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Rabbi Jimmy Kessler Collection

Identifier: MS 887
Finding aid note: Forms part of the Houston Jewish History Archive. Stored off-site at the Library Service Center and requires 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, media, and memorabilia document some activities and interests of Rabbi Jimmy Kessler from 1943 to 2006.


  • 1943 - 2006


Conditions Governing Access

Collection open for research without restriction. Stored off-site at the Library Service Center and requires 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from the Rabbi Jimmy Kessler Papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library. The Woodson Research Center use policy is that researchers assume sole responsibility for any infringement of privacy, literary rights, copyrights, or other rights arising from their use of the archival materials. In addition to any restrictions placed by donors, certain kinds of archival materials are restricted for the life of the creator plus 50 years. These materials include, but are not limited to, student grades, transcripts, and any job applications or recommendations.

Biographical / Historical

Rabbi Kessler was born in Houston, Texas, December 10, 1945. After attending local schools including being valedictorian and president of his graduating class at San Jacinto Senior High School, he earned his BA from the University of Texas in Austin, where he was a member of Tau Delta Phi fraternity. He earned the first doctorate in Texas Jewish history, at the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, where he was also ordained as a rabbi.

Rabbi Kessler first served as director of the Texas Hillel, which serves the students attending the University of Texas. While there, Kessler taught very popular courses in the Religious Studies programs at UT and served on several committees at the request of the University president. He was a counselor at a summer retreat for Jewish youth - Echo Hill Ranch. Based on his long interest in Texas Jewish history, Kessler founded the Texas Jewish Historical Society in 1980. In July 2009, Kessler became the first rabbi in the 171-year history of Texas freemasonry to be named the presiding officer of a Masonic lodge, when Harmony Lodge of Galveston installed him as its new leader. Harmony Lodge was established in 1839.

Exerpted from:


1 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



This collection is made up of one box containing a booklet, correspondence, media, and memorabilia from Rabbi Jimmy Kessler from 1943-2006.


The materials in this collection have been arranged in four series as follows:

Series I: General; Series II: Media; Series III: Memorabilia

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Rabbi Jimmy Kessler donated these materials in July 2019

Related Materials

Although not accessioned with this donation, Rabbi Kessler previously donated a signed copy of his book: Henry Cohen - The Life of a Frontier Rabbi. The book is cataloged (BM755.C6 K47 1997) and is available at the Woodson Research Center.
Guide to the Rabbi Jimmy Kessler Collection, 1943-2006
Unprocessed Addenda
Katie Webber
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA