Smith family papers, 1878-1935
Collection Scope and Content
Of the 261 files in the Smith Family papers, the majority are the papers of three Smith women. Series one contains materials pertaining to Marion Howard Smith (the central figure in the collection, 1849-1910). Series two consists of materials related to Marion Stuart Smith and series three is devoted to papers of daughter-in-law Susan Smith, including correspondence, legal and financial documents, playbills and photographs and illustrations. Series four gathers together correspondence, photographs and other materials related to other Smith family relations, including Christine Louise Smith (1869-1902), Harold Joseph Emerson Smith (1877-1942), Henry Mellen Prentiss (1840-1906) with a few files from Marion Howard Smith’s birth family members‑her father, Daniel M. Howard (1816-1895) and her brother, Frederick Howard (1840-1899).
Marion Howard Smith was born in Bangor, Maine, the fourth child of Eliza Anne and Daniel Mosely. Besides her two brothers, she had a sister, Blanche Willis Howard, who went on to a distinguished career as a writer and is well represented in the Maine Women Writers Collection. In 1866, Marion Howard married into the family of the former governor of Maine, Samuel Emerson Smith of Wiscasset. Marion married the governor’s son, Benjamin Fuller Smith and had four children: Howard Bainbridge, Christine Louise, Marion Stuart and Harold Joseph Emerson. Benjamin Smith died in 1885 and Marion subsequently married Henry Mellen Prentiss in 1901. Henry died in 1906 and Marion died in 1910.
Her papers hold numerous letters to and from her children and a good collection of invoices which give evidence to her lifelong concern with money. Marion Stuart Smith (her daughter, b. 1871) was an actress and her collection is highlighted by her theatre memorabilia and delightful letters with her male and female friends in the theater. The third woman well represented in the collection was the daughter-in-law of Marion Howard Smith, a writer named Susan Smith (1882-1934).