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Fredrika Shumway Smith Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-SmithFS

Scope and Content of the Collection

Typescript works and drafts, poems, artwork, correspondence, and publicity concerning the creation and publication of the books and articles by Smith.

There is some correspondence with book and magazine publishers regarding acceptance or rejection of book drafts and stories, and also some promotional materials and newspaper reviews of Smith's books. The publicity about the book Marco the Monkey includes two photographs showing how the books were displayed for sale in department stores. Most of Smith's drafts are typescript, and both published and unpublished drafts are represented in the collection. For some of the works, there is artwork, including layouts of pages, illustrations, prints, and occasionally illustrative maps.

These papers were originally a part of the Smith Family Papers and were separated out in October, 2010. Family correspondence and photographs of Fredrika Shumway Smith, and genealogical materials about the Shumway and Smith families, can be found in the Smith Family Papers.


  • Creation: 1941-1967



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Fredrika Shumway Smith Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Fredrika Shumway Smith Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Fredrika Shumway Smith

Chicago-area author of books for children and young adults from the 1940s through the 1960s.

Fredrika Shumway was born in Chicago in 1877. In 1900 she married Solomon Albert Smith III (1877-1963), who would later become President and subsequently Chairman of the Board of Chicago's Northern Trust Company. Fredrika Shumway Smith wrote stories for her four children and ten grandchildren, and late in life began to publish. She began by penning children's verse about animals and other stories. They were compiled into four books: The House in the Tree (1941); The Magic Stairway (1942); The Magic City (1949), and Marco the Monkey (1951). From the late 1940s through the 1960s she also wrote novels, mysteries, and biographies for young adults. She wrote a mystery for teenagers called The House and The Tower, and many biographies and histories, including a novel about living in Chicago in the 1890s (Rose and the Ogre, 1948), a history of the Chicago Fire (The Fire Dragon, 1956), and biographies of John Greenleaf Whittier, George Dewey, Isaac Hull, Henry Morton Stanley, and John Charles Fremont.

Smith continued to write until 1967, and often donated quantities of her books to schools and libraries. Her books were published primarily by Rand McNally & Company and Christopher Publishing House. She also had some success writing articles for children's magazines. Fredrika Shumway Smith died in 1968.


5 Linear Feet (8 boxes, 1 oversize box)


Book drafts, illustrations, and publicity about the children's and young adult books, stories, and verse written by Fredrika Shumway Smith, wife of banker and Northern Trust president Solomon A. Smith.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Author Series, 1941-1967
Box 1
Series 2: Works, 1949-1966
Boxes 2-8
Series 3: Artwork, undated
Box 9 (Oversize)

Collection Stack Location

1 31 1-2, 1 43 10

Other Finding Aids

See also the Smith Family Papers, Midwest Manuscript Collection, The Newberry Library, Chicago.


Gift, Edward Byron Smith, 1991.

Processed by

Alison Hinderliter, 2010.


This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Inventory of the Fredrika Shumway Smith Papers, 1941-1967
Alison Hinderliter
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States