Born in the South Bronx of immigrant Polish and Irish parents, Kenneth Redden worked his way through high school, the College of the City of New York and the University of Virginia Law School. After law school, he became a law clerk for former Law School Dean and U.S. Circuit Judge Armistead M. Dobie. Redden practiced in New York City with Winthrop, Stimpson, Putnam & Roberts for 2 years before joining the UVA Law School faculty in 1943. During his long tenure, Redden published 45 books and contributed numerous articles to professional American and foreign legal and medical journals including his ten-volume Modern Legal Systems Cyclopedia, which describes the legal systems of 176 countries as well as topics such as Islamic law and law of the sea. Redden’s work has been used as casebooks in leading universities and cited as authority by state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. His subjects at the law school included Equitable Remedies, Creditors Rights, Bankruptcy, and Persons.
Redden was a government consultant at the state and federal levels, and a reporter to the Supreme Court of Virginia Committee on Model Jury Instructions. His lectures were sponsored by the Federal Judicial Center and he acted as a legal advisor to governments throughout the world, receiving honors such as the Indo-Chinese Gold Medal for Meritorious Service, acting as co-director of the Vietnamese Legal Research Institute, and being appointed the first American professor of law at the University of Ankara in Turkey. He was one of six Americans to start the first law school in Ethiopia from 1964 to 1967. He served as a member of the National Defense Executive Reserve, an organization designed to maintain federal government operations in case of a major national emergency. Redden served 45 years on the University of Virginia Law School faculty. He retired on July 1, 1988. Redden once stated that he turned down offers from other law schools because his first love “always was and always will be Virginia.” He was honored in legal circles throughout the world. Redden died in 1998.