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Robert Kimball collection

Identifier: M227

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Robert Kimball Collection, 1930-2008, consists primarily of printed material and a small number of photographs, compiled as research for the book The Complete Lyrics of Johnny Mercer (New York, 2009), co-edited by Kimball. The collection is organized in four series. Series I, Songs, contains manuscript and printed arrangements, including arranger's piano and vocal scores, arranger's lead sheets, and piano-conductor scores, for songs written by Johnny Mercer. The series includes photocopies of published music but primarily consists of scores created by copyists for performance, many in photocopied form. Programs and Newspaper Clippings, Series II, contains copies of theater programs and research relating to shows with Mercer lyrics, 1930, 1939-1940, 1946-1959, and newspaper clippings pertaining to Mercer, 1974-1976. Series III, Photographs, consists of 22 photographic prints depicting Johnny Mercer's family, homes, movies, and collaborators including Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole, circa 1940-circa 1972. The bulk of the collection, research material on Johnny Mercer's collaborators, makes up the fourth series, Biographies. The files, organized by the names of Mercer’s collaborators, largely contain copies of published articles and reference information. Some files include notes or correspondence with the subjects or their family members. Abigail Kimball was responsible for assembling much of the material in the Biographies files.


  • Creation: 1930-2008


Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research use.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.

Biographical Notes on Robert Kimball and Johnny Mercer

Robert Kimball (1939-), a native of Manhattan, found a passion for musical theater when he was seven years old, leading him into a career as a well respected musical theater historian. After an education at Yale College and Law School, Robert Kimball became the curator at American Musical Theater Collection at Yale. He has since been the music critic of the New York Post, artistic adviser to the Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter estates, special consultant on musical theater to the Library of Congress and coauthor or editor of many books on musical theater. For publisher Alfred A. Knopf, he has edited the Complete Lyrics Series (volumes on Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Lorenz Hart, and Johnny Mercer).

John Herndon Mercer (1909-1976), a native of Savannah, Georgia, began writing songs at the age of fifteen and eventually became one of the foremost figures of 20th century American popular music. His catalog includes many songs that have become American classics, and his activities as lyricist, composer, performer and businessman span a period of nearly five decades.


1.9 Linear Feet (in 5 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Robert Kimball Collection, 1930-2008, consists of mixed materials compiled by the well-respected musical theater historian as research for his co-edited book The Complete Lyrics of Johnny Mercer (New York, 2009). The collection contains biographical information on Johnny Mercer's collaborators, songs (in the form of sheet music, arranger's piano and vocal scores, arranger's lead sheets, piano-conductor scores), newspaper clippings, copies of theater programs and other research on shows, and photographs.


The collection is arranged into four series:

  1. Series I:: Songs
  2. Series II: Programs and Newspaper Clippings, 1930, 1939-1940, 1946-1959, 1974-1976
  3. Series III: Photographs, circa 1940-circa 1972
  4. Series IV: Biographies

Off-Site Storage

Collection is stored offsite. Allow at least 2 working days for retrieval.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Robert and Abigail Kimball, February 2011.

Processing Information

Processed by Angela Schwarz at the file level, June 2015.

Robert Kimball:
A Guide to His Collection at Georgia State University Library
Angela Schwarz
June 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2881 (Fax)