Fonds Level Description

Smith, Arthur James Marshall, 1902-1980



Arthur James Marshall Smith fonds. Additions. -- 1918-1981. -- 18 cm of textual records and other materials.


Arthur James Marshall Smith was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1902. He was educated at McGill University and received his B.A. in 1925 and his M.A. in 1926. In 1931 he received his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. At McGill University Smith edited the "McGill Daily Literary Supplement" from 1924 to 1925. When is was discontinued, Smith, along with F.R. Scott, founded and edited the "The McGill Fortnightly Review" in 1925. This was the first journal to publish modernist poetry and critical opinion in Canada. Throughout his lifetime, Smith's works were published in anthologies, and he became recognized nationally as a poet, critic and anthologist. He taught English at several American colleges before accepting a position, teaching English, at Michigan State University from 1936 until his retirement in 1972. Michigan University, upon his retirement, created the A.J.M. Smith Award, given annually for a noteworthy volume by a Canadian poet. Among Smith's most distinguished awards were the Governor General's Award in 1943, for "News of the phoenix and other poems", and the Lorne Pierce Medal in 1966. (Taken from: "Poets Between the Wars." Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1969.) In 1978 A.J.M. Smith received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Trent University. Trent University received a number of books and papers from Smith and a room on the first floor of the Bata Library was dedicated to him. In 1980 A.J.M. Smith died.


The fonds was in the custody of the Arthur James Marshall Smith Estate before it was donated to Trent University Archives.


This addition to the fonds consists of manuscripts, correspondence, photographs and sound recordings of Arthur James Marshall Smith. It also includes 1981 "In Memorium" items.


Title based on the creator of the fonds.

Includes 56 photographs, 3 audio disks and 1 audio reel.

The fonds was donated by the A.J.M. Smith Estate.

Restrictions: Permission of Professor Michael Peterman and the University Archivist. Permission of William Toye, literary executor, required for quotation.

Finding aids: Y

Associated material located at the National Archives of Canada (MG 30 - Glassco Papers); The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto; and the Rare Book Room, McLennan Library, McGill University.

This fonds is an addition to 78-007 , 99-1001 and 80-005.


Box 1


1: Introduction to Poetry: typescripts and manuscripts on the teaching of poetry, n.d. - 1966. Undated poetic response to letter in the Canadian Forum; invitation to launching of Smith's The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse; English 208 examinations

2: Emerson: manuscript (22p.), n.d., on the "Definition of Ambiguity"

3: Typescript copy of News of the Phoenix, 23p., (not paginated). On p.14 (p.2 of "The Lonely Land") is pencilled ms. line "split on a black pine". (Note: the table of contents is not the same as the published version - the contents are not as the table of contents indicates, and are not the same as the published version)

4: The Worldly Muse: letters and reviews, 1951-1952

5: Rina Lasnier: correspondence with and re (from John Glassco), 1966-1972; 1976

6: Personal letters regarding Classic Shade and Worldly Muse, 1951, 1976-1978

7: "Arthur and Jeannie: In Memoriam", by Leon Edel, 11 April 1981, (photocopy, 6p.); Michigan State University Memorial Service programme, 11 April 1981

8: Miscellaneous items re World Poetry Conference; Bob Pritchard's 1976 settings to music of Smith's "Sea Cliff"; M. Waddington's "Sea Bells"; E.J. Pratt's "Erosion"; and V. Francis' "To a Young Bull"; under the general title What Time and Tide Will Tell; related correspondence, 1980

9: A.J.M. Smith Poetry Reading (Lincoln Room, Kellogg Centre, 1963), with typescript poetry and reading lists

10: "Nonsense Poetry and Romanticism" - photocopy of typescript, 17p., 7p. typescript on nonsense poetry, paginated 17-23

11: Catherine Firestone: correspondence, 1977-1979; typescript poetry, photographs by Robert Turney

12: Correspondence, D-H, including Sandra Dwja, John Ferns, Leon Edel, John Glassco, and Ralph Gustafson

13: Blasted Pine 2 (MacMillan): correspondence, permissions and fees list, 1966-1967; typescript poetry by A.J.M. Smith, Frank Scott and Ralph Gustafson; A.J.M.S. commentary on Anne Wilkinson

14: Correspondence, etc., 1968-1980, especially regarding George Woodcock and Germain Warkentin; others include R. Gustafson, J. Glassco, L. Edel, Wm. Toye and Dennis Lee. Typescript poetry; photos of G. McEwan presentation

15: Reviews and correspondence regarding The Classic Shade, The Canadian Century, etc., 1974

16: Drafts of poems - "incomplete, immature, mostly early, not to be published". Access restricted to those with written permission of Wm. Toye. (Note: poem to George Woodcock also appears in folder 14) Includes English 208 course materials from Michigan State University

17: Revised typescript of Worldly Muse; proposed royalties agreement with Frank Scott for Blasted Pine, 1971

18: Correspondence with members of Trent University regarding A.J.M. Smith's visit to the University and the disposition of his library and papers; photographs taken at the opening of the A.J.M. Smith Room, Trent University (during a joint meeting of the Board of Governors and the Friends of the Bata Library). Includes materials from Michael Hornyansky (among them The Queen of Sheba, 1951), D.G. Jones, and printed copies of Newlin's settings, 1974-1980

Box 2


1: Photographs, n.d., 1918; 1925-1926; 1932; 1960-1967

2: Programmes from F.R. Scott Seventieth Birthday Celebration Dinner, Sept. 19, 1969. #1 autographed by F.R. Scott, P.E. Trudeau, Leon Edel and A.J.M. Smith; #2 inscribed "Frank Scott to Arthur Smith who introduced me to 'modern' poetry in gratitude". Items removed from folder 1.

3: Unidentified sound tape

4: Two unidentified 8" phonodiscs

5: One 10' phonodisc: one side contains A.J.M.S. reading "The Creek", "Hyacinth for Edith", and "Good Friday"; the other side contains "Poor Innocent", "For Healing", "The Archer", and "Epitaph"  

In July, 2003, one 5" reel-to-reel tape of A.J.M. Smith reading poetry in 1967 was added to the end of this accession. This tape was forwarded to Trent University Archives courtesy of Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.