Lee Marshall Smith Papers 1956-2019

Summary
Contents
Names/subjects
Using these materials
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Creator
Smith, Lee
Size
31.9 linear feet (31 archival boxes, 16 legal boxes, 2 cassette boxes, 1 card box, 2 flat folders, 1 oversize flat box, 1 flat box)
Call number
MC 00203

The Lee Marshall Smith Papers document Smith's career as a reporter, film critic, newspaper editor, educator and novelist. Also documented are some of Smith's numerous awards and honors, including the Robert Penn Warren Fiction Prize in 1991 and the North Carolina Award for Fiction in 1984. Subject files contain biographical information, including a vita, documentation from her time as Writer-In-Residence at Hollins College, and correspondence with her publishers (Harper and Row, 1968-1973). The Writings series includes extensive drafts of Smith's writings, including typescripts, manuscripts, reproductions, and handwritten notes. Among Smith's published novels are Black Mountain Breakdown (1981), Oral History (1983) , Fair and Tender Ladies (1988), The Devil's Dream (1992), Saving Grace (1995), and The Last Girls (2002). Her short stories include "Mom (Life As We Knew It)", "The French Revolution, A Love Story", "Bob, A Dog", "Me and My Baby View the Eclipse" (with accompanying artwork) and "Camera Obscura". The collection also contains plays adapted from Smith's novels and short stories. A Reviews series includes reviews and critical essays about Smith's work from 1968 to the present. The Audiovisual Materials series includes sound tapes (Lee Smith reading from books and short stories, radio interviews, etc.), a compact disc, and VHS tapes.

A popular author of novels and short stories, Lee Smith earned a B.A. in English from Hollins College in 1967. Immediately after college she worked as a reporter for the Richmond News Leader and the Tuscaloosa News. Smith was an English teacher at Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, 1971-1975, and at the Carolina Friends School in North Carolina, 1975-1977. She taught creative writing at Duke University in 1977 and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1978-1981. From 1979 to 1980 she was the director of a summer writing workshop for the University of Virginia. In 1981, she came to North Carolina State University, where she taught for 19 years.

Biographical/historical note

Lee Marshall Smith was born in Grundy, Virginia. As a college student, she studied in France during her junior year and interned at the Richmond News Leader with chief editorial writer James J. Kilpatrick. Ms. Smith was awarded a Book-of-the Month Club Writing Fellowship in June 1967, immediately following her graduation from Hollins College with a B.A. in English. She continued her writing career as a reporter for the Tuscaloosa News in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1968-1969 and then became the feature writer, film critic, and editor of the newspaper's Sunday magazine. She switched from journalism to teaching English at Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tennessee, 1971-1974, and the Carolina Friends School in Durham, North Carolina, 1975-1977. During this period Ms. Smith was married and raised two boys.

Lee Smith pursued her writing career and was selected as the writer-in-residence at Hollins College during the spring semester of 1976. She continued to teach creative writing as an instructor at Duke University in 1977, a lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1978-1981, and the director of a summer writing workshop for the University of Virginia, 1979-1980. In 1981 she took a position at North Carolina State University, where she taught for 19 years. Ms. Smith has given numerous lectures in addition to her extended visits to various schools and conferences teaching writing and conducting workshops. She has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards including two O. Henry Awards, the John Dos Passos Award, the Robert Penn Warren Fiction Prize, and the North Carolina Award for Fiction in 1984. As of 1997, she had published 15 books:

The Last Day the Dogbushes Bloomed, 1968

Something in the Wind, 1971

Fancy Strut, 1973

Black Mountain Breakdown, 1981

Cakewalk, 1981

Oral History, 1983

Family Linen, 1985

Fair and Tender Ladies, 1988

Bob, A Dog, 1988

Me and My Baby View the Eclipse, 1990

The Devil's Dream, 1992

We Don't Love with Our Teeth, 1994

Saving Grace, 1995

The Christmas Letters: A Novella, 1996

News of the Spirit, 1997

In 2002, Smith published The Last Girls, which was inspired by an actual raft trip she made down the Mississippi River with other Hollins girls in 1966. On Agate Hill, an historical novel set in piedmont North Carolina during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras, was published in 2006.

Scope/content

The papers of Lee Marshall Smith are divided into eleven series. This collection documents Lee Smith's career as a reporter, film critic, newspaper editor, educator, and novelist. The collection primarily documents Smith's professional endeavors and contains limited personal materials. Also documented are Smith's numerous awards and honors, including the North Carolina Award for Literature (1984), the Lyndhurst Prize (1990-1992), the Robert Penn Warren Fiction Prize, and her promotion to professor at North Carolina State University in 1990. Subject files contain biographical information, including a vita and documentation from her time as Writer-In-Residence at Hollins College. Correspondence chiefly contains letters to and from Smith's publishers (Harper and Row, 1968-1973). Interviews and Articles are predominantly news clippings of interviews with Smith and articles about her. The Lectures, Readings, Speeches, Book Signings series includes programs, news clippings and other evidence of Smith's professional activities. The Miscellaneous series contains notes for stories, information about other writers, and various memorabilia.

The bulk of the collection is contained in the Writings series which consists of five subseries, including Reviews by Lee Smith, Drafts of Novels, Short Stories, Miscellaneous Writing, and Essays. The series documents Smith's writing and the process of creating a novel. It contains extensive drafts of Smith's writings, including typescripts, manuscripts, reproductions, and handwritten notes. Among the short stories are "Mom (Life As We Knew It)", "The French Revolution, A Love Story", "Bob, A Dog", "Me and My Baby View the Eclipse" (with accompanying artwork) and "Camera Obscura". The collection also contains plays adapted from Smith's novels and short stories. A Reviews series includes reviews and critical essays about Smith's work from 1968 to the present. The Audiovisual Materials series includes sound tapes (Lee Smith reading from books and short stories, radio interviews, etc.), a compact disc, and VHS tapes.

Arrangement

Collection is arranged into series:

1. Subject Files, 1962-2010, Undated Organized alphabetically

2. Correspondence, 1968-2013, Undated Organized chronologically

3. Honors and Awards, 1967-2014 Organized alphabetically

4. Interviews and Articles, 1968-2014 Organized alphabetically

5. Lectures, Speeches, Readings, Book Signings, 1981-2013 Organized alphabetically

6. Miscellaneous, 1970, undated - 2013 Organized alphabetically

7. Photographs, 1964, 1990-2012, undated Organized chronologically

8. Writings, 1956-2014 Organized chronologically

9. Plays Adapted from Novels and Short Stories, 1984-1998 Organized chronologically

10. Reviews, 1968-2013 Organized chronologically

11. Audiovisual Materials, 1988-1994 Organized alphabetically

Access to the collection

This collection is open for research; access requires at least 48 hours advance notice.

Use of audiovisual material may require production of listening or viewing copies.

Use of these materials

The nature of the NC State University Libraries' Special Collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The NC State University Libraries claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which North Carolina State University assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Lee Marshall Smith Papers, MC 00203, Special Collections Research Center, NC State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC.

Related material

Source of acquisition

Gift of Lee Smith, 1991-2019.

Processing information

Processed by Caroline Weaver, 1995-1997

Encoded by Steven Mandeville-Gamble, 2005 December

Updated by Dani Nation, March 2007

Updated by Rachel Jacobson, March 2015

Updated by Linda Sellars, November 2019

Updated by Mollie Frazier, Kristen Blake, Cathy Dorin-Black, 2020-2021

Please note that some historical materials may contain harmful content and/or descriptions. Learn how we’re addressing it.

Access to the collection

This collection is open for research; access requires at least 48 hours advance notice.

Use of audiovisual material may require production of listening or viewing copies.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Lee Marshall Smith Papers, MC 00203, NC State University Libraries Special Collections Research Center

Use of these materials

The nature of the NC State University Libraries' Special Collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The NC State University Libraries claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which North Carolina State University assumes no responsibility.