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Richard Gimbel photograph album of Philadelphia and Atlantic City


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

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Richard Louis Gimbel was born on July 26, 1898, the son of Ellis Adam Gimbel (1865-1950) and Minnie D. Mastbaum (1871-1948). His family owned the Gimbel Brothers department store, a branch of which opened in Philadelphia in 1894. Gimbel was raised in Philadelphia, attending the School of Practice of the School of Pedagogy (connected to Central High School), located at 13th and Spring Garden Street, and graduating from Central High School. In 1916, Gimbel entered Yale University, graduating in 1920. During his tenure at Yale, Gimbel served as a lieutenant with the 310th Field Artillery, 79th Division, during World War I. From 1927 until 1935, Gimbel served as vice president of Gimbel Brothers. In 1937 he moved to Miami to take over the Richard's Department Stores and he collected rare books and manuscripts relating to early American history, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, and aeronautics. At the start of World War II, in 1940, he transferred from his position as a lieutenant colonel in the field artillery reserve to the U.S. Army Air Corps. He served in England, in the 8th Army Air Force, from July, 1942, until June 1943. He retired from the Air Force in 1953, and died in 1970.

In 1912, Gimbel was living at 906 Broad Street, and was a student at the School of Practice of the School of Pedagogy. His family appears to have spent significant time in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Works consulted: The Colonel Richard Gimbel Aeronautical History Collection, United States Air Force Academy Library (

This volume documents, to a small degree, roughly one year of Richard Gimbel's life, from 1911 to 1913, with 56 black and white photographs, numbered and captioned by Gimbel. Notes on the inside front cover indicate that this is just one of at least six photograph albums created by Gimbel before 1913. Gimbel titled his album, "Here there Everywhere," but, according to his notes, photographs were taken in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Philadelphia and Philmont, Pennsylvania. Gimbel indicates that this volume dates from 1912 to 1913, but there is at least one photograph from 1911.

Photographs document the family vacationing in Atlantic City, and Gimbel's images feature family, a balloon launch from Young's Million Dollar Pier, and the Boardwalk. Most of the images are of family, including his mother, Minnie D. Mastbaum Gimbel (1871-1948); his sister Fridolyn Mastbaum Gimbel, "Fritz" (1891-1971); his brother Ellis Adam Gimbel, Jr., "Leo" (1897-1964); his aunt, Julia, probably Julia Gruebeel Gilbert Mastbaum Gimbel; his aunt, Hilda; his grandmother, Fanny Ephraim Mastbaum (1850-1927); his aunt Bertha, probably Bertha Berdina "Birdie" Loeb Gimbel; and his birds, Mr. and Mrs. Canary.

Other individuals who do not seem to be family include Nellie Ryan, "Ben's Fraulein," Richard Roger Fleisher (possibly a cousin), Helen Mandel, and Marcellus B. Murray (captioned as: His Honor Professor, F.M.F. (future member of the [firm]).

In Philadelphia, there are images of the the New Year's Parade, taken from Gimbel's home at 906 Broad Street; a fire in the Wolf Garage, near Broad and Master Streets; a fire at a movie house at 9th and Market Streets; numerous images of Gimbel's classmates at the School of Practice of the School of Pedagogy, both formal class photographs (listing all members of the class) and portraits of individuals; a "tour of Philadelphia," that he took with a friend, Burford Hampton; and Girard College.

There is one photograph identified as being taken in Philmont, with a group of people sitting on a bench (including his brother Ellis); however it seems likely that the following photographs of a baseball game may also have been taken in Philmont.

Measuring 18 x 28 cm, the volume contains 100 black paper pages (pages 88 to 100 are blank) with photographs pasted in and with captions written in white pen. Gimbel's captions are somewhat narrative and descriptive (a photograph of his mother, Aunt Hilda, and Aunt Julia is captioned "the sweetest three," and he identifies his Aunt Julia as his "favorite"). The front cover is stamped "Photographs," in gold, and the inside front cover indicates Richard Gimbel's ownerships and that this is "Vol. VI, [photographs] No. 1-56: Years 1912-1913: Philadelphia, Pa., Atlantic City, Philmont, Pa."

Sold by Walkabout Books, 2024.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Holly Mengel
Finding Aid Date
2024 January 30
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"Here there Everywhere," photograph album, 1911-1913.
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