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