The Chase Kimball Papers document Chase Kimball's participation in some twenty-five national and local, social, political, and religious organizations, and are an especially valuable source of information on the peace movement in America in the 1930s and on civic improvement in Waterbury, Connecticut. Because Kimball was personally involved in or collected literature from all peace organizations between 1930 and 1939, the Kimball Papers comprise an illuminating record of tensions in the peace movement caused by differences in intellectual approaches and organizing strategies.
The correspondence, Minutes, reports, organizational and financial records, speeches, printed ephemera, and topical files which compose the papers were given to the Yale University Library by Chase Kimball between 1946 and 1951. They are arranged in four series much as Kimball organized his files originally:
Series I, ORGANIZATIONS, is the largest series in the papers and contains the correspondence, organizational and financial records, minutes, reports, and printed matter that Kimball collected for each organization in which he participated. Most organizations represented in the series are in some way related to international justice or the peace movement of the 1930s, but a few files document Kimball's other voluntary activities on behalf of religious and civic groups in Waterbury and throughout Connecticut.
Kimball played a direct role in several of the peace organizations represented in the series. The most voluminous records are those for the League of Nations Association and its Connecticut affiliate. Since Kimball served as vice-president of the Connecticut chapter and as a member of the disarmament committee of the national association, the files, through minutes, correspondence, and reports, show the planning and administration of various organizing and educational campaigns and projects. Similarly, since Kimball served as treasurer of the Connecticut Council on International Relations and as a member of the International Relations Committee of the Connecticut Council of Churches, there are files documenting the activities of these local organizations. The development and projects of the Waterbury Council for Peace Action are also well documented as are its ties to the Connecticut Peace Conference.
Kimball described himself as the chairman for peace of Connecticut's fifth congressional district and worked in this capacity with many other peace groups including the Emergency Peace Campaign, the National Council for Prevention of War, and, though he was not a pacificist or a Quaker, with the American Friends Service Committee. For these organizations there is much printed material as well as correspondence and project files. From other peace organizations, such as the International Peace Campaign and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Kimball merely saved the printed material he received, but at least for the International Peace Campaign the files represent a rather complete rum of printed material.
The ORGANIZATIONS series also documents Kimball's work in other civic and religious groups. The files for the Connecticut Merit System Association and the National Civil Service Reform League reflect Kimball's interest in the "good government" movement. There are also extensive files for Kimball's work with the Young Men's Christian Association and in the Congregational Church.
Series II, SELECT CORRESPONDENCE, is composed of Kimball's correspondence with leaders in the peace movement, both nationally and in Connecticut, and with some Connecticut political figures with whom Kimball had substantive exchanges. Like Kimball many of these correspondents were active participants in more than one peace organization. Therefore, correspondence in this series includes discussions of more general concerns, while correspondence left in Series I concerns specifically the organization under which it is filed. The series includes some correspondence with the two most prominent women in the Connecticut peace campaign, Florence Kitchelt and Rachel Nason. The series also reflects the important role that volunteers and the organization of volunteers played in the peace movement.
Series III, GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE, contains the routine correspondence that Kimball received and generated particularly in his peace movement and political organizing activities. The correspondence is composed of requests for literature, form letters, fund raising requests, and incidental items received from regional peace organizations outside Connecticut. Occasional letters to politicians are also filed here.
Series IV, TOPICAL FILES, contains background material in the form of correspondence, notes, lists, and printed material, mainly on subjects related to Kimball's peace work such as neutrality, economic sanctions, and the like. The largest amount of material in the series concerns the general organization of peace work and peace workers in Connecticut in different years for congressional campaigns and in various localities. The series also includes some material used by Kimball in preparation for his radio broadcasts and other speeches.