Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MC 962: DVD-96

Papers of Marti Kheel, 1948-2012 (inclusive), 1966-2011 (bulk)


Writings and correspondence by ecofeminist and scholar Marti Kheel.


  • 1948-2012
  • Majority of material found within 1966-2011

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Marti Kheel is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library; the Marti Kheel Trust and Estate retain the right, title and interest to Marti Kheel's book Nature Ethics and to articles published during Kheel's lifetime. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


4.59 linear feet ((11 file boxes) plus 3 folio folders, 6 photograph folders, 1 folio photograph folder, 3 DVDs, 1 archived web site)

The papers of Marti Kheel document her scholarly writings on animal rights and ecofeminism and her participation in feminist, environmental, and animal rights causes. Materials include unpublished and published writings, including college papers, articles, and manuscripts; transcripts from college and graduate schools; newspaper articles about Kheel; correspondence with fellow academics, feminists, and environmental advocates; programs and announcements from conferences where Kheel spoke; photographs; and audiovisual materials related to Kheel's memorial service in 2012.

Prior to donating the collection to the Schlesinger Library, Jane Kheel Stanley sorted, arranged, and labeled many of Kheel's files. Stanley's notes related to the files can be found throughout the collection. For the most part, the categories of files in these series reflect the filing systems of either Stanley or Kheel. The archivist did additional arrangement and consolidation of folders. In general, folder titles created by Stanley or Kheel have been maintained; titles in brackets were created by the archivist.

Stanley digitized many of the materials in the collection and her digital surrogates are linked to the finding aid. There are times that the digitized files do not exactly match the physical documents. For instance, a postcard image may not have been scanned or a page of text may have been missed. When that is the case, the archivist noted what was not digitized. E.#s refer to digitized materials where the library does not hold the physical original.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1960-2011 (#1.1-2.15, E.1-E.11, FD.1-FD.2), includes versions of Kheel's curriculum vitae; diplomas and certificates; and college and graduate school records, including transcripts, correspondence with her doctoral advisors at the Graduate Theological Union, instructor reports and evaluations, and examinations. Student papers can be found in series II. In addition this series contains a tribute book compiled by Kheel for her mother Ann's 80th birthday (1995), as well as excerpts related to Kheel which were taken from the family newsletter (1963-2003). These notes include updates on Kheel's personal life, schooling, activism work, etc., and were written regularly by her mother. Also included is a memorial album of digitized photographs and anecdotes and biographical information compiled by Kheel's sister Jane Kheel Stanley after Kheel's death in 2011. Marti Kheel's web site was captured as part of Schlesinger Library's web archiving program (E.11). Series is arranged alphabetically by type and chronologically within each grouping.

Series II, WRITINGS, 1974-2010 (#2.16-5.14, E.12-E.19), includes published and unpublished articles, essays, and books, drafts of works, Kheel's student papers and her master's thesis and doctoral dissertation, and other writings. Also included are some correspondence with publishers, and flyers, advertisements, and reviews of Kheel's works. There are drafts of Kheel's article "License to Kill: An Ecofeminist Critique of Hunters' Discourse" which was eventually published as a chapter in Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations (1995), as well as a publishing agreement, editor comments, reviews, and other correspondence related to Kheel's book Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective (2007). Series is arranged chronologically; earlier versions of articles and other manuscripts are often grouped together with their published versions.

Series III, ACTIVISM AND PROFESSIONAL, 1970-2011 (#5.15-11.16, E.20-E.25, FD.3), includes articles written about Kheel; conference and event programs and announcements; correspondence with other activists and scholars; and typescripts and notes of Kheel's presentations. Conference and events files, which also include symposia, panels and lectures, meetings, festivals, slide presentations, etc., relate to animal rights, environmental, and/or feminist gatherings where Kheel participated and presented. The files include correspondence, flyers, brochures, announcements, speaker biographies, schedules, and programs. Kheel's presentations (#10.1-11.16) include talks which occurred at many of these conferences and events. Newspaper articles are generally about her activism and writing. Included as well are articles profiling Kheel and her ownership of wild ocelots during the 1970s and 1980s. These files include notes from her sister Jane Kheel Stanley about how Kheel's views on keeping wild animals in captivity had changed since the profiles were published. Kheel later came to believe that it was wrong to keep wild animals in captivity.

Chronological correspondence includes with fellow activists and academics regarding participating in conferences, speaking engagements, writing, and publishing. Also included in chronological correspondence are letters to the editor; requests for transcripts; promoting and building Feminists for Animal Rights; and outreach to other organizations. Alphabetical correspondence files include regarding attending ecofeminist and animal rights conferences, completing and submitting papers and articles, and general dialogue about ecofeminism, animal rights, and related topics. Correspondents include fellow scholars, writers, ecofeminists, and activists, including writer, feminist, and animal rights advocate Carol J. Adams; American physicist and deep ecologist Fritjof Capra; Italian philosopher Paola Cavalieri; environmentalist and scholar George Sessions; ecofeminists and animal rights activists Greta Jo Gaard, Lori Gruen, Patsy Hallen, Roberta Kalechofsky, and Batya Bauman, a co-founder with Kheel and Tina Frisco of Feminists for Animal Rights. Correspondence related to Kheel's work with the Life Forms working group of the Green Party (1989-1990) includes information related to the working group's efforts to shape the Green Party Platform, specifically through Strategy & Policy Approaches in Key Areas (SPAKA). Topics in the Green Party correspondence include criticism of the working group's efforts from other Green Party members, such as Lorna Salzman, as well as Kheel's responses to the criticism; anti-vivisection information; and the Life Forms Working group report. Series is arranged alphabetically by type and chronologically within each grouping.

Series IV, PHOTOGRAPHS AND AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS, 1948-2012 (#PD.1-PD.7, DVD-96.1-DVD-96.3) include photographs of Kheel with family members and images of Feminists for Animal Rights rallies. Many of these images are included in Jane Stanley Kheel's memorial album of digitized photographs (#FD.1), which also includes additional descriptive information. This series also contains DVDs of Kheel's memorial service and Ethos of Care, a documentary by Antonio Ferrera about Kheel. Also included is a DVD of Kheel participating in a co-presentation at a Yale School of Medicine class on alternative and complementary medicine with Dr. Barry Boyd, a few days prior to Kheel's death. Series is arranged by format.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Ecofeminist pioneer, animal advocate, and scholar Marti Kheel was born August 25, 1948, in New York City to Ann Sunstein Kheel, a leader in civil rights and other civic causes, and Theodore Kheel, a labor mediator and lawyer. Marti Kheel had five siblings: Ellen Jacobs, Constance E. Kheel, Jane K. Stanley, Katherine E. Kheel, and Robert J. Kheel. After graduating from high school in 1966, Kheel studied for a year at the American University in Paris, and then transferred for a year to Bennington College in Vermont. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BA in history (1974), McGill University with an MA in sociology (1980), Antioch University with an MA in women's studies (1986), and the Graduate Theological Union with a PhD in religious studies (2000).

Kheel's engagement in activist causes began early in her life. Her first job in 1969 was at a Frito-Lay factory in Wisconsin where she was involved with labor issues and workers rights. In 1976, while a student and teaching assistant at McGill University, she took part in an eight day strike of teaching assistants in order to improve wages and working conditions. While in Canada, Kheel first became active on behalf of animals, beginning with helping to find homes for stray cats. Kheel moved to Oakland, California in November 1980 and became involved with a number of groups which advocated for animal rights. In 1982 she co-founded the feminist and animal advocacy organization Feminists for Animal Rights (FAR). FAR grew into an international educational non-profit which raised public awareness surrounding the issues connecting treatment of animals and women.

From the 1980s onward, Kheel published extensively, attended conferences and spoke on issues related to environmental and feminist ethics and animal rights. Among Kheel's writings are "The Liberation of Nature: A Circular Affair" (1985), an article which presented an early feminist critique of environmental ethics; "From Healing Herbs to Deadly Drugs: Western Medicine's War Against the Natural World," published as a chapter in Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminism, Judith Plant, editor (1989); and Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective, which grew out of her doctoral dissertation (2007). In addition to her writing and advocacy work, Kheel was a contributing editor of Between the Species: A Journal of Ethics (1984-1996). She was adjunct faculty for a course on Women and Nature at Antioch University (1985) and an advisory faculty member at the San Francisco Bay Institute/Congress of Cultures (1987-1992). She was also a visiting scholar at Mills College (2000-2001), the Graduate Theological Union (2006-2009) and in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley (2010-2011).

Kheel died on November 19, 2011, in Greenwich, Connecticut from acute myeloid leukemia.


The collection is arranged in four series:

  1. Series I. Biographical and Personal, 1960-2011 (#1.1-2.15, E.1-E.11, FD.1-FD.2)
  2. Series II. Writings, 1974-2010 (#2.16-5.14, E.12-E.19)
  3. Series III. Activism and Professional, 1970-2011 (#5.15-11.16, E.20-E.25, FD.3)
  4. Series IV. Photographs and Audiovisual Materials, 1948-2012 (#PD.1-PD.7, DVD-96.1-DVD-96.3)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2013-M101, 2017-M208, 2018-M182, 2018-M227

The papers of Marti Kheel were given to the Schlesinger Library between 2013 and 2018 by Marti Kheel's sister, Jane Kheel Stanley, as trustee of the Marti Kheel Trust and executrix of her Estate, with permission of Marti Kheel's four other siblings.


Donor: Jane Kheel Stanley

Accession numbers: 2013-M101, 2017-M208, 2018-M182, 2018-M227

Processed by: Laura Peimer

The following periodicals have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library books and printed materials collection:

  1. Matrix: Women's Free Monthly Newsmagazine (March 1983)
  2. Feminists For Animal Rights newsletters (volume 1, #1 - volume 12, #4) [missing volume 8]

Processing Information

Processed: January 2019

By: Laura Peimer, with assistance from Ashley Thomas.

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Kheel, Marti. Papers of Marti Kheel, 1948-2012 (inclusive), 1966-2011 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by Radcliffe Class of 1956 and the Mary Mitchell Wood Manuscript Processing Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA