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Lacey Baldwin Smith (1922-2013) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/16/26

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Scope and Contents

The Lacey Baldwin Smith Papers fill 15 boxes and span the years 1942-2003, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1970 to 1990. The papers document Smith's teaching career, painting a clear picture of the activities of a publishing academic. His correspondence with colleagues such as the important English Reformation historians G.R. Elton and A.G. Dickens places Smith at the cusp of the shift to the Revisionist movement in English Reformation history and historiography.

The papers include biographical materials, correspondence, and files relating to Northwestern University Committees (Restricted), department business, teaching, and publications.

The biographical materials date from 1942 to 2002 and include curricula vitae, materials relating to his education, honors and awards. Clippings document both personal events, such as his engagement to his future wife, and professional activities and achievements.

General correspondence forms the largest part of the collection, spanning the years 1955 to 2002, including incoming and outgoing correspondence. Smith's correspondence with Northwestern students revels not only a willingness to help students while in his classes, but a dedication to helping them after graduation by recommending them to colleagues and supporting their efforts to obtain grants.

Subject correspondence includes files specifically devoted to friends and colleagues. A large amount of correspondence with publishers reflects Smith's extensive writing career. In particular, the files relating to D.C. Heath & Co. and Jonathan Cape, Limited, discuss various book projects, possible project ideas, compensation and deadlines. Correspondence with organizations documents Smith's involvement in the American Historical Association, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Conference on British Studies.

Files pertaining to Smith's career at Northwestern University include administrative and teaching files. Administrative files date between 1962 and 1991. Correspondence on development includes fundraising for the department as well as for the Humanities Program as a whole, including files on lecture and scholarship funds, and the Presidential Fund for the Humanities. Files relating to the Graduate Program include the Ad Hoc Committee for changing the Graduate Program, the Curriculum Committee, and Evaluations of Grading procedures and the Graduate Program as a whole. History/Humanities Department files contain notes and memos from Smith in regard to the Holocaust Lecture Series he helped bring to the campus, as well as to the Council of Chairmen.

The Northwestern University Committee Files date from 1971-1994, including files on various Ad Hoc committees for tenure and promotion, the Hearings and Appeals Board and professor searches. These files are restricted.

Smith's Teaching files date from 1955-2001, and include class syllabi, exams, student evaluations and papers, and letters of recommendation. They are organized by class, including files containing his syllabi and exams, followed by files on specific graduate students, including student papers and letters of recommendation.

The Publications/Manuscripts material dates from 1951-2003 and includes unidentified manuscripts, unpublished manuscripts which include titles like "The Old Fox" and a proposal for a later published book (Fools, Martyrs, Traitors), as well as Vol. II of his dissertation, which includes the bibliography and notes as well as Chapter 10 (Epilogue) of the text. Re-prints, including "Showdown with Spain: Drake Beats the Armada" in The British Empire magazine, and articles including "Henry VIII and the Protestant Triumph", as well as posters and lecture texts are also included.

The files in Publications: Reviews include reviews of Smith's various books, including some reviews in German (and one in French) on books from A Tudor Tragedy (Die f├╝nfte Frau) to his work Fools, Martyrs, Traitors: The Story of Martyrdom in the Western World. These files also include many reviews written by Smith and all range from 1956-2001.


  • 1942-2003


Conditions Governing Access

Files relating to Smith's service on tenure committees and files relating to student exams and evaluations are restricted. Permission to use the restricted files must be obtained from the History Department Chair.


15.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



Tudor historian Lacey Baldwin Smith taught at Northwestern University from 1955 to 1993. His papers date from 1942 to 2003, with the bulk dating from 1970 to 1990. The papers fill 15 boxes and consist largely of correspondence between Smith and colleagues, students, and business associates. His correspondence with colleagues such as the important English Reformation historians G.R. Elton and A.G. Dickens places Smith at the cusp of the shift to the Revisionist movement in English Reformation history and historiography.


The papers of Lacey Baldwin Smith are organized into: biographical materials; correspondence (general, arranged by date; subject, and organizations, each arranged alphabetically); Northwestern University (general, and committee files, both arranged alphabetically by topic); teaching files (arranged by cours number, plus miscellaneous topics); publications (manuscripts, dissertation, reprints and lectures; reviews of Smith's works, and reviews by Smith)

Method of Acquisition

Files donated from Lacey Baldwin Smith include Accession Nos. 05-6, 03-29 and 07-31. Materials from the Archives' Faculty Biographical file have been integrated into this collection.

Separated Materials

Approximately one cubic foot of duplicate or extraneous materials was discarded.

Processing Information

Regina Gorham July 2008

Guide to the Lacey Baldwin Smith (1922-2013) Papers
Regina Gorham
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US