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Kessler (Friedolin Edward) Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Biographical History
  • Publications Rights
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Contents
  • Related Materials
  • Related Materials

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: SJSU Special Collections & Archives
    Title: Friedolin Edward Kessler Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS-2018-01-12
    Physical Description: 3 boxes (2.42 linear ft.)
    Date (inclusive): 1927-1996
    Abstract: The materials in this collection relate to the life and art career of Friedolin Edward Kessler. The materials consist of personal papers, photographic reproductions of his art, and a few original art pieces.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    Friedolin Edward Kessler Papers, MSS-2018-01-12, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Lauren DeCelle and David Fournier.

    Biographical History

    The artist, Friedolin Kessler (1913-1995), was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 12, 1913, and was the only son of Czech and German parents. At age sixteen, he enrolled in art school at Washington University in St. Louis. After he graduated, he joined the Missouri Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Then in 1936, he was relocated to California with his camp, where they settled in the New Almaden Quicksilver County Park. As the resident artist, the CCC hired him to document life in the work camp. His specialty was linoleum cuts, though he also created paintings, wood art, and mosaics. In 1938, he took a bicycle trip to photograph and then sketch every California Mission, later producing linoleum cuts of each mission. Those prints were exhibited around California, including at the Golden Gate International Exposition at Treasure Island and the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.
    Kessler spent most of his life in San Jose and became a well-known local artist. In 1938 with his wife Carol, he co-founded the San Jose Art League and taught art at San Jose State College, Stanford, and in the San Jose Adult Education System. The combined artwork of the Kesslers spans 70 years. The Kesslers were avid hikers and back-packed up Mt. Whitney with friends Allen and Cindy Perry. In the Kesslers' later years, the Perrys helped care for Carol and Friedolin as they continued to produce artwork. Friedolin died of cancer in 1995 at the age of 82. They had no children.

    Publications Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the SJSU Special Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.


    This collection is arranged in two Series: I. Art and II. Personal Papers.

    Scope and Contents

    Materials in this collection are related to the life and art career of Friedolin Edward Kessler. Series I. Art consists mainly of photographic reproductions of Kessler's work through the decades. Also present are some original linoleum block prints, sketches, and some paintings. His early work mainly consisted of linoleum prints and paintings, while his later work was primarily in wood artwork and mosaics. Series II. Personal Papers consist of correspondence, awards, photographs, newsprints, San Jose Art League papers, and various work-related financial papers. Additionally, materials in this series include his sporadic architectural work, photos of his numerous hiking trips, and life work recollections.

    Related Materials

    Friedolin Edward Kessler Art Collection, MSS 2012-09-28

    Related Materials

    Civilian Conservation Corps Collection, MSS 2010-07-29

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Art, American -- California -- 20th century
    Missions, Spanish -- California -- Photographs
    San Jose Art League
    San José State University. Library. Special Collections & Archives