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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.


  • 1930-2008


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original. All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

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.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Robert and Abigail Kimball, February 2011.

Related Archival Materials

Related Materials in This Repository

  1. Johnny Mercer papers, 1885-1981 (M001)
  2. Johnny and Ginger Mercer papers, 1925-circa 1992 (M002)
  3. Johnny Mercer Oral History Project, 1970, 1995-199, 2001-2002

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

Revision Statements

  • June 2015: Finding aid created by Angela Schwarz.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

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