The Acquisitions Table: Moses Kimball’s Journal

Kimball, Moses. Journal, 1850-1851.

Moses Kimball (1809-1895) was an active citizen of Boston throughout the 19th century.  After failed attempts at the newspaper and printing business, Kimball succeeded in the museum business, purchasing and expanding the New England Museum (which had been established by Ethan Allen Greenwood) in 1838, and opening the Boston Museum in 1841.  He was a close associate of P.T. Barnum, and was the founder and owner of the “Fejee Mermaid”, made famous and widely exhibited by Barnum.  Kimball’s political life included three terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, as well as three unsuccessful runs for Mayor of Boston.  This account book chronicles another side still to Kimball, his family life.  Labeled “Family Expenses”, the book includes monthly lists of the various purchases Kimball made for his family (wife Frances Lavinia Hathaway and daughter Margaret Kimball).  Pages show the purchase of items such as linen and other fabrics, meat and sundries, wine and coffee, and the occasional travel expenses.  The front of the volume contains a pocket with receipts, including one for bleeding with leeches.

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Tracey Kry

Assistant Curator of Manuscripts and Assistant Reference Librarian, American Antiquarian Society

One thought on “The Acquisitions Table: Moses Kimball’s Journal”

  1. Are there any references to the cage that Marie-Josephte Corriveau was gibbeted in in Levis, Quebec in 1763.

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