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Elizabeth "Bes" Kimberly Papers

Identifier: 0000-0003

Scope and Content Note

The Elizabeth "Bes" Kimberly Papers are housed in four archival boxes and are arranged in seven series. Series have been designated for (I) Departmental Activities, (II) Drama Alumni Activities, (III) Costume Design, (IV) Programs, (V) Personal Activities, (VI) Scrapbooks, and (VII) Photographs. The papers include photographs and scrapbooks of CIT/CMU Drama events, notes and scrapbooks on costume design, programs from the Studio Theatre (1981-1990), a set of memoirs by CMU/CIT Drama instructor, Fred Millett (1919-1923), and personal travelogues of her trips abroad.

The collection relates primarily to Mrs. Kimberly's activities as a drama alumni coordinator, with the bulk of the material from 1934-1989. The collection is mostly programs, clippings, and articles related to CIT/CMU alumni, including correspondence and articles from dramats Hardie Albright, Steven Bochco, Jack Brown, Robert Gill, Ann Henderson Hayes, and Coe Norton. She maintained memoirs of drama faculty Chester Wallace, Iden Payne, and Fred Millet, and research related to the publication of the History of the Drama Department, 1914-81. Also prominent in the collection is material relating to Kimberly's activities as a costume designer, including designs for The Golden Crucible, a performance commissioned for Pittsburgh's Bicentennial Celebration.

Items are arranged chronologically in series 1 to 6. For some of the material it was difficult to determine if the item related to Kimberly's personal records or those of the departmental or alumni activities. There may be overlap among the records in these series. It was also difficult to determine if the photographs and memorabilia were included for institutional or personal reasons. This collection provides significant evidence of the strong personal and professional ties Kimberly nurtured and maintained with her students from the Carnegie Drama Department. Extensive preservation photocopying (will be) completed for the Kimberly collection.


  • Majority of material found within 1926-1989
  • 1914-1993




Biographical Sketch of Elizabeth "Bes" Kimberly

Elizabeth "Bes" Schrader Kimberly (1901-1993) was a student of drama at Carnegie Tech in 1926. She joined the faculty of the drama department as a costume designer in 1928, and was a founder of Scotch n Soda in 1938. In 1939 she married Associate Professor of Drama, George B. Kimberly, and they spent nine years together before his untimely death. Fondly referred to as "the Lady in a Hurry," Kimberly supervised the costuming for over 500 plays until she retired in 1968. After her retirement, she volunteered in the Carnegie Alumni office where she edited the Drama Alumni Newsletter. Kimberly founded the Drama Alumni clans which honored her with the Distinguished Service Award in 1973, and the West Coast Drama Clan Award in 1980. Kimberly was also interested in the evolution of the drama department from its inception at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT), to its development in the College of Fine Arts (CFA), and its role at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). In 1981 Kimberly published the History of the Drama Department, 1914-81 , and in 1982, Carnegie Mellon University awarded Kimberly the Doctor of Fine Arts Degree.


6 Linear feet (6 boxes)




Elizabeth "Bes" Kimberly was an Associate Professor of drama. This collection consists of 1.25 linear feet of papers, books, photographs, and scrapbooks in the area of costume and design.



Related Archival Materials

Researchers are referred to additional archival collections pertaining to Drama at Carnegie Mellon University including a collection of production photographs from 1914 through the present, programs, prompt books, scripts, costume designs, departmental and faculty papers, and related collections pertaining to the theatre and entertainment careers of Drama School Alumnae.
Elizabeth "Bes" Kimberly Papers
Colleen Reilly
February 2004; updated 2021
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Revision Statements

  • 10/30/2013: The finding aid was updated on October 30, 2013 by Laure Bukh.
  • 03/22/2021: Collection was redescribed in Janurary 2020 by Mina Dibonage and reprocessed in March of 2021 by Emily Davis. Some items that had no known connection to Kimberly's professional work at CMU, like books on cathedrals and cities around the world, were deaccessioned. A new series, "Miscellaneous" was also created and some items were moved to this series. Additionally, one box of accruals (awards) was added to the collection. The last two boxes of accruals, which contained clippings of various costume ideas from magazines, books, newspapers, postacards, etc. was deaccessioned. The finding aid was updated to reflect these changes.

Repository Details

Part of the Carnegie Mellon University Archives Repository

4909 Frew St
Pittsburgh PA 15213
(412) 268-5021