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Ware R. Smith diaries

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: Coll2008-029

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 newspaper clippings.

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.


  • 1952-1986



The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

Publication Rights

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 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


1.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



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 1956-1958.

Acquisition Information

Probable source: bequest of the estate of Ware R. Smith in 1987.

Processing Information

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 Commission.

Ware R. Smith Diaries Coll2008.029
Johanna Michael
© 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in: English

Repository Details

Part of the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, University of Southern California Repository

909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles California 90007 United States
(213) 821-2771