Collection ID: LMC 2547
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Collection context


Smith, William Jay, 1918-2015
The Smith, W.J. mss., 1947-2007, consists of writings, translations, correspondence, and research materials of poet and translator William Jay Smith, 1918-2015.
13 Boxes
English .
Preferred citation:

[Item], Smith, W. J. mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.


Biographical / Historical:

Since publishing his first poem at the age of only fourteen, William Jay Smith, 1918-2015, had a long and productive career as a poet and translator, during which he wrote over 50 books of various genres and translated poetry in numerous languages. He was a winner of many major literary awards from both the USA and foreign countries. His distinguished talent led him to important positions, including teaching at several universities, working as a committee member of literary prizes, and serving as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, which is the position known today as US Poet Laureate. Smith's literary works are ranging over diverse genres and themes, from historical poem sequences to poetry for children. Smith was also a talented translator, whose translations of poetry include yet are not limited to French, German, Italian, Hungarian, and Scandinavian. Based on this outstanding linguistic ability, Smith visited a lot of foreign countries, actively engaged in literary, cultural, and political activities. This led to not only the copious records of travel but also a huge volume of research materials on foreign cultures and politics.

Scope and Content:

Correspondence includes letters written by or to Smith for both personal and official matters. Translation gathers translated works by Smith and other writers, along with research materials, reviews, and articles on literary translation. Writings contains literary works, essays, and lectures written by Smith, with The Cherokee Lottery taking up a huge portion. Mobil Pegasus Prize consists of correspondence and paperworks from the period when Smith worked as a reward committee of Mobil Pegasus Prize. Study Notes gathers Smith's notes and study materials on various subjects from high school to university. Travel gathers the records of Smith's visits to various countries, including correspondence, paperworks, and research materials on foreign cultures. Miscellaneous includes articles, clippings, and research materials in various subjects collected by Smith.

Acquisition information:
Purchase: 2005; Gift: 2011, 2012

The collection is organized into the following series: I. Correspondence, II. Translation, III. Writings, IV. Mobil Pegasus Prize, V. Study Notes, VI. Travel, VII. Miscellaneous.

Physical location:
ALF (Auxiliary Library Facility)



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[Item], Smith, W. J. mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Indiana University Bloomington
1200 East Seventh Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-5500, USA
Indiana University Bloomington
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