Charles Alphonso Smith papers
Scope and Contents
The collection consists largely of clippings from newspapers and periodical regarding the English language and the introduction of slang words used by the military, ranging from 1905-1923. Included are Smith's outines of English courses taught at the US Naval Academy (1917-1923), and his lecture notes on the subject of English as an international language. Final items are letters of Smith's students at the US Naval Academy who contributed examples of military slang.
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This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.
Collection is open for use.
Conditions Governing Use
Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.
C. Alphonso Smith (28 May 1864 – 13 June 1924) was an American Professor of English, college dean, philologist, and folklorist. Smith was born in Greensboro, North Caroline. His parents were Jacob Henry Smith, and his second wife, Mary Kelly (Watson) Smith. Growing up in Greensboro, he was acquainted William Sydney Porter, working then as a clerk, later to become the writer known as O. Henry. They were close friends.
On 15 Nov 1905 Smith married Susan McGee Heck, with whom he had two sons and one daughter.
Smith received his A.B. degree from Davidson College, from which he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and in 1887 earned his M.A. from the same institution. He received a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1893. His dissertation was titled The Order of Words in Anglo Saxon Prose.
Smith was appointed Professor of English at Louisiana State University, where he taught from 1893-1902. He moved to the University of North Carolina in 1902 as head of its English department, and was appointed the first dean of its graduate school in 1903. He founded and edited the journal Studies in Philology. From 1909 to 1917 he taught at the University of Virginia, where he was appointed the first Edgar Allan Poe Professor of English. He was temporarily away from that position from 1910–11, while he served as Theodore Roosevelt Exchange Professor at the University of Berlin. In 1917 he became Head of the English Department at the United States Naval Academy.
Smith received degrees of LL.D. from the University of Mississippi, and an LL.D. from the University of North Carolina, and the degree of L.H.D. from the University of Cincinnati.
He was a founder of the Virginia Folklore Society. An important collection of his research, Traditional Ballads of Virginia, was edited by A. K. Davis, Jr. and published posthumously in 1929.
Smith's two most famous books are What Can Literature Do for Me?, a popular introduction to literary studies, and his biography of O. Henry, a more serious, academic work.
Biographical information adapted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._Alphonso_Smith, accessed 2017 March 1.
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Language of Materials
C. Alphonso Smith (1864 – 1924) was an American Professor of English, college dean, philologist, and folklorist. The collection consists largely of clippings from newspapers and periodical regarding the English language and the introduction of slang words used by the military, ranging from 1905-1923.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
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- Charles Alphonso Smith papers
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English
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