1981). There are frequent notes on items eaten (e.g., “roast pork” on January 26, 1981) and on his private activities (“Lingleback meeting @

History or Bio

Robert J. Kadel was born December 14, 1927. He attended the Lawrenceville Preparatory School in Lawrenceville, N.J. (1941-1945), obtained a bachelor of science degree in biology and chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1950) and a bachelor of law degree from New York University in 1957. He graduated first in his class at Officers Candidate School and served in the Air Force from 1950 to 1955. From 1958 to 1979, he practiced law with the firm of Pennie and Edmonds at 330 Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y. He recalled suffering vision problems as a child and compensating by excelling in physical fitness pursuits (weight-lifting and running). He later realized that he had a photographic memory which allowed him to cram on the night before tests or trials and leave much other time free for travel. He modelled for the John Robert Powers agency during law school and was featured in Mennen’s Skin Bracer advertisements internationally in 1957. He traveled frequently to Italy, Puerto Rico and elsewhere. He became a full partner in Pennie and Edmonds in 1966, and represented numerous large corporations, doing litigation and interference type legal work. He resigned from the firm in March, 1979 to take a “mid-life sabbatical”. Datebook entries in 1987 indicate he suffered frequent fever and many illnesses and a concern regarding HIV infection. Final entry is dated September 16, 1987. Date of death is not indicated. The donor indicated in an interview on June 20, 1996, that Mr. Kadel died of AIDS. He recalled Mr. Kadel as being an “amazing man” — very good-looking, having an intuitive quality that allowed him to get close to others with great ease. He retired early and lived simply, taking enjoyment in small things, hence notes of satisfaction regarding things eaten, etc. He took great pleasure in his ability to calm people down. He further remembered Mr. Kodel as being very active sexually, sometimes having assignations by appointment at half-hour intervals, yet without alienating any of his partners over the years.