Scope and Contents
These papers document Sims's activities as a traveler and his interest in historic restoration. They consist of forty-one notebooks, Series 1-4; and three boxes, Series 5-9, of personal papers and ephemera. Series 5-7 are particularly valuable for biographical information. Series 10 includes 6,000 color slides, a smaller number of photographic prints, and forty-one stereo view cards. The total volume of the collection is approximately eleven linear feet.
The notebooks cover the years 1896, 1908-1913, 1918, and 1934-1976. The notebooks are written in a documentary styles that is enhanced by literary touches and perceptive details. The subjects include visits to several national parks, the Boronda adobe, and travel on most continents.
The 6,000 35mm slides that Sims took between 1944 and 1976 portray the use of the automobile in travel, national and international touring, and family travel. They are organized by either trip or location. They document his collecting, research, and restoration interests, and complement his written and artistic work. In technique, Sims's photographs are at least a cut above amateur photography. The slides remain in the order in which the Archives Center received them. In some cases they are organized, captioned, and numbered as a slide program. In other cases, while they are captioned they are not part of a specific slide program that Sims organized. Usually the identification in the Detailed Container List represents Sims' s own captions, which have been copied from the slide sleeves.
While some images are personal, the majority form a documentary record of various subjects and places. All the slides are dated and labeled or captioned, either on box inserts or on the slides themselves. The slides are generally organized by trip. Of particular interest is the documentation of Sims's restoration of the Boronda adobe. These slides are well captioned and show the step by step process.
The slides include many early Kodachromes from the 1940s in excellent condition. These represent the few examples of this type in the Museum. Although these slides are not extraordinarily rare, they are a very early example of the color process.
There are also black and white prints and a few color prints. Some of these document an automobile trip along the California coast in the 1930s. All the black-and-white prints portray the photographer for Sims's concern to document his travels adequately and in a meaningful way.
The three document boxes of supplemental material includes articles, correspondence (for example, a letter to Sims from the Henry Ford Museum thanking him for donating an oral history of a motoring trip he had taken), business cards, certificates of achievement, hotel ephemera, news clippings (Series 12), published travel accounts, printed travel brochures, and audio tapes (Series 11), in which Sims recounts many of his trips over the years. This material is valuable because it provides biographical information on Sims. It also may be useful for exhibits and research. Much of the material—the hotel ephemera and the printed travel brochures and accounts—is similar to ephemera in the Warshaw Collection.
Sims's photographs are similar in content to two other collections in the Archives Center. The Clyde W. Stauffer Family Photographic Album portrays family automobile trips across the United States between 1935 and 1940. The Donald Sultner Welles Collection of travel slides documents locations throughout the United States and around the world.