Author/publisher Kendall F. Svengalis was born at 1157 Jackson Street in Gary’s Central District on May 16, 1947 to Frank Anthony and Alvida Linnea (Matheus) Svengalis. Of Lithuanian and Swedish descent, he attended Froebel, Aetna and Emerson Schools, graduating from
Emerson High School in 1965.
He received his B.A. in English literature (1970) and M.A. in American history (1973) from Purdue University. His M.A. thesis at Purdue was entitled “Progressive Education in Indiana: William A. Wirt and the Gary Schools, 1906-1920.” In 1975, he received an M.L.S. from the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. He has done additional work in American history at Brown University. In 1976, he joined the staff of the Rhode Island State Law Library as Assistant Law Librarian. In 1982, he was appointed State Law Librarian. During his twenty-year tenure, he ushered in an unprecedented era of growth and expansion in state law library collections and services. The innovative techniques he pioneered in bringing law library costs under control have served as a model for law libraries across the country. Ken is currently President of
New England LawPress/ Duneland Press and Adjunct Professor of Library and Information Studies at the University of Rhode Island.
A past president of the Law Librarians of New England and the New England Law Library Consortium, he has also served on the Board of Directors of the State, Court and County Law Libraries Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). From 1988 to 1994, he was editor of The CRIV Sheet, the Newsletter of AALL’s Committee on Relations with Information Vendors, where he was able to bring his innovative ideas regarding cost-effective law library acquisitions to a national audience. In 1993, these efforts were recognized by the State, Court and County Special Interest Section of AALL which selected him as the first recipient of the Connie Bolden Significant Publications Award.
In 1996, the first edition of his Legal Information Buyer’s Guide & Reference Manual was published by
New England LawPress,
the company he founded in 1995. In 1998, the Legal Information Buyer’s Guide and Reference Manual received the Joseph L. Andrews Bibliographical Award, the highest honor bestowed by the American Association of Law Libraries on works of legal bibliography. In 1999, he received the Connie E. Bolden Significant Publications Award from the State, Court, and County Law Libraries Special Interest Section of AALL for publishing three successive editions of the Legal Information Buyer’s Guide and for aiding “law librarians nationwide in their pursuit of a cost effective and efficient avenue to collection development.” Since that time, the Legal Information Buyer’s Guide & Reference Manual has become a standard reference work and acquisitions tool in law libraries and law firms across the country.
Ken has maintained a lifelong interest in the city of his birth and the Calumet Region. In addition to his research on the Gary schools, he has written a full-length history of the Lithuanian side of his family which came to Gary on October 4, 1908, and upon which chapter 20 of this book is based. He has assembled a large collection of Gary memorabilia, including photographs, postcards, and maps. Since 1975, he has conducted oral histories of family members, which provide a basis for portions of this centennial history.
He and his wife Ellen reside in the rolling hills of Connecticut and spend their leisure time as a vocal and instrumental duo performing Swedish folk music at Swedish and Scandinavian folk festivals in the Northeast. In 2005, they were featured soloists on a 17-day American Union of Swedish Singers’ chorus tour of Sweden. Ken is also President of the Rhode Island Swedish Heritage Association, and Vice-President of the Jussi Björling Society-USA, which honors the career and legacy of the 20th century’s greatest operatic tenor. Ken has two children: Hillary, a graphic designer who resides in New Haven, Connecticut, and Andrew, a student at Colorado State University.