Guide to the Marlin Kinman Collection

Summary Information

Indiana University South Bend Archives
1700 Mishawaka Ave. P.O. Box 7111
South Bend, Indiana 46634
Phone: (574) 520 - 4392
Creator: Marlin Kinman.
Title: Marlin Kinman Collection, 1905 – 1990, bulk 1940’s.
Extent: 0.6 cubic feet

Collection of opera and music materials collected by Indiana resident Marlin Kinman. Collection includes correspondence, programs, signed photographs, articles and newspaper clippings of Marlin Kinman.

Administrative Information
Access Restrictions:

This collection is open for research.
Advance notice is required.
Usage Restrictions:
Copyright interests for this collection have been transferred to the Trustees of Indiana University. For more information, contact the Indiana University South Bend Archivist.
Preferred Citation:
[Item], Marlin Kinman Collection, Indiana University South Bend Archives.
Custodial History:
It is believed that Lester Wiseman of Norwest Bank took care of the papers before depositing them with Indiana University South Bend.
Processing Information:
Processed by Alison Stankrauff.
Completed in 2004.

Biographical Notes

Marlin Kinman, son of Major Guy M. Kinman, had an ambition to become a stage designer for the Metropolitan Opera. Merlina Kinman, presumably Marlin’s sister, was active in music at Indiana University-Bloomington. This is a collection of memorabilia relating to opera singers and productions at the Metropolitan Opera, Indiana University Bloomington, and elsewhere.
At the end of his life, Marlin Kinman resided at 2113 Hollywood Place, South Bend. The items were presented to the Indiana University South Bend Archives by Lester Wiseman on behalf of the Kinman estate on September 3, 1994.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is arranged into four distinct folders within one Hollinger box, which includes correspondence, programs, photographs, and newspaper clippings and articles. In addition, there is a large framed fragment of the curtain of the Metropolitan Opera dating from 1905. This curtain fragment was presented to Indiana University Bloomington president Herman B. Wells in 1942. This may or may not be the same framed fragment owned by Kinman.

Correspondence included in the collection reveals that Marlin’s father was stationed at Fort Sam in Houston, Texas during the 1940’s, and that the Major wrote to ask advice of theater professionals in steering his son to a profession in the theater. There are several letters that evidence responses to fan mail that Marlin wrote to opera stars of his time, as well as letters offering suggestions to the administrations of opera companies. Also included is a love letter to Merlina as well as letters to Major Kinman.

Contents List

Framed fragment of Metropolitan Opera Curtain 1905-1940
Fragment 8 1/4 h x 9 1/2 w; framed item 17 1/2 h x 13 w
Contains list of singers performing in the first and last productions in which it was used. Color photos of curtain in pocket on back.

Box #1 - Folder - Contents

Correspondence, 1938 – 1990, no date.
Correspondents include Rudolph Bing, Herbert Graf, Frieda Hempel, Marjorie Lawrence, Guy Malcolm, Danny Newman, Francis Robinson, Lawrence Tibbett, and others. Most letters are addressed to Marlin Kinman, but a few are addressed to his father and Merlina. Also includes a descriptive letter (no date) concerning the fragment of the Metropolitan Opera curtain (on Indiana University Bloomington stationary).

Programs, 1935 – 1955, no date.
Includes various programs from Indiana University’s Auditorium Series held in
Indianapolis. Included are two programs that include Marian Anderson’s
appearance in the IU Series, and they are autographed by the famous contralto.

In addition, there are programs from Indianapolis’ English Theatre, Indiana
University Bloomington’s Auditorium, theaters in New York City (Radio City
Music Hall, Metropolitan Opera, Century Opera House), and San Antonio’s
Municipal Auditorium.

Photographs, circa 1920’s to 1940’s.
Signed photographs from various opera stars contemporaneous to Marlin
Kinman, include Frances Alda, Stella Andrews, Richard Crooks, Suzanne Fisher,
Jacque Geroud, Frieda Hempel, Jan Kiepura, Helen Jepson, Mary Jordan
Marjorie Lawrence, --- Martinelli, Lauritz Melchior, Grace Moore, Ezio Pinza,
Sydney Rayner, Gladys Swarthout, Lawrence Tibbett and others.

Articles and Clippings, 1941 – 1976.
Items include reviews of individual operatic performances as well as articles on
performers, including obituaries.


Items arranged into four distinct folders: correspondence, programs, photographs, and articles and clippings. The framed fragment of the Metropolitan Opera curtain is housed on the shelves of the IUSB Archives.
Notice of receipt of the materials, a copy of this finding aid, and a copy of the previous finding aid (previous to the 2004 processing of this collection) are housed in the collection box.

Deposited in the IUSB Archives December 1994.

Finding Aid prepared by Alison Stankrauff December 2004.

Last Reviewed: 03/2014