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Guide to the Chester Kessler Papers, 1951-1952
MS 167  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Separated Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Chester Kessler Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1951-1952
    Collection number: MS 167
    Creator: Kessler, Chester
    Extent: 1 document box, 2 flats
    Repository: University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library. Special Collections and Archives
    Santa Cruz, California 95064
    Abstract: This collection contains a storyboard, worksheets, frame drawings, a film and photographs for an animated film The Plague Summer adapted from Kenneth Patchen's novel The Journal of Albion Moonlight, as well as photographs of Kenneth and Miriam Patchen by Chester Kessler.
    Physical location: Stored in Special Collections & Archives: Advance notice is required for access to the papers.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    Chester Kessler Papers. MS 167. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Robert Emory Johnson, July 1983.


    A photographer and film maker, Chester Monroe Kessler, was born in New Melle, Missouri on May 6, 1919. He moved to Southern California, first pursuing studies in photography at the Art Center School and later in film making and animation at the University of Southern California. In San Francisco he continued developing his photographic technique under Minor White at the California School of Fine Art. During his life he completed four films and captured portraits of celebrated artists, such as Kenneth Patchen, Jonathan William, Bob Kaufman, David Stacton, and Kenneth Anger.

    Completed films:

    • The Plague Summer. 1951; an animated film based on Kenneth Patchen's novel 'The Journal of Albion Moonlight'.
    • Columbarium. 1973; a sequence of images filmed in one of the San Francisco architectural landmarks utilizing Warner Jepson's electronic music as a soundtrack .
    • Rondo. 1976; a portrayal of the Huntington Square cut to the music of Lou Harrison's Suite for violin, piano and small orchestra.
    • Go. 1976; footage of dancing hippies taken in two rock concert held in five year interval at the Speedway Meadows in 1969 and Marx Meadows in 1974.
    On his 60th birthday, May 16th 1979, Chester Kessler passed away.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection contains a storyboard, various cue chart guides and worksheets, over 190 frame drawings, a film, and still photographs for The Plague Summer, an animated film adapted from Kenneth Patchen's novel The Journal of Albion Moonlight, that tells the story of a band of characters journeying across landscape assaulted by horrors of war. Archive also includes photographic portraits of Kenneth and Miriam Patchen taken by Chester Kessler in 1952.


    The Plague Summer material has been organized into five series: Biographical, Scripts, Frame Drawings, Photographs and Film.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Kessler, Chester--Archives
    Animated films

    Other Index Terms Related to this Collection

    Patchen, Kenneth, 1911-1972. Kenneth Patchen archive

    Separated Material

    The Plague Summer; a film by Chester Kessler, 1951 - Special Collections, Fi731, DVD 2899