Fred Charters Kelly (1882-1959) was an American humorist, newspaperman, columnist and author. From 1910 to 1918 he wrote the first syndicated Washington news column. He was the official biographer of the Wright brothers and was active in the efforts to bring the Kitty Hawk to the Smithsonian Institution from the British Museum in London. He also wrote books on George Ade, Kin Hubbard, and various other subjects, and was the author of numerous magazine articles.
Kelly was born in 1882 in Xenia, Ohio and graduated from public school there before attending the University of Michigan from 1900 to 1902. He began his newspaper career at the age of 14 as a local correspondent for a small town newspaper, and then authored a humorous column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer for five years. During his early years in Washington, while writing his column "Statesmen, Real and Near," he began contributing special articles to leading magazines. For 18 months during World War I, he served as special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. After the war, Mr. Kelly bought and operated a farm in Peninsula, Ohio, continued free-lance writing, and began his career as an author. His works include Human Nature in Business (1920), How to Lose Your Money Prudently (1933), The Wright Brothers (1943), and George Ade - Warm Hearted Satirist (1947).
Kelly was a member of the National Press Club, Overseas Writers Club, and the Players Club. He had a son, Fred C. Kelly Jr., with his first wife; with his second wife, Marcelle van den Heuvel, whom he married in 1938, he had two children, Brian and Jeanne.
From the guide to the Fred C. Kelly Papers, 1867-1966, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)