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Thomas Lord Kimball Papers
mssKimball papers  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Thomas Lord Kimball Papers
    Dates: Approximately 1859-1901
    Collection Number: mssKimball papers
    Creator: Kimball, Thomas Lord, 1831-1899.
    Extent: Approximately 1,639 items + additional 470 newspaper clippings in 13 boxes.
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection consists of the personal and business papers of American railroad executive Thomas Lord Kimball (1831-1899) and is primarily focused on his activities with the Union Pacific Railroad.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Thomas Lord Kimball Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Purchased from Jack Kimball on March 8, 1948.

    Biographical Note

    Railroad executive Thomas Lord Kimball (1831-1899) was born in Buxton, Maine. He taught school during the late 1840s and early 1850s before becoming interested in the express business. Kimball married Mary Porter Rogers in 1854 or 1855 and had four children, including the architect Thomas Rogers Kimball (1862-1934). In 1857 Kimball and his family moved to Ohio, and in 1859 Kimball began working for an amateur newspaper and wrote a series of articles on the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. In 1860 he became an agent for the Pennsylvania Railroad, for which he spent over a decade as southwestern passenger agent, assistant general passenger agent, and general Western passenger agent. In 1871 Kimball's associate Thomas A. Scott was made president of the Union Pacific Railway Company and appointed Kimball as general passenger and ticket agent. That same year Kimball moved to Omaha, where he would spend most of the rest of his life. In 1880 Sidney Dillon appointed Kimball as assistant general manager of the Union Pacific, for which company he would also serve as general traffic manager, assistant to the first vice-president, and third vice-president, a position he was appointed to in 1889, in addition to being president of the Union Depot Company. Kimball left the Union Pacific in 1897 and died in 1899.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of the personal and business papers of Thomas Lord Kimball, primarily focused on his activities with the Union Pacific Railroad. The personal correspondence includes over 330 letters sent by Kimball to his wife Mary Porter Rogers Kimball between 1859 and 1893, a letter from Kimball to his daughter Frances (1870), and a letter to Mary Kimball from I.S. Hodsdon (correspondence between Hodsdon and Thomas Kimball is included in the business correspondence). The personal papers also include diaries kept by Kimball between 1860 and 1899, diaries kept by Mary Kimball between 1890 and 1898, and a biographical sketch of Kimball. The railroad papers include business correspondence from a variety of correspondents including Frederick L. Ames, Sidney Dillon, I.S. Hodsdon, W.H. Holmes, Jay Gould, and E.P. Vining, as well as a few pieces of outgoing correspondence by Kimball. The financial and operation papers include Kimball’s Union Pacific pocket notebooks dated 1891-1899, a small group of Jay Gould manuscripts (1877-1880), correspondence on the W.C. Thompson scandal (1872-1873), a letter appointing Kimball as travelling agent for the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. (1860), correspondence on the sale of a Unitarian Church in Omaha (1877-1880), production summaries for the Union Depot in Omaha (1879-1896), and miscellaneous railroad agreements, circulars, passes, receipts, promissory notes, financial statements, and stocks and bonds. The political papers consist of incoming correspondence, an agreement for Charles H. Brown to back the Union Pacific in pending legislation before Congress (1877), an agreement between Kimball and the National Union Publishing Co. (1877), a congressional voting record (1878), and a payroll. The mining papers include items related to the Newcastle Mining and Improvement Co. in Wyoming (1891-1894) and the Ella Mine in Idaho (1879-1880), as well as an analysis of coal on the Union Pacific Railroad line and a report on the coal business in Wyoming (1888). Also included is a box of newspaper clippings regarding Kimball’s railroad activities from 1888-1889 (approx. 470 items).


    The collection is housed in 13 boxes sorted into 5 series: personal papers; railroad papers; political papers; mining papers; and newspaper clippings.
    The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by author, and then chronologically. Other manuscripts are arranged alphabetically or chronologically as appropriate.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Personal Names

    Ames, Frederick L. (Frederick Lothrop), 1835-1893.
    Dillon, Sidney, 1812-1892.
    Gould, Jay, 1836-1892.

    Corporate Names

    Union Pacific Railroad Company--Employees.
    Union Pacific Railroad Company--History--19th century.


    Domestic relations--19th century.
    Mines and mineral resources--Idaho.
    Mines and mineral resources--Wyoming.
    Railroad travel--United States--History--19th century.

    Geograhic Areas

    Nebraska--History--19th century.
    Nebraska--Politics and government.
    Omaha (Neb.)--History.
    West (U.S.)--History--19th century.


    Business records--United States--19th century.
    Diaries--United States--19th century.
    Ephemera--United States--19th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--United States--19th century.