Solon Toothaker Kimball Papers
Scope and Content of the Collection
Correspondence, interviews, research notes, source materials, speeches, writings and photographs from the files of Solon Toothaker Kimball, 1909-1982.
Papers mainly consist of Kimball's anthropological research in rural County Clare, Ireland, during the early 1930's with colleague, Conrad Arensberg, and materials from Kimball's return visit to Ireland in 1968 in preparation for a second edition of Family and Community in Ireland. Materials from Kimball's work and research with the Soil Conservation Service at the Navajo Reservation from 1936-1942 are also included. Also personal and professional files containing correspondence with friends and colleagues, and photographs mainly of the Navajo and Zuni regions in Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado, and of Ireland.
- Creation: 1902-1981
- Kimball, Solon Toothaker (Person)
Materials are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
The Solon Toothaker Kimball Papers are open for research; they are available one box at a time in the Special Collections Reading Room (Priority III).
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Solon Toothaker Kimball Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Literary rights, including copyright, may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns.
Biography of Solon Toothaker Kimball
Anthropologist, educator and author who studied the socio-economic situations of various communities including rural County Clare, Ireland, and the Navajo Indians in Arizona and New Mexico. Born in Manhattan, Kansas on August 12, 1909, to Charles Augustus Kimball and Matie (Toothaker) Kimball. Kimball attended Kansas State University from 1926-1930 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. Kimball majored in journalism and minored in geology, which led to his interest in anthropology. He received a M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in social anthropology from Harvard in 1933 and 1936.
During the summers of 1931 and 1932, Kimball's academic training was supplemented with field experience in archeology and social anthropology in Colorado. In 1933 he did field work in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Also in 1933, Kimball received the Sheldon Traveling Fellowship from Harvard. This provided the opportunity to conduct social anthropological research in Ireland under the direction of W. Lloyd Warner, Kimball's professor and mentor at Harvard. Kimball, together with Conrad M. Arensberg, pioneered anthropological community studies in rural County Clare during 1933 and 1934. They gathered, analyzed, and interpreted data regarding Irish social organization. In 1940 this work was published in the groundbreaking classic, Family and Community in Ireland.
Kimball returned to Harvard in May 1934 as a research assistant in anthropology while continuing to pursue his Ph.D. During this time he analyzed and synthesized the Irish material and taught a course on method in sociological research. Kimball used a portion of the Irish research for his thesis, "The Tradesman and His Family in the Economic Structure of an Irish Country Town." His partner, Arensberg, also used it his thesis, "A Study of Rural Life in Ireland as Determined by the Functions and Morphology of the Family."
In August 1936, Kimball joined the Sociological Survey (later called the Section of Conservation Economics) for the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service. He was the Assistant Soil Conservator in Region 8 of the Navajo District located in Window Rock, Arizona until April 1937. He was then transferred to the Albuquerque office and soon after to the Rio Grande District from July to December 1937. For much of the period, 1936-1942, Kimball headed the Socio-economic Surveys Unit at the Navajo Reservation. In the summer of 1940, Kimball was a visiting professor of anthropology and sociology at Oklahoma University.
During World War II, 1942-1945, Kimball worked in the Community Analysis Section for the War Relocation Authority. (These Kimball papers are located at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.)
From 1945-1948, Kimball was associate professor of sociology and anthropology at Michigan State University and researched the rural communities in Michigan. Kimball spent the summer of 1947 as visiting professor of sociology at the University of Chicago. He then went on to be chairman of the department and professor of sociology and anthropology at the University of Alabama from 1948-1953.
During the summer of 1949, the Bureau of Indian Affairs offered Kimball the opportunity to return to the Navajo District as a consultant of special studies concerning the economic plight of the Navajo and the deteriorated administrative situation. His analysis led to a plan of action for use by the BIA Superintendent to strengthen Navajo-government relationships.
From 1953-1966, Kimball was professor of anthropology and education at the Columbia University Teachers' College. (Kimball's educational research papers are located there.) During the summer of 1954, Kimball was visiting professor at the University of Puerto Rico and during the summer of 1957, he was visiting professor of anthropology at the University of California. From 1958-1959, he was a UNESCO specialist for the Brazilian Center of Educational Research.
In 1966, Kimball joined the University of Florida - Gainesville staff as graduate research professor of anthropology. There in 1978 he was instrumental in the establishment of the Zora Neal Hurston Fellowship Award Fund, which honors outstanding Black American graduates in the field. At the time of his death in 1982, Kimball had reached emeritus status.
Throughout his life, Solon Toothaker Kimball received numerous awards and recognitions for his anthropological and educational research studies and authored numerous works regarding these studies.
Kimball married Hannah Price on December 24, 1935. They had two children, Sally Makielski and John Price.
12 Linear Feet (29 boxes)
Research notes, writings, correspondence and photographs of anthropologist and educator Solon Toothaker Kimball, primarily relating to his work in Ireland (1930's) and among the Navajo (1936-1942). Also includes numerous source materials, particularly extensive newspaper clippings.
Materials are organized into five series
- Series 1: Kimball Arensberg Irish Files, 1918-1939, bulk 1932-1934
- Boxes 1-20
- Series 2: Later Irish-related Materials, 1929-1981, bulk 1966-1968
- Boxes 21-23
- Series 3: Navajo Files, 1924-1968, bulk 1936-1949
- Boxes 24-27
- Series 4: Personal and Professional Files, 1902-1977, bulk 1935-1952
- Box 28
- Series 5: Photographs, 1931-1968
- Box 29
3a 55 3
Gift of Mrs. Hannah Price Kimball, 1983.
Separated Materials note
The following materials have been separated from the collection for individual cataloging:
Joan Sweeney, 2002
- Shevky, Eshref, 1893-1969 (Person)
- United States. Office of Indian Affairs (Organization)
- United States. Soil Conservation Service (Organization)
- Warner, W. Lloyd (William Lloyd), 1898-1970 (Person)
- Arensberg, Conrad M. (Conrad Maynadier), 1910-1997 (Person)
- Bird, John (Person)
- Collier, John, 1884-1968 (Person)
- Provinse, John Henry, 1897-1965 (Person)
Genre / Form
- Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.) -- Ireland -- Clare -- 1901-1950
- Interviews -- Ireland -- Clare -- 1901-1950
- Photographs -- Ireland -- Clare -- 1901-1950
- Photographs -- Southwest, New
- Anthropology -- Research -- Ireland -- Clare
- Anthropology -- Research -- Southwest, New
- Community life -- Ireland -- Clare
- Indian reservations -- Southwest, New -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
- Indians of North America -- Southwest, New -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
- Irish -- Interviews
- Manuscripts, American
- Navajo Indians -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
- Navajo Indians -- Photographs
- Soil conservation -- Southwest, New
- Inventory of the Solon Toothaker Kimball papers, 1902-1981
- Joan Sweeney
- Language of description
- Script of description