Kessell, John L(ottridge) 1936-

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KESSELL, John L(ottridge) 1936-

PERSONAL: Born April 2, 1936, in East Orange, NJ; son of John S. (a physician) and Dorothy L. (a physician; maiden name, Lottridge) Kessell; married Marianne R., July 1, 1961; children: Kristen Anne. Education: Fresno State College (now California State University, Fresno), B.A., 1958; University of California, Berkeley, M.A., 1961; University of New Mexico, Ph.D. (history), 1969.

ADDRESSES: Home—823 Girard NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106.

CAREER: National Park Service, Washington, DC, historian at Saratoga National Historical Park, 1961-62, and Tumacacori National Monument, 1963-66; University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, visiting assistant professor of history, 1969-70; freelance historian and writer, 1970-80; University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, research associate to professor of history, beginning 1980.

MEMBER: Western Writers of America, Western History Association, Historical Society of New Mexico, Arizona Historical Society.

AWARDS, HONORS: Annual award from New Mexico Historical Review, 1966, for "The Puzzling Presidio: San Phelipe de Guevavi, alias Terrante"; Herbert E. Bolton Award, Western Historical Quarterly, 1973, for "Friars versus Bureaucrats: The Spanish Mission As a Threatened Institution on the Arizona-Sonora Frontier"; Spur Award, Western Writers of America, 1976, for Friars, Soldiers, and Reformers; award of honor, New Mexico Cultural Properties Review Committee, 1979, for Kiva, Cross, and Crown; Guggenheim fellowship, 1980-81.

WRITINGS:

(With Fay Jackson Smith and Francis J. Fox) Father Kino in Arizona, Arizona Historical Foundation (Tempe, AZ), 1966.

Missions of Sorrows: Jesuit Guevavi and the Pimas, 1961-1767, University of Arizona Press (Tucson, AZ), 1970.

Friars, Soldiers, and Reformers: Hispanic Arizona and the Sonora Mission Frontier, 1767-1856, University of Arizona Press (Tucson, AZ), 1976.

Kiva, Cross, and Crown: The Pecos Indians and New Mexico, 1540-1840, National Park Service (Washington, DC), 1979.

The Missions of New Mexico since 1776, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1980.

(With Sandra d'Emilio and Suzan Campbell) Spirit and Vision: Images of Ranchos de Taos Church (essays), Museum of New Mexico Press (Sante Fe, NM), 1987.

(Editor) Remote beyond Compare: Letters of Don Diego de Vargas to His Family from Spain to New Mexico, 1675-1706, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1989.

(Editor and author of introduction, with Rick Hendricks) The Spanish Missions of New Mexico, Garland (New York, NY), 1991.

(Editor, with Rick Hendricks) By Force of Arms: The Journals of Don Diego de Vargas, New Mexico, 1691-1693, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1992.

(With Rick Hendricks and Meredith D. Dodge) Letters from the New World: Selected Correspondence of Don Diego de Vargas to His Family, 1675-1706, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1992.

(Editor, with Rick Hendricks and Meredith D. Dodge) To the Royal Crown Restored: The Journals of Don Diego de Vargas, New Mexico, 1692-94, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1995.

(Editor, with Hendricks and Meredith D. Dodge) Blood on the Boulders: The Journals of Don Diego de Vargas, New Mexico, 1694-97, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1998.

(Editor, with others) That Disturbances Cease: The Journals of Don Diego de Vargas, New Mexico, 1697-1700, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 2000.

(Editor, with others) A Settling of Accounts: The Journals of Don Diego de Vargas, New Mexico, 1700-86, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 2002.

Spain in the Southwest: A Narrative History of Colonial New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and California, University of Oklahoma Press (Norman, OK), 2002.

Contributor to Reader's Encyclopedia of the American West. Assistant editor of New Mexico Historical Review, 1970-72; editor of Vargas Project for the University of New Mexico, beginning 1980. Contributor to periodicals, including Western Historical Quarterly.

SIDELIGHTS: John L. Kessell is a career historian and professor whose writings explore the people and events of the early Southwest. One of his many roles at the University of New Mexico has been as the director of the Vargas Project, an effort to chronicle the life of pioneer Don Diego de Vargas. Kessell's work on this project and his access to journals has resulted in numerous books about Vargas. In the American Indian Quarterly, Peter L. Steere praised By Force of Arms for offering "excellent illustrations, maps, footnotes, a glossary, a bibliography, and an index," adding that the "Vargas project staff should be complimented for this . . . volume which provides an extraordinarily detailed picture of Don Diego de Vargas' official life."

Other books focus on how groups of people influenced the early years in regional history. Friars, Soldiers, and Reformers: Hispanic Arizona and the Sonora Mission Frontier, 1767-1856, for example, considers the role played by missionaries and other religious-minded pioneers in Arizona. Reviewing the books for the Journal of San Diego History Web site, Cynthia Radding Murrieta called the book "a masterpiece of the historian's craft" and a "major contribution to the historiography of Northwest Mexico and the U. S. Southwest," adding that it is "both a beautiful story and a model of historical research." Specifically, she concluded that "the book's greatest strength is the author's masterful use of voluminous Franciscan and civil documentation available in both Mexican and U. S. archives." In Spain and the Southwest, he integrates numerous accounts and narratives of the Spanish presence in the settlement and growth of the Southwest. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commended Kessell for his handling of more than 350 years of history, adding, "In an era of multiculturalism . . . this synthesis of the founding history of a large part of the nation not usually considered a seedbed of American culture is surely welcome."

Kessell once told CA: "After ten years as a freelance historical researcher, or contract historian, I do not recommend it as a career. It has been precarious. I have achieved neither fame nor financial security. I have done local history, which I feel deserves one's best shot. Never presuming that it might free the locals from repeating their errors, I do reckon that it may at times enlighten and reassure them, even make them laugh. It has been good fun. And there is something to be said for getting out on one's cross-country skis right when the snow falls, especially in the Southwest."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, June, 1989, p. 838.

American Indian Quarterly, summer, 1993, Peter L. Steere, review of By Force of Arms: The Journals of Don Diego de Vargas, New Mexico, 1691-1693, p. 414.

American West, January, 1980, p. 50.

Catholic Historical Review, January, 1980, p. 99; January, 1983, p. 109.

Choice, December, 1980, p. 518.

Church History, September, 1980, p. 339; December, 1982, p. 496.

Hispanic American Historical Review, February, 1980, p. 115; August, 1981, p. 512.

History, April, 1980, p. 122.

Mid-America, January, 1980, p. 47.

Museum News, January, 1980, p. 71.

Pacific Historical Review, May, 1982, p. 211.

Publishers Weekly, April 1, 2002, review of Spain in the Southwest: A Narrative History of Colonial New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and California, p. 63.

Reference and Research Book News, April, 1988, p. 5; June, 1993, p. 14.

San Diego History, spring, 1977.

Southwest Review, winter, 1981, p. R6.

Western Historical Quarterly, May, 1993, p. 237.

ONLINE

Journal of San Diego History,http://www.sandiegohistory.org/ (July 14, 2003), Cynthia Radding Murrieta, review of Friars, Soldiers, and Reformers: Hispanic Arizona and the Sonora Mission Frontier, 1767-1856.*

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Kessell, John L(ottridge) 1936-

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