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William X. Kienzle Papers

Identifier: GTM-100112

Scope and Contents Note

The William X. Kienzle Papers comprise part of the personal papers of William X. Kienzle (1928-2001), a longtime Catholic priest in Detroit, Michigan, who wrote a series of mystery novels after leaving the priesthood. Correspondence includes letters from friends and associates to William X. Kienzle and his wife Javan Kienzle. Also, many condolence letters upon the death of William X. Kienzle are included among these papers. There are a few manuscripts written by William. Some folders contain materials about authors Ramon Betanzos and Wolf W. Zuelzer. Printed materials collected by Kienzle are present together with a few oversized objects. The William X. Kienzle Papers are preserved in 15 archival boxes ( 10.25 linear feet).


  • 1942 - 2007
  • Majority of material found within 1980 - 2002

Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical Sketch

William X. Kienzle (1928 - 2001) was a Catholic priest in Detroit, Michigan who published a series of mystery novels after leaving the priesthood.

William X. Kienzle was born on September 11, 1928 in Detroit, Michigan. He attended Sacred Heart Seminary College and St. John's Seminary. He was ordained in 1954. Fr. Kienzle served as a Catholic priest for 20 years. From 1962 to 1974, he edited the "Michigan Catholic." He was also pastor of St. Anselm Catholic Church in Detroit.

Kienzle wrote his first mystery novel, "The Rosary Murders," in 1979. That particular book was made into a movie in 1987 starring Donald Sutherland. Kienzle went on to publish a number of mysteries, which were set in Detroit and featured a priest detective Fr. Robert Koesler.

William's wife, Javan Kienzle, wrote a biography of her husband entitled, "Judged by Love: A Biography of William X. Kienzle.

William X. Kienzle died in December 2001.

(Source: Obituary for William X. Kienzle in the "Detroit Free Press," December 31, 2001. Obituary in "Los Angeles Times," January 2, 2002.)


10.25 Linear Feet (15 boxes)

Language of Materials


William X. Kienzle Papers
Scott S. Taylor. Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington, D.C.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057