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Bradford Smith Papers

Identifier: mss-036

Scope and Content Note

The Bradford Smith Papers are part of a collection which includes first edition copies of most of Smith's own books, including translations into multiple languages and scripts. The papers include personal papers, journals, school essays, business and literary correspondence, manuscript notes, outlines and drafts of published and unpublished works. The works are divided into long and short works; a long work is defined as anything over one hundred papers, while a short work is anything less. Long works — novels, plays, non-fiction book-length studies — are arranged alphabetically. Short works — articles, columns, encyclopedia entries, pamphlets, poems, radio scripts, reviews, short stories and speeches — are alphabetically ordered. An alphabetical list of short works is available. Correspondence and papers dealing directly with a work are filed with that work. General correspondence is arranged chronologically. Material relating to social causes, personal matters, business and political activities is ordered alphabetically in a general subject classification. For researcher convenience; correspondence with Mark Van Doren and Dorothy Canfield Fisher is filed in this "Subject" category. An alphabetical list of other notable correspondents is also available.


  • 1926-1998

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Although Bradford Smith was born in North Adams, Massachusetts, and spent many years of his life abroad, he eventually settled in Shaftsbury, Vermont. His active involvement in state and municipal-affairs, coupled with his deep respect and admiration for Vermont, make him truly worthy of a place in both the heart and the archives of that state.

Brad Smith was born May 13, 1909, the son of William Wallis and Josephine (Cady) Smith. He attended MIT, and went on to Columbia, where he received his B.A. in 1930, followed by his M.A. in 1931. On July 25, 1931, he married Marion Collins, with whom he was to have one child, a son, named Alanson. Shortly after his marriage, Smith went to Japan, where he was a professor of English at St. Paul's University in Tokyo from 1931-36, and a lecturer in English language and Literature at the-Imperial University of Tokyo from 1934-36. In 1936 the Smiths returned to the States, arid Bradford taught at Columbia from 1936-40. From there he went to Bennington College, where he taught from 1940-42. During World War II Smith helped organize the Pacific Office of War Information, and had charge of its Honolulu headquarters from 1942-45. After postwar Guggenheim traveling fellowships (1946-48) Smith settled in Shaftsbury, Vermont, and wrote books on Japanese Americans and Hawaii, From 1948-49, he was director of Vermont Forums, and from 1950-51, he was a visiting professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. While there, he was involved in a Foreign Student Orientation Program. This interested him greatly, and from 1952-1961 he was director of the International Summer School at Bennington College. In 1957, both Brad and Marion were co-directors of a ship-board educational program from Japan. From 1957-1958, the Smiths toured Europe to conduct an Inquiry for the U.S. Dept. of State, on returned Fulbright Students. From 1959-1961, Smith directed the International Quaker Center in Delhi, India. In 1961 the Smiths returned to Vermont, where Smith continued his writing career, as well as his involvement in social and political causes. Smith lived quietly in Shaftsbury until he died of cancer on July 14, 1964.

Bradford Smith's books reflect the concerns and interests of his life: cultural exchange, historical investigations, and religious convictions. His publications include two standard biographies (Bradford of Plymouth and Captain John Smith), half a dozen social histories ranging from Why We Behave Like Americans (translated into more than two dozen Asiatic languages), to Portrait of India. He also wrote four novels, six juveniles and two religious studies, plus a book of poetry. His many articles, short stories and poems appeared in Atlantic, Harper's, Reader's Digest, Saturday Review, National Geographic, Vermont Life and many other magazines. Smith was also the author of a weekly column entitled Small World, which appeared in such papers as the Bennington Banner and the Rutland Herald from 1962-64. He also created a syndicated cartoon history American Adventure, for which he won a Freedoms Foundation Award in 1949 and 1950. A full bibliography of Smith's works is included in the collection.


11 Linear Feet (9 cartons)

Language of Materials



The Bradford Smith Papers include his writing, personal papers, journals, school essays, business and literary correspondence, manuscript notes, outlines and drafts of published and unpublished works, and material relating to social causes, personal matters, business and political activities.

Physical Location

Library Research Annex; contact for access.


Gift of Marion Smith, June 17, 1977

Guide to the Bradford Smith Papers
Finding aid prepared by Mary Gelinas
1980 April
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Edition statement
2022 Addition incorporated

Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)