|Columbia University Archives|
At a Glance
This collection consists of correspondence, photographs and an unpublished manuscript by Professor Milton Smith titled Ready or Not. This manuscript includes Smith's personal recollections of theater at Columbia and the150 plays produced by the Morningside Players and the Columbia Theater Associates from 1927 to 1958, staged first in Earl Hall and then in the Brander Matthews Theater. He was working on it at the time of his death in 1981. The correspondence includes letters to and from Smith, in particular his correspondence with Helen Pond and Herbet Senn. There is also correspondence between Nancy Smith (Milton's daughter) and Herbert Senn after her father's death. The papers also include planning documents and correspondence concerning a memorial event for Smith which was arranged in 1982.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
This collection is located on site.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Milton M. Smith papers; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
No additions are expected.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Correspondence, photographs and memorial planning documents were donated by Jessica Linehan in May 2023. It is not clear how we came to possess the unpublished manuscript.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
2023-10-20 Re-named collection "Milton M. Smith papers" from "Milton M. Smith Manuscript" and added new materials received from Jessica Linehan in May 2023.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
A native of Springfield, MA, Milton Myers Smith graduated from Clark University and received Master's (1919) and doctorate (1930) degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University. He taught speech and English at Teachers College from 1921 to 1946, when he became Professor of Dramatic Arts at Columbia. Smith directed the Morningside Players and helped to form the Columbia Theater Associates. He served as the director of the Brander Matthews Theather. The playhouse was named after the 33-year Columbia University faculty member and the first professor of dramatic literature in the United States. It was built as an experimental theater and workshop in 1940, on 117th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive. The building was torn down in 1958 to make room for the new Law School building. With the demolition, the School of Dramatic Arts was forced to announce in April 1957 that there would be no admission of a freshman class in the fall. Milton retired from Columbia in 1961. He passed away in November 1981.