Smith, Margaret (1892-1986) Papers, 1920-1971

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).

Biographical Note

Margaret Smith was born 11 December 1892 2021 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 List

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

 Wrapped separately:

Volume 11: Scrapbook


Subject Headings

 African Americans – Health and hygiene

African Americans – Kentucky – Louisville


Baptists – Kentucky – Louisville

Campaign paraphernalia – Kentucky

Children’s drawings

Clergy – Kentucky – Louisville

Commencement ceremonies – Kentucky – Louisville

Crayon drawing

Dentistry – Kentucky – Louisville

Heyburn, Henry

Heyburn family

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.)

Motion pictures

Presidents United StatesElection1928

Race relations


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


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