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Marie Kimball

Marie Goebel Kimball (1889-1955) was an author, historian, and Jefferson scholar who served as Monticello's first curator from 1944 until her death in 1955. During her tenure at Monticello she also served on the Restoration Committee.

Born in 1889, Marie Goebel studied at Radcliffe College before taking her B.A. degree from the University of Illinois in 1911. In 1913, she married Fiske Kimball and began her study of Thomas Jefferson while assisting her husband with his own research. In the summer of 1914, she commenced an examination of the Jefferson correspondence at the Massachusetts Historical Society as well as Jefferson's unpublished papers at the Library of Congress (some 40,000 letters).

During her career as an author, Kimball published several books and nearly 100 articles on the topics of American social history, cookery, and antiques. In 1938, she published her first book, Thomas Jefferson's Cook Book, and shortly thereafter published an article on "The Furnishings of Thomas Jefferson."1 In 1943, Kimball published the first volume of her biographical trilogy, Jefferson: The Road to Glory, 1743 to 1776. The second volume, Jefferson: War and Peace, 1776 to 1784, was published in 1947, and the third volume, Jefferson: The Scene of Europe, 1784 to 1789, was published in 1950. While writing this work, she won two Guggenheim fellowships.

Marie Kimball died in Philadelphia in 1955. Following her death, her papers (ca. 1920-1955) were given to the University of Virginia. Among these papers are preparatory notes to what would have been the fourth volume of her Jefferson biography.

Major Publications

- Anna G. Koester, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Archives: Collection Guide and Catalog, October 1998, p. 17.

Further Sources


hsloan's picture
"studying all the published papers of Jefferson's Presidency (some 40,000 letters"--there were 40,000 published letters from the presidency available to Marie Kimball during her lifetime? This will be news to the editors of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson.
Herb Sloan
aberkes's picture
You are right Herb, that obviously can't be accurate. I've been looking into this since you posted your comment and I think that the author of this biographical sketch probably meant to say "unpublished papers" instead of "published" - that makes more sense, and there are indeed mentions of the figure of 40,000 in reference to the Jefferson papers sent to the Library of Congress ( I've changed the text to "unpublished," and "Library of Congress" instead of "Presidency," as those papers also include material from other periods of Jefferson's life as well. Thanks for catching this.
Anna Berkes


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