Ellison A. Smyth, Sr. Papers,
Scope and Contents
The Ellison A. Smyth, Sr. collection contains papers including correspondence with professional and amateur scientists, collectors, dealers and suppliers around the world, including H.H. Bailey, Carl Braun, Jonathan Dwight, E.K. Harvey, and James R. Randolph. The collection also includes correspondence with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Entomological Society, Boston Society of Natural History, Linnean Society of New York, and the University of Notre Dame Botany Department; reprints of articles written by Smyth; literature on topics in biology and science; and his notes, written in 1912, on birds in Montgomery County, Virginia. Additionally, the collection contains a series of field journals and film negatives from Smyth's trips abroad. Other items in the collection include lecture notes (biology, botany, and evolution) and exam questions from the 1900s-1920s.
Please note: This collection does include Ellison A. Smyth, Sr.'s glass plate negatives. The glass plate negatives are boxes and included in the description. We have a working spreadsheet inventory that is linked to the finding aid.
- 1859 - 1927
Language of Materials
The materials in the collection are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials. Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: http://bit.ly/scuareproduction. Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: http://bit.ly/scuapublication. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives (email@example.com or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.
Ellison Adger Smyth, Sr. was born in Summerton, South Carolina on October 26, 1863 and died in Salem, Virginia on August 19, 1941. Smyth received a Master's degree from Princeton in 1887 and an honorary degree of LL.D in 1906 from the University of Alabama. In 1891, Smyth moved to Blacksburg, Virginia in order to found the Biology Department at VPI with John McLaren McBryde. At VPI, Smyth was a Professor of Biology from 1891 until 1925, the first dean of the faculty from 1903-1906, the dean of the Department of Applied Science from 1916-1920, and faculty advisor to students in biology and pre-medical from 1920-1925. Ellison Adger Smyth, Sr. married Grace Allan in 1896, with whom he had five children.
7.8 Cubic Feet (15 boxes)
The Ellison A. Smyth, Sr. collection contains papers including his correspondence with professional and amateur scientists, collectors, dealers and suppliers around the world concerning entomology and zoology, his publications, and field journals from his entomological work.
The collection is arranged in seven series, organized by material type.
Series I: Correspondence, includes personal and professional correspondence to and from Smyth. Loose letters are arranged alphabetically correspondent. Correspondence in letterbooks is in its original order. Series II: Elliot Society Ephemera includes information on the natural history organization, as well as publications from it. Series III: Publications and Research Notes contains copies of publications by Smyth and notes from his research in and around Montgomery County, Virginia. Series IV: Newspaper Clippings consists of a single scrapbook created by Smyth. Series V: Field Journals includes Smyth field research on a variety of biology and botany topics. Series VI: Teaching Materials consists of handwritten notes by Smyth during his tenure at Virginia Agriculture and Mechanical College. The majority of the notes relate to biology, botany, and evolution lectures, although there are also exam questions. Series VII: Photographic Negatives contains three collections of negatives--a set of images from Bedford County, Virginia; a set of images from Bermuda, taken in 1904; and a set of images taken in Jamaica in 1906.
Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated to Virginia Tech in multiple accessions from 1981 to 2011.
Rights Statement for Archival Description
The guide to the Ellison A. Smyth, Sr. Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/).
The processing, arrangement, and description of the Ellison A. Smyth, Sr. Papers was completed in April 2013.
- Local/Regional History and Appalachian South
- Montgomery County (Va.)
- Science and Technology
- Smyth, Ellison A. (Ellison Adger), 1863-1941
- University History
- Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (1872-1896)
- Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute (1896-1944)
- Ellison A. Smyth, Sr. Papers, 1859-1927
- Hannah Bochain, Student Assistant, and Kira A. Dietz, Archivist
- 2013 (CC0 1.0)
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- 2020-08-05: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags
- 2022-07-29: Boxes with glass plate negatives added to inventory. kad
Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository
Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US