Harry Allen Smith papers, 1930-1976
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Brief Description: This collection of papers of H. Allen Smith consists largely of correspondence, manuscripts, books by Smith, reference notes and clippings, ranging in dates from 1930-1976. Notable correspondents include Fred Allen, Gene Fowler, Fred Beck, Rufus Blair, H.L. Mencken, Joan Crawford, Alma Reed, Gene Austin, and Smith's agent, Harold Matson. In addition to this material there are also two scrapbooks of early newspaper articles by Smith, and a number of early tapes on interviews for radio programs.  A television tape of One Coat of White, which was taped for the Playhouse 90 series, is packaged at the end of the collection, along with microfilms of early interoffice memoranda and correspondence with Ed Bellerson and Bo McAnney of the New York World-Telegram.
Held at:
Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
605 Agriculture Dr.
MC 6632
Carbondale, IL 62901
Phone: 618-453-2516
Fax: 618-453-3451
Email: speccoll [at] lib.siu.edu
Record Series Number: 1/6/MSS 121
Created by: Smith, H. Allen (Harry Allen), (1907-1976.)
Volume: 86.0 Boxes
Arrangement: Arranged by document type.
Biographical Note for Smith, H. Allen (Harry Allen), (1907-1976.) :

Harry Allen Smith was born December 19, 1907, in McLeansboro, Illinois, and in 1929 he began work with the United Press as a rewrite man.  He was soon doing feature stories, and became well known for his unconventional interviews with celebrities and assorted personalities.  He stayed five years with the United Press and then worked five years with the New York World-Telegram, doing much the same thing.  His book "Lo, The Former Egyptian" gave a humor-based account of his return to the region in the 1940's.

Smith's first publication was a commissioned biography of industrialist Robert Gair in 1939.  Soon after that he wrote a spoof of Hitler entitled Mr. Klein's Kampf.  His next attempt was Low Man on the Totem Pole, culled from his experience and interviews as a columnist and newspaper.  This book, published in 1941, became a best seller and established Smith's fame as a humorist.

Throughout the 50's and 60's, Smith published about a book a year, plus hundreds of articles for such magazines as Reader's Digest, Saturday Evening Post, Playboy, and Esquire.  He wrote numerous articles and books based on his travels to London, Mexico, Hawaii, Tahiti, and throughout the U.S.  In 1946, Smith published his first novel, Rhubarb, which subsequently became a movie, and inspired him to eventually write two sequel novels.  The third Rhubarb novel, The View from Chivo, was published in 1971.  Around this time, Smith began collecting material for a biography of Gene Fowler, a man he had loved and respected all his life.  This book, The Life and Legend of Gene Fowler, was published posthumously in Spring 1977.  Smith died in February of 1976 while in San Francisco gathering material for articles and books.

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted access.
Subject Index
Smith, H. Allen (Harry Allen), 1907-1976.
Genres/Forms of Material
Allen, Fred, 1894-1956 - Correspondence
Austin, Gene, 1900-1972 - Correspondence
Beck, Fred - Correspondence
Bellerson, Ed - Correspondence
Blair, Rufus - Correspondence
Crawford, Joan, 1908-1977. - Correspondence
Fowler, Gene. - Correspondence
Manuscripts for publication.
Matson, Harold, 1898- - Correspondence
McAnney, Bo. - Correspondence
Mencken, H.L. (Henry Louis), 1880-1956. - Correspondence
Reed, Alma M - Correspondence
Smith, H. Allen (Harry Allen), 1907-1976. - Correspondence
Smith, H. Allen (Harry Allen), 1907-1976. - Manuscripts
Video recordings
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: To quote in print or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the World Wide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult Special Collections Research Center to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.
Acquisition Notes:   Books donated by Patricia Corrigan
PreferredCitation: [Item], Harry Allen Smith papers, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.