Subseries I. Memoirs

1919, 1924-1955, n.d.

Scope and Content Note

Although no such work was ever published, Kimball intended to write some type of memoir. Based on the only dated manuscript in this subseries, he began writing no later than 1933. More than a decade later, he was still jotting down ideas for such a work as made evident by the pages of possible titles and draft introductions. It also appears that Kimball considered at least three approaches in recording his life experiences, and the material in this subseries is arranged to reflect that. The first sub-subseries, "Reminiscences" consists of autobiographical material that appears to be the only version Kimball intended to include his early years of scholarly writings and architectural projects. The second subseries, "Memorabilia" reflects the title Kimball assigned to several folders consisting primarily of correspondence divided by decades and representative of his multitude of professional activities. The third sub-subseries, the "Golden Age of American Collecting," takes its name from Kimball's last dated working title for a book apparently intended to focus on art in relation to his experiences as director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It contains the bulk of material, including most of his manuscripts and related research material. Although Kimball is critical of others in some of these drafts, he apparently intended nothing less than an all-out attack in yet another book idea that comprises and gives its name to the fourth sub-subseries, "Phonies in the Art Racket." Consisting of the sketchiest of outlines and one draft "chapter," this sub-subseries reveals Kimball's intention to take certain individuals to task. The final sub-subseries consists of some of the research material compiled by George and Mary Roberts, authors of Kimball's 1959 biography "Triumph on Fairmount: Fiske Kimball and the Philadelphia Museum of Art." The Roberts made extensive use of Kimball's draft memoirs, leaving behind not only the material comprising this sub-subseries but notes Mary apparently attached to sections of Kimball's manuscripts as well as notations written directly on the documents. In trying to determine the order of Kimball's papers, she also numbered pages originally unnumbered and added the initials "MHHR."

In addition to Kimball's draft writings and the Roberts material that could not be separated from those files, much of the documentation in this subseries is research material, consisting primarily of correspondence and clippings. Notes, ephemera and transcripts of other published articles and reports by Kimball are also included.


Chronological by estimated date of creation.