Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Ware R. Smith diaries
Collection number: Coll2008-029
Smith, Ware Rayburn, 1935-1986
Collection Size: 5 archive cartons.
1.5 linear feet.
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.
Los Angeles, California 90007
Abstract: Journals and notebooks kept by Ware R. Smith, an
openly gay teacher/professor and writer who died of AIDS in 1986. The bulk of
the collection consists of Smith's fifteen journals and the loose items he
stored in them, documenting his life experience from 1952 to shortly before his
death. The collection also includes two notebooks of his writings from
Languages: Languages represented in
the collection: English
The collection is open to researchers. There are no access
Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in
writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner.
Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in
the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant
copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for
all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).
Ware R. Smith diaries, Coll2008-029, ONE National Gay and Lesbian
Archives, Los Angeles, California.
Donor and date of gift unknown.
Collection processed by Johanna Michael,
June 9, 2008.
Processing this collection has been funded
by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records
Ware Rayburn Smith was born on March 20, 1935, in Indiana. He served in
the army during the Korean War, then went on to attend Kenyon College and
complete his Bachelor's Degree in English in 1959. He was an aspiring writer
and kept extensive journals about his life beginning in college as part of his
writing process. Finding a calling in academia, he applied to graduate school
and completed his Master's Degree in Literature at the University of
California, Berkeley, in 1964. He began teaching at Oakland City College and
San Mateo College in 1965, then accepted a teaching position at the University
of Hawaii. He remained there until 1967, when he decided to pursue a PhD at the
University of Iowa. Smith was an outspoken anti-war activist while at the
University of Hawaii and the University of Iowa, receiving recognition as such
by local newspapers in both cities.
By 1969, Smith had completed all doctoral degree requirements except his
dissertation on poetry by Hart Crane and began teaching at the University of
Wyoming. After one year there, he decided to return to California and teach at
San Francisco City College while working on his dissertation. Smith completed
the dissertation and officially received his degree in 1974. He then sought a
position on the east coast and was hired by the Smithsonian Press in
Washington, DC, where he worked for one year. In 1977, he was offered a
teaching position at Clarkson College of Technology in New York. He remained in
New York until shortly before his death, also teaching at La Guardia Community
College (1979-1981) and Long Island University (1981-1985). When he became ill
and was eventually diagnosed with AIDS, he moved back to Berkeley and died
there in July of 1986. None of his writings has been published.
Source: Ware R. Smith Diaries, Coll2008-029, ONE National Gay &
Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California
Scope and Content of Collection
This collection consists of Smith's journals and notebooks. Smith's
journals, the earliest loose leaf typescripts and manuscripts, and 15 bound
volumes, are arranged chronologically from 1952-1986. His entries are almost
all dated, and were written at frequent intervals during most years. Every
journal contained at least one loose item placed between the pages; some larger
journals contained over twenty loose items. These include journal entries
written on loose-leaf paper, correspondence, notes, mementos, photographs and
The collection also contains two of Smith's writing notebooks from
college. The first, from 1956, contains two untitled short stories (the second
with a list of tentative titles), one journal entry dated November 18, 1956,
and two short radio announcement scripts. The second, from 1957-1958, contains
three poems (two untitled, one called "Study in the Library"), two short
stories: "Decision" and "The Friends," one letter (to Bonnie), and one journal
entry dated October 5, 1958.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this
collection in the library's online public access catalog.
AIDS (Disease)--Diaries, letters, and
Diaries, letters, and memoirs
Gays in higher education
Smith, Ware Rayburn,