Main content

William M. Leary Collection on H. Alexander Smith


Held at: Princeton University Library: Public Policy Papers [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Public Policy Papers. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections


William M. Leary (1934-2006) was a historian who specialized in the history of aviation. He earned his doctorate in history from Princeton University in 1966, working under the historian Arthur S. Link. Leary's doctoral thesis on the politician H. Alexander Smith, titled Smith of New Jersey: A Biography of H. Alexander Smith, United States Senator From New Jersey, 1944-1959, was published as a book in 1976. During his career, Leary taught at Princeton, San Diego University, the University of Victoria in Canada, and finally at the University of Georgia at Athens, where he worked for thirty-two years.

The collection is composed of materials that William Leary consulted in the process of writing his doctoral thesis on H. Alexander Smith, along with a manuscript of his thesis and materials related to Leary himself. The consulted materials include a small amount of Smith's correspondence and writings and a syllabus from a politics class he taught at Princeton University in 1929. Other materials pertaining to Smith include recollections of Smith written by his family members and his executive assistant; date books from the years 1918 and 1919, kept by an unidentified associate of Smith's in the Commission for Relief in Belgium and the Food Administration; printed materials from some of the World War I-era relief organizations Smith was involved with; and four photographs of Smith, including one inscribed to Leary. Some of the materials created by or related to Smith were given to Leary by members of Smith's family via his professor, Arthur S. Link.

In addition to a manuscript of his doctoral thesis, other documents in the collection pertaining to William Leary include correspondence written to him between 1976-1979, mostly but not exclusively related to his Smith biography, and publicity materials for his published book, Smith of New Jersey (1976).

The order in which these materials came to Princeton has been maintained.

This collection was donated by Margaret Leary, William M. Leary's wife, in 2016. The accession number associated with this donation is ML.2016.013.

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

This collection was processed by Rachel Van Unen in 2016 at the time of accessioning. Some materials were placed into archival housing and all materials were described in a collection-level finding aid.

No materials were separated from this collection.

Public Policy Papers
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Collection Inventory

William M. Leary Collection on H. Alexander Smith, 1918-1979. 1 box.
Physical Description

1 box

Print, Suggest