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AL Smith Collection - Provenance

This catalogue combines all the existing A.L. Smith material at Balliol College, except administrative letters or documents to or from him as Fellow or Master within record series in the College Archive: The Papers of A.L. Smith, The Letters to A.L. Smith, later gifts from Lady Rosalind Clay, the gifts of Hubert J.F. Smith, Sir J. Oliver Wardrop, Edward A.C. MacCurdy and Sir Giles Bullard, and a large collection of academic notebooks. All the above items were kept separately until this catalogue was compiled.

The two major parts of the collection, the Papers and Letters, were given to the Library by the Smith family circa 1950 on the death of Mary Smith. She had acted as A.L. Smith's secretary, so kept his papers. Following this initial gift, Lady Rosalind Clay, one of Smith's daughters, gave further small items to the Library as she came across them. These included the bound set of "Empire and Papacy" papers (I A9/1), the "Accidie" paper (I A14/1iii), the box of "Political Thought" material worked on by her first husband, Prof. Murray Wrong (I B4/5) and various other small items. In 1980 she and the then-Librarian, E. Vincent Quinn arranged for her brother, Hubert J.F. Smith, to give a small collection of letters to his father that he had had since his father's death. These were a separate gift to the "Letters To A.L. Smith," and are listed at III A2.

Sir J. Oliver Wardrop gave a book of notes he took in Smith's lectures in 1937. Edward MacCurdy gave a similar gift in 1955. These are now listed as I A5/6 and I A5/7 resepectively. Sir Giles Bullard gave the material at IV B in 1987 - he acquired the material from his uncle, Lionel Smith, A.L. Smith's eldest son. In December 1992, when the Papers of James Leigh Strachan-Davidson were catalogued, a packet of material relating to Smith and the University Endowment Fund was discovered among them. This was transferred to the Smith Collection and is now listed as III B. The exact provenance of the academic notebooks is unclear - nowhere is there any mention of them being given along with the Papers and Letters. They may have been stored in the Bursary Basement along with the papers of many other college Fellows.

The College also holds a photograph album that belonged to A.L. Smith. This dates from the 1870s. The photographs in it are listed on the special collections photographic database with the prefix "ALS01." It is kept at the Historic Collections Centre in St Cross church, with the rest of the A.L. Smith material. The photos have not yet been individually described.

- Tim Procter, Modern Manuscripts Assistant, 1993

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Updated 27.xi.15
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