Emily Kimbrough


Honorary Degree (1973)
Doctor of Humane Letters
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: John William Ryan


There are those who can write a good story, and those who can tell a good story; rare indeed is the person who can do both. Emily Kimbrough has demonstrated in print and on the lecture platform that she is master of both.

She was born in Muncie, Indiana, to Hal Curry and Charlotte Emily (Wiles) Kimbrough. She attended the Faulkner School and Miss Wright's School for Girls. She earned the B.A. degree at Bryn Mawr and continued her studies at the Sorbonne, Paris. Early in her training she revealed a marked aptitude for esthetics as related to high fashions. After completing her formal training she became Editor of "Fashions of the Hour" at Marshall Field and Company, a position which she held for five years. Following this she served as Fashion Editor of Ladies Home Journal for one year and Managing Editor for two years.

In 1932 she began a career of writing and lecturing. Her major writings include Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, with Cornelia Otis Skinner, 1942, a Book-of-the-Month Club selection; We Followed Our Hearts to Hollywood, 1943; How Dear to My Heart, 1944; It Gives Me Great Pleasure, 1948, new edition, 1958; The Innocents from Indiana, 1950 (published in England as Hand in Hand: The Innocents from InĀ¬diana, 1951); Through Charley's Door, 1952: Forty Plus and Fancy Free, 1954; So Near and Yet So Far, 1955; Water, Water Everywhere, 1956: And A Right Good Crew, 1958 (published in England as Right Good Crew, 1959) ; Pleasure by the Busload, 1961; Forever Old, Forever New, 1964; and Floating Island, 1968. She has also written scripts for motion pictures, radio, and television.

Her first popular book, Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, is a light-hearted reminiscence of a pre-war trip to Europe. Rose Feld, in reviewing it, wrote "Despite the fact that the book describes a bout with the measles on shipboard and a recurring battle with European bed bugs, it is a joyous chronicle from beginning to end." Cornelia Otis Skinner once wrote of her friend: "To know Emily Kimbrough is to enhance one's days with gaity, charm and occasional terror. She attracts incident as serge attracts lint. The fact that she once set forth to visit me in my modest apartment and arrived by mistake at the mansion of Mr. J. P. Morgan gives one a rough idea of what to expect." Miss Kimbrough enjoys writing, storytelling, theatre and music.