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Fonds Level Description

Accession Number: 81-019


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

Biography / History

Arthur James Marshall Smith was born in Montreal,Quebec in 1902. He was educated at McGill University and receivedhis B.A. in 1925 and his M.A. in 1926. In 1931 he received hisPh.D. from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. At McGillUniversity Smith edited the "McGill Daily Literary Supplement"from 1924 to 1925. When is was discontinued, Smith, along withF.R. Scott, founded and edited the "The McGill FortnightlyReview" in 1925. This was the first journal to publish modernistpoetry and critical opinion in Canada. Throughout his lifetime,Smith's works were published in anthologies, and he became recognizednationally as a poet, critic and anthologist. He taught Englishat several American colleges before accepting a position, teachingEnglish, at Michigan State University from 1936 until his retirementin 1972. Michigan University, upon his retirement, created theA.J.M. Smith Award, given annually for a noteworthy volume bya Canadian poet. Among Smith's most distinguished awards werethe Governor General's Award in 1943, for "News of the phoenixand other poems", and the Lorne Pierce Medal in 1966. (Takenfrom: "Poets Between the Wars." Toronto: McClellandand Stewart Limited, 1969.) In 1978 A.J.M. Smith received an honoraryDoctorate of Letters from Trent University. Trent University receiveda number of books and papers from Smith and a room on the firstfloor of the Bata Library was dedicated to him. In 1980 A.J.M.Smith died.

Custodial History

The fonds was in the custody of the ArthurJames Marshall Smith Estate before it was donated to Trent UniversityArchives.

Scope and Content

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


Title based on the creator of the fonds.

Includes 56 photographs, 3 audio disks and1 audio reel.

The fonds was donated by the A.J.M. SmithEstate.

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

Finding aids: Y

Associated material located at the NationalArchives of Canada (MG 30 - Glassco Papers); The Thomas FisherRare 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.

Finding Aid

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 pencilledms. line "split on a black pine".(Note: the table of contents is not the same as the publishedversion - 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 Shadeand Worldly Muse, 1951, 1976-1978

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

8: Miscellaneous items re World PoetryConference; Bob Pritchard's 1976 settingsto music of Smith's "Sea Cliff";M. Waddington's "Sea Bells"; E.J.Pratt's "Erosion"; and V. Francis' "Toa Young Bull"; under the general titleWhat Time and Tide Will Tell; relatedcorrespondence, 1980

9: A.J.M. Smith Poetry Reading (LincolnRoom, Kellogg Centre, 1963), with typescriptpoetry and reading lists

10: "Nonsense Poetry and Romanticism"- photocopy of typescript, 17p., 7p.typescript on nonsense poetry, paginated17-23

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

12: Correspondence, D-H, including SandraDwja, 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 andGermain Warkentin; others include R.Gustafson, J. Glassco, L. Edel, Wm. Toyeand Dennis Lee. Typescript poetry;photos of G. McEwan presentation

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

16: Drafts of poems - "incomplete, immature,mostly early, not to be published".Access restricted to those with writtenpermission of Wm. Toye. (Note: poem toGeorge Woodcock also appears in folder14) Includes English 208 course materialsfrom Michigan State University

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

18: Correspondence with members of TrentUniversity regarding A.J.M. Smith'svisit to the University and the dispositionof his library and papers; photographstaken at the opening of the A.J.M.Smith Room, Trent University (duringa joint meeting of the Board of Governorsand 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'ssettings, 1974-1980

Box 2


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

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

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.