Dr. James P. Smith was a faculty member of the Georgia Tech English Department. The bulk of the materials constituting this collection are of the scholarly research he conducted on Frances Newman, an author and a librarian at the Georgia Tech Carnegie Library in the 1920s. His goal was to write a biography on Newman and compile a collection of her criticisms, but Dr. Smith passed away suddenly in 1980 before he could accomplish this.
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Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.
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The bulk of this collection is comprised of research materials that Dr. Smith collected on Frances Newman, including correspondence, notes, reviews, critical essays, and biographies. Included with the biographies of Newman are bibliographies; the most notable of the biographies is a typed 36-page account left unsigned and undated. The first folder of correspondence contains letters to and from Newman, mostly written in longhand. Much of the stationery bears her initials or the insignia of the New York City hotels in which she stayed. A 1921 rejection letter from a publisher regarding her manuscript, The Goldfish Bowl, spells out the problems the publisher found with the book. Of special note is a letter dated 1920 from James Branch Cabell, an author Newman greatly admired, praising her book reviews.
Correspondence to and from Dr. Smith includes requests from universities all over the country for information on Newman. Dr. Smith also made several appeals to various publishers for his biography/criticism collection of Newman, most of which were rejected. Christmas cards from Hansell Baugh, Newman's publisher, to Dr. Smith round out this folder.
The last folder of correspondence contains letters mostly from Rick Rykken of the John Colet Press. Discussions with Dr. Elizabeth Evans of the Georgia Tech English Department centered on publishing faculty papers within their English Literature series. A very significant letter, dated November 1972 from E. G. Roberts, then Director of the Georgia Tech Libraries, thanks Mrs. Margaret Patterson Ruddock, niece of Frances Newman, for donating the original typescripts of Newman's two books, Hard-Boiled Virgin and Dead Lovers are Faithful Lovers.
The critical essays are of authors who interested Dr. Smith and the press catalogs advertise Newman's books. The last three folders contain works and personal notes by Newman, including newspaper articles, criticisms, and book reviews.
Dr. James P. Smith was a member of the faculty in the English Department at Georgia Tech for twenty years. He hailed from Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Smith received his bachelor's degree from Southwestern University and his doctorate from the University of North Carolina.
In 1960, he accepted a position at Georgia Tech as an Instructor in the English Department. He was promoted to Assistant, and then to Associate Professor before becoming Assistant Head of the department from 1977-1979. Dr. Smith received the 1973 Outstanding Teacher Award.
As focused as he was on publishing a biography/criticism collection of author and former Georgia Tech Librarian Frances Newman, Dr. Smith held other interests. These included classical music and theology, as well as the works of Jane Austen, James Joyce, and John Updike, amongst many others in his large library collection.
Before he could finish the biography on Newman, Dr. Smith died suddenly on July 8, 1980.
These papers are arranged alphabetically by folder title.
A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.
These papers came from the office of Dr. James P. Smith and were donated by Dr. Elizabeth Evans, Head of the Georgia Tech English Department, in 1988 (Accession #1991.0501; old number: 91-05-01).
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Yen M. Tang processed these papers in 2000.