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William Jay Smith Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-MS-ms104
The William Jay Smith Papers correspondence from literary figures dating back to the 1940s, including a substantial group of letters from Russian, Hungarian, and other Eastern European authors. Numerous letters from publishers, editors, scholars, and friends are also present in the collection. The Smith Papers also include manuscripts and editorial matter towards his published work, as well as a large collection of manuscripts by other authors. Finally, the Smith Papers include a large assortment of miscellaneous material relating to specific writing projects, academic work, literary awards panels, Smith’s travel, family and other personal papers, all of which help document in detail the career of this American literary figure.

Dates

  • 1924-2008

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Conditions Governing Use

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or spec@wumail.wustl.edu. (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)

Extent

436.00 boxes

Biographical Information

William Jay Smith (April 22, 1918 - August 18, 2015) was an American poet, critic, and translator. Born in Winnfield, Louisiana, Smith was brought up at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, south of St. Louis. He received his A.B. and M.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, and continued his studies at Columbia University, and Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Smith served as a poetry consultant to the Library of Congress (the position now known as the U.S. Poet Laureate) from 1968 until 1970. He became a member of The Academy of Arts and Letters since 1975, and served one term as vice-president for literature.

Smith was a poet in residence at Williams College from 1959–1967, Chairman of the Writing Division of the School of Arts at Columbia University from 1973 until 1975, and was the Professor Emeritus of English at Hollins College at the time of his death. He wrote ten collections of poetry, two of which were nominated for the National Book Award. Smith also wrote numerous children’s books, including Laughing Time: Collected Nonsense (1990) and Birds and Beasts (1990).

Although Smith was equally at home in most literary genres, he is probably best known today for his work as a translator and for the role he played in introducing the work of numerous foreign authors to English-speaking audiences, winning him awards from both the French Academy, the Swedish Academy, and the Hungarian government. Smith’s early work as a translator was directed towards French literature, including Poems of a Multimillionaire by Valery Larbaud (1955) and Selected Writings of Jules Laforgue (1956).

Source of Acquisition

Accession number 887. Gift of William Jay Smith, 1968.

Accession number 947. From William Jay Smith, July 22, 1968.

Accession number 1480. Gift of William Jay Smith, August 4, 1978.

Accession number 1503. Purchase from William Jay Smith, March 24, 1980.

Accession number 1509. Purchase from William Jay Smith, February 5, 1981.

Accession number 1546. Purchase from William Jay Smith, March 2, 1982

Accession number 1550. Purchase from William Jay Smith, March 30, 1982.

Accession number 1551. Gift of Dorothea Wolfgram, March 30, 1982.

Accession number 1580. Purchase from William Jay Smith, April 4, 1983.

Accession number 1584. Purchase from William Jay Smith, May 11, 1983.

Accession number 1595. Purchase from William Jay Smith, October 26, 1983.

Accession number 1628. Purchase from William Jay Smith, September 17, 1984.

Accession number 1629. Purchase from William Jay Smith, September 27, 1984.

Accession number 1630. Purchase from William Jay Smith, September 27, 1984.

Accession number 1631. Purchase from William Jay Smith, September 27, 1984.

Accession number 1632. Purchase from William Jay Smith, September 27, 1984.

Accession number 1633. Purchase from William Jay Smith, September 27, 1984.

Accession number 1634. Purchase from William Jay Smith, September 24, 1984.

Accession number 1636. Purchase from William Jay Smith, October 5, 1984.

Accession number 1675. Purchase from William Jay Smith, May 1, 1986.

Accession number 1702. Purchase from William Jay Smith, October 31, 1986.

Accession number 1716. Purchase from William Jay Smith, December 1, 1987.

Accession number 1759. Gift of William Jay Smith, October 1, 1974.

Accession number 1769. Purchase from William Jay Smith, June 1, 1988.

Accession number 1861. Purchase from William Jay Smith, December 10, 1990.

Accession number 1920. Purchase from William Jay Smith, July 11, 1991.

Accession number 1930. Unknown, September 4, 1991.

Accession number 1977. Unknown, October 25, 1993.

Accession number 2104. Gift of William Jay Smith, 1995.

Accession number 22921. Unknown, 1995.

Accession number 22946. Purchase from William Jay Smith, unknown date.

Accession number 23006. Unknown.

Accession number 23007. Unknown.

Accession number 23008. Unknown.

Accession number 23009. Gift of William Jay Smith, November 11, 1993.

Accession number 23010. Unknown.

Accession number 23011. Unknown.

Accession number 23889. Purchase from William Jay Smith, Summer 2005.

Accession number 23012. Gift of William Jay Smith, August 17, 1998.

Accession number 2012.006. Gift of William Jay Smith, January 1, 2008.

Accession number 2012.007. Gift of Jon Lewis Allen, June 15, 2007.

Accession number 2012.011. Purchase from William Jay Smith, February 13, 2012.

Title
William Jay Smith Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
eng

Revision Statements

  • 2021 May 7: Resource record updated in ArchiveSpace by Sarah Schnuriger.

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Manuscripts Collecting Area

Contact:
Joel Minor
Olin Library, 1 Brookings Drive
MSC 1061-141-B
St. Louis MO 63130 US
(314) 935-5495