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Kessel, Abbas, 1918-1987 and Miner-Kessel, Ruth, 1920-2017. Collection, 1939-2008.

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SMHC Collection 0250

Scope and Contents

The Abbas Kessel and Ruth Miner-Kessel Collection is separated into three series and multiple sub-series. The series are entitled: Dr. Abbas Kessel, Dr. Abbas Kessel and Dr. Ruth Miner-Kessel, and Dr. Ruth Miner-Kessel.


  • 1939 - 2008


Conditions Governing Use

The Abbas Kessel and Ruth Miner-Kessel Collection have a few restrictions on personal items that belonged to Dr. Kessel and his wife.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Abbas Kessel was a political science professor at Mankato State University for nineteen years (1966-1985). One monumental moment for Kessel during his tenure at MSU was during the early 1970s after the Kent State shootings when an antiwar protest occurred in downtown Mankato at the site of the Blue Earth County draft board. During the rally, which was becoming ever more hostile, with some intending to burn draft records, Kessel stood and began to speak in order to calm the protestors down, a moment photographed. After these events, the professor continued to engage with students, discussing anti-war sentiments but urging a peaceful approach. His passion for ethics and social welfare was strong and is exemplified in his work. After Kessel retired in 1985, Mankato State University established a lecture series the same year and the Kessel Peace Institute which has been named after him.

In 1984, Dr. Kessel married his long-time friend of thirty years, Dr. Ruth Miner-Kessel. Dr. Miner-Kessel was a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin -Whitewater and taught there from 1958 until 1985. She was an active political advocate with a particular commitment to social justice. In the late 1970s she participated in the Democratic National Midterm Conference as a delegate, and later, she served on the Whitewater city council for six consecutive years. After Dr. Abbas Kessel’s passing, Dr. Ruth Miner-Kessel was heavily involved in his remembrance efforts. She advocated and supported the creation of the Kessel Peace Institute and Kessel Lecture Series.

Biographical note compiled from the collection and these sources: Kessel Peace Institute at Minnesota State University, Mankato Kessel Lectures, Political Science Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato Obituary, Dr. Ruth Miner-Kessel. Nitardy Funeral Homes, 2017. Lass, William E. Minnesota State University, Mankato 1868-2018: A Sesquicentennial History. Mankato: Minnesota State University, Mankato, 2018.


6.0 Cubic Feet (3 Archives Boxes, 3 Hollinger Boxes, 1 Oversized Box) : Papers, Photographs, Video (VHS). Audio (Cassette), Artifacts (coins)

Language of Materials


Iranian languages


The Abbas Kessel and Ruth Miner-Kessel Collection consists of three series, that of Dr. Abbas Kessel, his wife Dr. Ruth Miner-Kessel, and their combined personal and professional materials. The Abbas Kessel part of the collection is made up of documents dating back to his school days in England. The majority of the collection comes from his time as a professor at Mankato State University (1966-1985). There are notes from texts and classes, personal and professional letters, photographs and a diary. The Ruth Miner-Kessel portion of the collection is similar to her husband’s. There are personal entries chronicling Abbas Kessel’s decline in health, academic resources from her time teaching at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, photos, and letters that document her activism and political engagement. The shared portion of the collection includes their creative works including poetry, art, music, and documentation of Kessel’s death and legacy.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Kessel Peace Institute donated this collection in February 2013. Additional materials were added to the collection in 2018 from the estate of Ruth-Miner Kessel.

Kessel, Abbas, 1918-1987 and Miner-Kessel, Ruth, 1920-2017. Collection, 1939-2008.
Josh Smith processed this collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021-10: Kayla Brinkman reprocessed this collection
  • 2021-11: Kayla Brinkman made an addition to this collection

Repository Details

Part of the Southern Minnesota Historical Center Repository

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Memorial Library
PO Box 8419
Mankato MN 56002-8419 US