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Emily Kimbrough papers

Identifier: MSS-061

Scope and Contents

This collection focuses on the literary works of Emily Kimbrough and includes typescripts of her novels along with copies of her numerous articles. Also included are honorary degrees awarded to her by Indiana University and Ball State University in 1973.

The collection also contains twenty-five drawings from the novels Now and Then (1972) and Time Enough (1974), It also contains oversize family photos, a photo of Kimbrough Hardware Co., and Sterling Cash grocery. Finally, R 26, contains dictabelts about some of Kimbrough’s travels. An accompanying Dictaphone machine and headphones are also part of the collection.


  • 1876-1991

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Archives and Special Collections.

Biographical Note

Emily Kimbrough was born in Muncie on October 32, 1898. In 1910 she moved with her parents to Chicago. The move was later described in her book Innocents in Indiana (1950). After attending girls’ schools in Chicago, Kimbrough went on to Bryn Mawr College, where she received her B.A. in 1921. Following Bryn Mawr, she continued her studies with graduate work at the Sorbonne. During this same period, Kimbrough and her friend, Cornelia Otis Skinner, traveled extensively throughout Europe. These travels formed the basis of her first book, Our Hearts Were Young and Gay (1943), which she co-authored with Skinner.

Praised by one reviewer as "the indefatigable pride of Muncie, Indiana," Kimbrough authored fourteen books, including We Followed Our Hearts to Hollywood (1943); How Dear to My Heart (1944); Through Charley's Door (1952); Forty Plus and Fancy Free (1954); Forever Old, Forever New (1964); and Now and Then (1972). Much of her work was autobiographical and largely based on her travel experiences and observation of the foibles of actual people and events. In addition to writing books, Kimbrough was also a contributor to The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, and other magazines. She was also a noted lecturer, a fashion editor for Ladies Home Journal, and a commentator for CBS radio. She died in 1989.


3.5 Cubic Feet (6 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Emily Kimbrough papers, 1876-1973

Series 2: Emily Kimbrough collected writings, 1923-1964

Series 3: Emily Kimbrough magazine publications, 1930-1959

Series 4: Emily Kimbrough negatives, undated

Series 5: Emily Kimbrough oversize materials, 1972, 1974

Series 6: Emily Kimbrough photographs, undated

Series 7: Emily Kimbrough recordings, 1975-1991

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation by Esther Ball in 1984. Additional materials were donated by Esther Ball 1991/02/28.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 1994/02/18 by M. Sears. Collection processing completed 2007/07/18 by M. Read. Collection processing completed 2007/09 by R. Miller. EAD finding aid created 2012/10/04 by Julie Hausknecht. EAD finding aid modified 2013/10/28 by Rebecca Marangelli.

Emily Kimbrough papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Stoeckel Archives of Local History Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA