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William Cunningham Smith Papers

Identifier: MSS 0039

Scope and Contents

The William Cunningham Smith Papers date from 1897 to 1952 and consist of class notes, the texts of talks delivered about literature and the Bible, correspondence, biographical material, programs, clippings, and manuscripts.

Documents include: extensive notes for Dr. Smith's literature classes at Woman's College and for his talks on Robert Browning; handwritten and typed texts of a number of his speeches, many of which honored his colleagues in the field of education and other notable North Carolinians; two manuscripts of the biographical sketch, "Charles Duncan McIver" (published in The Biographical History of North Carolina from Colonial Times to the Present); other biographical data on McIver; a copy of the memorial volume, Charles Duncan McIver, with hand-written corrections and annotations; manuscripts of a lecture entitled Jonah, for his men's bible class; and drafts of historical essays entitled Eli Washington Caruthers, The Scotch-Irish in North Carolina, and Genesis of NC College for Women.

Included are notes, explanations of Bible passages, and texts of lectures on various Bible verses and chapters. The majority of these are from the Gospel of St. John. Two related items concern the teaching of the Bible in the public schools of Chattanooga, Tennessee, by JP McCallie, and an essay entitled The Influence of the Presbyterian Church in North Carolina in the 18th Century (no author noted).

Correspondence dates from 1909 to1942 and is concerned with the men's bible class taught by Dr. Smith, guest speakers at other local churches, and letters both inquiring about and praising Smith's speaking engagements and publications. Also of note is a letter from Laura Worth at Guilford College concerning the genealogy of the family of the Reverend Daniel Worth, a Methodist Minister who was imprisoned in Guilford County for circulating abolitionist literature in 1857.

Also included are biographical information and clippings. The clippings concern the Browning lectures and bible class mentioned above, other public lectures, obituaries, and miscellaneous items.


  • 1897 - 1952


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

William Cunningham Smith (1871-1943) was born in Greensboro and educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He attended graduate school at Harvard University and the University of Wisconsin. In 1900 he came to the State Normal and Industrial College (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) as a professor of English, and in 1904 he became head of the department. In 1905 Dr. Smith became Dean of the College, in 1915 Dean of the Faculty, and in 1922 Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. During his tenure at the College he was chairman of chapel and conducted devotional services. He also served as an extension lecturer.

In addition to his work as a professor, Dr. Smith was in demand as a local speaker. He taught the men's bible class at First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, and gave a very popular series of lectures on Robert Browning under the auspices of the literature division of the Woman's Club of Greensboro. He also edited a memorial volume on Charles Duncan McIver, and was the author of a number of other publications, including Studies in American Authors, The Literary Study of the Bible, Christ the Teacher, and other articles and pamphlets concerning Bible study.

Dr. Smith was married to Gertrude Allen of Greensboro; they had four daughters and a son. He retired in 1941 after 41 years of active service for the College.


1.30 Linear Feet (4 boxes, 1 diploma)

Language of Materials



William Cunningham Smith (1871-1943) taught English at the State Normal and Industrial College (now UNCG), and eventually became Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. He was also a popular speaker on the Bible and edited a memorial volume on Charles Duncan McIver.

The William Cunningham Smith Papers date from 1897 to 1952 and consist of class notes, the texts of talks delivered about literature and the Bible, correspondence, biographical material, programs, clippings, and manuscripts.

Method of Acquisition

Received by Jackson Library following Smith's passing, date unknown. Additional items donated by Mary Rhyne in 1973.

Offensive Language Statement

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Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US