Russell Smith family papers
Held at: Old York Road Historical Society [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Old York Road Historical Society. 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
The Smiths were a family of artists who worked and lived at their home in Edgehill, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Russell Smith (1812-1896) was a prominent theater curtain painter who became a landscape painter, and his son Xanthus (1839-1929) was known for his Civil War naval battle scenes.
This collection consists of Smith family papers relating primarily to the finances of Xanthus’s wife Mary B. Smith (1860-1938), 1902-1938, her husband’ estate, and her estate as administered by her sons, 1902-1942. There is some material on Russell’s care of family estate matters, as well as materials that relate to other Smith family members. Xanthus Smith’s diary, 1920, records his work on his autobiography, his painting and sales, cleaning of his fathers drop landscapes, and his other activities at Edgehill and in Philadelphia. Art work clipped from magazines is pasted in. There is also his account book, 1904-1910, continued as Mary B. Smith’s accounts, 1928-1933. Xanthus’s sons are represented by Xanthus R. Smith’s boyhood diary, 1896-1898, in which he describes running the Edgehill railroad, a fire in Philadelphia, a snow storm, coasting, and games, with lists of names of railroad cars and sketches of railroad cars, foreign flags, ships, and other illustrations. A small amount of financial material relates to George R. Smith, Xanthus’s other son. There are deeds and other papers concerning family real estate.
The papers also include pencil and ink sketches and watercolors of both Russell and Xanthus Smith, family photographs and snapshots, scrapbooks with European engravings and childhood drawings.
Following is a partial inventory of the collection:
Box 1 ff. 1-2 Russell Smith Papers, 1805, 1852-1899: Miscellaneous correspondence, wills, etc., regarding family estates. Note on “Bosler’s Dam” painting f. 3 Xanthus Smith Papers, 1878-1929: Miscellaneous correspondence regarding Weldon property, oil sales. Diary, 1920 Account book, 1904-1910, with Mary B Smith accounts, 1928-1933. f. 4 Mary B. Smith Papers: Binder Estate accounts, 1902-1919, 1950. f. 5 Mary B. Smith Papers: Trenton & New Brunswick Railroad Co., 1908-1912, concerning reorganization. f. 6 Mary B. Smith Papers: Xanthus Smith Pension papers, 1909-1930. ff. 7-8 Mary B. Smith Papers: Xanthus Smith Estate papers and correspondence with Gilbert Rodman Fox, 1917, 1929-1938. ff. 9-10 Mary B. Smith Papers: Pennsylvania Company for Insurance on Lives and Granting Annuities correspondence and accounts, 1923, 1929-1938.
Box 2 ff. 1-2 Mary B. Smith Papers: Estate wills, correspondence, bank statements, and other papers, 1938-42, George R. Smith and Xanthus R.Smith, executors. ff. 3-4 George R. Smith Papers, 1938-1949, 1953: miscellaneous financial records and estate papers, Xanthus R. Smith, executor. f. 5 Xanthus R. Smith diary/sketchbook, 1896-98 ff. 6-7 Smith Family miscellaneous real estate papers f. 8 Smith Family miscellaneous f. 9 Pamphlets, including: Science of Photography, vol. 1 no. 8, Nov. 1888 (James W. Queen & Co., Philadelphia); Welcome Home Celebration Tribute of the Borough of Jenkintown to Its Heroes and Returned Service Men, November 8, 1919 ff. 10-12 Clippings relating to Smith family, Pennsylvania flood, March 1936, and other. f. 11 Ephemera
Box 3 Deeds
Box 4 Sketches, watercolors, other works on paper
Box 5 Family photograph album and snapshots
Box 6 Scrapbooks, with European engravings and children’s drawings
Binder 1 Photographs
Binder 2 Reproductions of photographs from other sources
Binder 3 Exhibit catalogs, correspondence, and other Smith family background material
There are several other boxes in the collection that contain sketches done by various other family members.
A large portion of the materials in this collection were acquired from the Smith family, Donald Tharpe P. O. Box Q, Bethel, PA, 1992. Other materials were gifts of Joy Piscopo, McClees Galleries, and the Brackin family.
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2011-2012 as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR), using data provided by the Old York Road Historical Society. The HCI-PSAR project was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was done in the HCI-PSAR project.
- Old York Road Historical Society
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories using data provided by the Old York Road Historical Society.
- This preliminary finding aid was created by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) using data provided by the Old York Road Historical Society. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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