Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
The archive was assembled after the death of Harry Smith, polymath filmmaker, painter, and collector of American vernacular art, music, and artifacts. It contains correspondence from the last three years of Smith's life, a selection of Smith's manuscripts and art, most of his original films, his final audio project, Materials for the Study of Religion and Culture in the Lower East Side or Movies for Blind People, and a sizeable portion of his realia collections, including paper airplanes.
Harry Smith, polymath filmmaker, painter, and collector of American vernacular art, music, and artifacts, was born on May 23, 1923 in Portland, Oregon. Smith grew up in Washington state, moving between the small rural towns of Anacortes and Bellingham, in the center of Pacific Northwest Coast Indian territory. Smith's father, Robert James Smith, worked in the salmon industry successively as a marine engineer, boat captain, and night watchman. His mother, Mary Louise Hammond, taught on the Lummi Indian Reservation from 1925 to 1932. The Harry Smith Archives was created in 1992 after Smith's death. Committed to the location, preservation and presentation of the work of artist Harry Smith, it is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization registered in the State of New York since 1998. On December 2nd, 1991, five days after Harry Smith died at the Chelsea Hotel, a group of Smith's colleagues gathered in the apartment of Raymond Foye. Attendees included Allen Ginsberg, Jonas Mekas, Joe Gross, Bill Breeze, Rani Singh, Deborah Freeman and others. The focus of the meeting was to discuss an immediate plan to collect and catalog Smith's remaining belongings and surmise about his continuing legacy.
229 Linear Feet (340 boxes, 4 flatfile folders)
Contact Library Reproductions and Permissions.
Open for use by qualified researchers with the following exceptions: audio visual material is unavailable until reformatted; Box 340 is sealed.