MS 95 - Elden T. Smith Collection
|Title||MS 95 - Elden T. Smith Collection|
|Subject||BGSU Centennial History|
The Elden T. Smith Collection (1939-1975, 1991, 2001 scattered) is comprised of ½ cubic foot of correspondence, printed materials and photographs belonging to Smith when he was a faculty member/administrator at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) from 1940-1961, specializing in Speech and Drama. The correspondence between Elden Smith and Irish visiting scholar/dramatist Lennox Robinson is a major highlight of this collection as well as various volumes of Robinson's writings inscribed by him to Smith.
This collection was transferred from University Archives. There are no restrictions on its use for research purposes. The finding aid was prepared by Eric Honneffer in July 2005.
Elden T. Smith has been fondly remembered at BGSU as the professor who "discovered" actress Eva Marie Saint when she was an elementary education major at the university. Dr. Smith, director of the 1943 campus production of "Personal Appearance" needed a girl for the play who "looked like an actress". Elden Smith's wife Betty was Eva Marie Saint's adviser at the Delta Gamma Sorority and encouraged her to audition. She won the part and switched her major to Theater.
Elden T. Smith was born in January 1910 and graduated from Elyria High School in 1928. He received his undergraduate degree in Speech in 1932 from Ohio Wesleyan and a Masters in Drama and Theater from Western Reserve in 1933. He completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Western Reserve in 1948.
Prior to coming to BGSU in 1940 as an instructor in the Speech Department, Dr. Smith produced, directed and managed commercial Marionette shows for Duncan-Mabley Inc. During the 1940's and into the mid-1950's he served as the director of the university's Theater Department, was chair of the Speech Department and by 1947 would be named full professor. From 1946-1947 he was on leave from BGSU working under a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship from the National Theater Conference directing plays at Western Reserve.
In 1955 Dr. Smith was appointed Director of Student Life and Services at BGSU and in 1961 became Dean of Students. He and his wife Betty were also active advisors to Greek organizations. On May 19, 1961, Elden T. Smith assumed the position of Provost at Ohio Wesleyan and would become President there from 1962-1968.
Dr. Smith currently resides in Seminole, Florida.
|Scope and Content|
This small 1/2 cubic foot collection includes mostly correspondence, printed materials and photographs belonging to Elden T. Smith while he was employed at BGSU from 1940-1961.
Correspondence between Elden T. Smith and Irish visiting scholar/dramatist Lennox Robinson may appeal to literature, drama scholars and others interested in Irish theater management in general. (Robinson managed the Abbey Theater in Dublin, Ireland.) The letters are mostly a good nature exchange of daily news, comments and reminiscences about Robinson's visit to BGSU in 1947 and subsequent BGSU theater productions. Other correspondence focuses upon Elden T. Smith's hiring at BGSU in 1940 and his move toward administrative positions at BGSU in 1955.
Literary manuscripts include a copy of a script used by Betty Smith in a BGSU 1947 production of "The Plough and the Stars" by Sean O'Casey. The play was directed by Lennox Robinson. He inscribed and signed this copy which includes annotations.
Elden T. Smith's 1975 manuscript recounting the establishment of Phi Delta Theta at BGSU is also included among the literary productions. A 1942 article about BGSU President Frank Prout by Elden T. Smith can be found in an issue of The Scroll of Phi Delta Theta within printed materials in the collection.
Other notable printed materials include a few playbills from various BGSU theater productions presented from 1947-1955; Lennox Robinson's booklet "Pictures in a Theatre" about the Abbey Theatre; four volumes by Robinson signed and inscribed to Elden T. Smith; a biography about Lennox Robinson and a small selection of news clippings relevant to Elden T. Smith and various BGSU theater productions. Two articles (1958 and 2001) are the only documents in the collection concerning actress Eva Marie Saint.
Approximately one half dozen photographs in the collection include one of the Smiths and others at a football game at Ohio Weslyan (c.1943), the Smith and others at the installation of the BGSU Chapter of Theta Alpha Phi (dramatics honorary) and various Lennox Robinson-related photographs.
The collection ends with a reel-to-reel tape recording of Elden T. Smith's "This is Your Life" presentation at the Huron Playhouse in August 1955.
ELDEN T. SMITH - BGSU LETTERS
LENNOX ROBINSON LETTERS TO ELDEN T. SMITH
LENNOX ROBINSON LETTERS TO BETTY SMITH
SCRIPT OF "THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS" BY SEAN O'CASEY
"PHI DELTA THETA AT BGSU BY ELDEN T. SMITH
"SUMMER SCHOOL OF SPEECH"
THE SCROLL OF PHI DELTA THETA
"PICTURES IN A THEATRE"
ELDEN T. SMITH PHOTOGRAPHS
LENNOX ROBINSON PHOTOGRAPHS
MAGNETIC TAPE (REEL TO REEL)