BOLTON, KENYON C. (29 Mar. 1912-14 July 1983), philanthropist, military officer, and diplomat, served as Special Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to France (1949-52) and as Honorary French Consul (1975-80), among other positions. He was awarded military honors by four countries, including the U.S. Bronze Star and the French Legion of Honor (1961), and the French Colonial Medal (1945). Bolton was born in Cleveland to FRANCES PAYNE BOLTON and CHESTER CASTLE BOLTON. He was educated at HAWKEN SCHOOL, Milton Academy in Massachusetts, St. Stephens at Columbia University, and the Consular Acadamie in Vienna, Austria. During WORLD WAR II, he served the U.S. Army as Liaison Officer in France and with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Germany. Beginning in 1946, he was appointed to various overseas positions in the U.S. Department of State and served as secretary to the U.S. delegation at five post-war conferences. In the 1950s Bolton presided over Cleveland Air Taxi, a helicopter shuttle service.

Among his myriad community activities, Bolton helped create and chaired the NATIONALITIES SERVICE CENTER, was president of the CLEVELAND COUNCIL ON WORLD AFFAIRS (1953-63), and actively supported the CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE for over 30 years serving 8 years as president of the board of trustees, on the board's advisory committee and chair of the Play House Foundation. He served on the boards of over 50 other organizations, both national, such as the National Endowment for the Arts, and local, such as the MUSICAL ARTS ASSOCIATION and JOHN CARROLL UNIVERSITY. He represented the third generation to serve as a trustee of Kenyon College. At least 2 theaters are named for Kenyon Bolton, at the Cleveland Play House and at Kenyon College.

On 22 June 1940, Bolton married Mary Idelle Peters of Lancaster, Ohio; they had five children, Thomas C., Kenyon C., III, John B., and Phillip P. Bolton and Mary B. Hooper. Bolton died of cancer in his Shaker Heights home.

Bolton, Kenyon C. papers, WRHS.

Finding aid for the Kenyon C. Bolton Papers. WRHS.

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