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Solon Toothaker Kimball Papers

Identifier: Ayer-Modern-MS-Kimball

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



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:

  • Beatty, Willard W., ed. Indians Yesterday and Today, Education Division, U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, 1941.
  • Certain Aspects of Land Problems and Government Land Policies, Part VII of the Supplementary Report of the Land Planning Committee to the National Resources Board, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1935.
  • Deutsch, Karl W. "Mechanism, Teleology and Mind," Reprinted from Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. XII, No. 2, December, 1951, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Humanities, Cambridge.
  • Embree, Edwin E. Living Together, The Institute for Psychoanalysis, Chicago, May, 1941.
  • Frank, Lawrence K. "World Order and Cultural Diversity," Reprinted from Free World, Vol. III, No. 1 (June 1942): 1-4.
  • The Future of the Great Plains, Report of the Great Plains Committee, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1936.
  • General Statement of Conditions in the Navajo Area, Department of the Interior, U.S. Indian Service, Navajo Agency, Window Rock, Arizona, 1941.
  • Group Action in Soil Conservation Upper Mississippi Valley Region III, USDA Soil Conservation Service, Milwaukee, WI, March, 1947.
  • Hill, W.W. "The Navajo Salt Gathering," and Kirk Bryan and Arthur Butler. "Artifacts Made of the Glassy Andesite of San Antonio Mountain, Rio Arriba County, N.M.," The University of New Mexico Bulletin, University of New Mexico Press, No. 349, 1940.
  • Honigshein, Paul. "The Philosophical Background of European Anthropology," Reprinted from American Anthropologist, Vol. 44, No. 3, July-September, 1942.
  • Indians at Work, Office of Indian Affairs, Vol. IX, No. 2, October, 1941.
  • Lord, Russell, To Hold This Soil, Miscellaneous Publication No. 321, USDA, 1938.
  • Museum Notes, Museum of Northern Arizona, Northern Arizona, Society of Science and Art, Inc., Vol. 9, No. 11, May, 1937.
  • Navajo and Hopi Rehabilitation, Hearings before a Subcommittee on Indian Affairs of the Committee on Public Lands, U. S. Government Printing Office, Serial No. 10, April-May, 1949.
  • The New University of Ulster Prospectus 1969-70, Coleraine, Northern Ireland.
  • News Letter of the Institute Of Ethnic Affairs, Inc. Vol. I, No. 3, June 1946; No. 4, September 1946; No. 5, November 1946; No. 6, December 1946, Vol. II, No. 1, January 1947; No. 2, February 1947; No. 3, March 1947; No. 4, April 1947, No. 5, May 1947; No. 6, June-July 1947, No. 7, August-September 1947; No. 8, October 1947; No. 9, November 1947; No. 10, December 1947; Vol. 3, No. 3, April 1948.
  • Planning in Action on the Navajo-Hopi Indian Reservations - A Progress report on the Land and Its People, 81st Congress, Public Law 474, March, 1952.
  • Rehabilitation of Navajo and Hopi, Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, U.S. Senate, U.S. Government Printing Office, March-April, 1948.
  • Report of the President of Harvard University to the Board of Overseers, 1940-1941, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1942.
  • Report on the Navajo Long-Range Program of Navajo Rehabilitation, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington D.C., March 1948.
  • Research - A National Resource, I. Relation to the Federal Government to Research, National Resources Committee, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1938.
  • Roethlisberger, F.J. and W.J. Dickson, Studies in Industrial Research: Technical vs. Social Organization in an Industrial Plant, Harvard University, October, 1934.
  • Sanchez, George I. The People - A Study of the Navajos, U.S. Indian Service, 1948.
  • Sociological Survey of the Navajo Reservation, Regional Bulletin No. 32, Conservation Economics Series No. 5, USDA Soil Conservation Service, Region 8, Albuquerque, New Mexico, May, 1936
  • Statistical Summary - Human Dependency Survey: Navajo Reservation 1940, Division of Socio-Economic Surveys, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Navajo Reservation, October, 1941.
  • Technological Trends and National Policy, Including the Social Implications of New Inventions, National Resources Committee, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1937.
  • Tenth Annual Report, Institute of Public Administration, Dublin, 1967.
  • Urban Government, Volume 1 of the Supplementary Report of the Urbanism Committee to the Natural Resources Committee, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1939.
  • Waterford Congress, 1967, Irish Vocational Education Association.
  • Wedel, Waldo R. "Inaugurating an Archeological Survey in Kansas," Reprinted from Explorations and Field-Work of the Smithsonian Institution, 1937.
  • Welsh Folk Museum, St. Fagans, National Museum of Wales, 1976.
  • Whyte, John. Dail Deputies - Their Work, Its Difficulties, Possible Remedies, Quairim Pamphlets, 1965.
  • Processed by

    Joan Sweeney, 2002

    Inventory of the Solon Toothaker Kimball papers, 1902-1981
    Joan Sweeney
    Language of description
    Script of description

    Repository Details

    Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

    60 West Walton Street
    Chicago Illinois 60610 United States