Held by The Filson Historical Society
Creator: Smith, Margaret, 1892-1986
Title: Papers, 1920s-1971
Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Special Collections.
Size of Collection: 0.33 cubic feet and 1 volume
Locator Number: Mss. A S655
Scope and Content Note
The Margaret Smith papers consist of records created and retained by Margaret Smith. These records document the social activities and professional life of an African-American woman from the 1920s until her death in 1986.
The Margaret Smith papers contain one folder of personal and family correspondence, primarily letters and postcards from Henry Heyburn, with some letters from Susan Penn? (Margaret Smith’s mother). There is also correspondence in the form of letters and postcards from Maude and Lucius (possibly Maude Ursy), Kate Tarlton, and Mrs. J. G. Heyburn. The correspondence dates from the 1920s-1951, with some undated material.
Six volumes of personal diaries are included in the collection, covering the years 1925 and 1947-1971. These diaries consist of brief (often twenty words or less) entries describing Margaret Smith’s daily life. Topics include Smith’s daily routine, particularly work for the Heyburn family, recreational activities, weather, dental problems, her general health, and her attendance of Zion Baptist Church. While Smith occasionally notes major historical events (the inauguration of Lyndon Johnson and assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy, for example), she offers very little detail or personal thought on these matters.
Newspaper clippings include articles concerning Reverend D. E. King and Zion Baptist Church, Henry Heyburn and the Heyburn family, horse racing, Gus Petty “the dean of the clubhouse dining room waiters,” and the Angles Home of Vice-President Alben W. Barkley in Paducah, KY.
The miscellaneous envelopes folder contains a single 1926 envelope from Kentucky Central Life and Accident Insurance (Louisville, Kentucky) addressed to Margaret Smith at 1576 Henry Clay Ave., New Orleans, LA. No letter is included.
Miscellaneous papers include campaign paraphernalia for Henry R. Heyburn’s 1960 run for the House of Representatives, a program for the final service performed by Dr. D. E. King of Zion Baptist Church, commencement programs for Louisville Collegiate School and Milton Academy Boys’ School, and funeral programs for Maude Roberts Ursy and Margaret Smith.
Finally a scrapbook contains articles related to horse racing, boxing, the Heyburn family, newsworthy events, Rudolph Valentino, and President Franklin Roosevelt from 1932-1940s.
Separation Note: Photos in the collection were separated to the Filson's Photograph Collection (accession number 012PC46).
Margaret Smith was born 11 December 1892 [year uncertain] in Georgetown, Kentucky. She was a member of Zion Baptist Church (2200 West Muhammad Ali Boulevard, Louisville, Kentucky), and worked as a housekeeper for the John G. and Martha Heyburn family for sixty years. She does not appear to have married or had any children. She passed away on 6 October 1986.
Folder 1: Personal and Family Correspondence, 1920s-1957, undated
Volume 2: Diary, 1925
Volume 3: Diary, 1947-1951
Volume 4: Diary, 1952-1956
Volume 5: Diary, 1957-1961
Volume 6: Diary, 1962-1966
Volume 7: Diary, 1967-1971
Folder 8: Newspaper Clippings, 1958-1960s, undated
Folder 9: Miscellaneous Envelope, 1926
Folder 10: Miscellaneous, 1960-1986
Volume 11: Scrapbook
African Americans – Health and hygiene
African Americans – Kentucky – Louisville
Baptists – Kentucky – Louisville
Campaign paraphernalia – Kentucky
Clergy – Kentucky – Louisville
Commencement ceremonies – Kentucky – Louisville
Dentistry – Kentucky – Louisville
Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964
Housekeepers – Kentucky – Louisville
Kentucky Central Life and Accident Insurance Company
King, D. E. (Dearine Edwin), 1910-1993
Louisville Collegiate School
Manual work – Kentucky – Louisville
Milton Academy Boys’ School (Milton, Mass.)
Presidents – United States – Election – 1928
Smith, Alfred Emanuel, 1873-1944
Suppers – Kentucky – Louisville
United States. Army. Armored Division, 14th
Ursy, Maude Roberts, 1894-1979
Women household employees – Kentucky – Louisville
Zion Baptist Church