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Henry Justin Smith Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-SmithHJ

Scope and Content of the Collection

This collection consists mainly of manuscripts of historical and fictional works by Smith. A small amount of incoming correspondence, photographs, a poem entitled "The Reporters Litany" by Ben Hecht, a special issue of the Chicago Daily News honoring Smith, and other mementos are also included in his papers. The correspondence includes single letters from Sherwood Anderson, Vincent Starrett, Carroll Binder (re: life as a foreign correspondent) and others. In 2008 there was an addition of a scrapbook containing letters and accolades for Smith's "It's the Way It's Written," materials by and concerning Ben Hecht, family snapshots, a portrait of Smith, and contracts and clippings relating to Smith's own works.


  • Creation: 1912-1980
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1912 - 1935



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

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

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Henry Justin 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 Henry Justin Smith

Managing Editor of the Chicago Daily News and author.

Henry Justin Smith, a native of Chicago, IL, was born in 1875 to Justin A. and Mary L. Smith. He attended the Morgan Park Military Academy and the University of Chicago.

He became a reporter for the Chicago Daily News in 1899. He advanced as the city editor from 1901-1906, the assistant managing editor from 1906-1913, and the news editor from 1913-1924. He left the Chicago Daily News from 1924-1926, serving as assistant to the president of the University of Chicago. In 1926 he returned as managing editor. He kept this post until his death from pneumonia on February 9, 1936. Smith was survived by his wife, Katherine A. Smith.

In addition to his career as a newspaper man, Smith was also a historian and an author of fiction. He wrote several books about Chicago including Chicago: the History of its Reputation, co-authored with Lloyd Lewis. Smith wrote several popular fictional works, including Josslyn and Deadlines. In 1931, he was awarded the Chicago Foundation for Literature’s fiction prize.


2.3 Linear Feet (6 boxes)


Manuscripts of works, correspondence, and mementos of Henry Justin Smith, author and Chicago Daily News reporter, city editor, news editor, and managing editor.


The papers are arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Collection Stack Location

1 31 1


Gift, Katherine A. Smith, 1956; Robyn S. Haynes, 2008.

Processed by

Shannon Yule, 2006; Lisa Janssen, 2010 (addition).


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 Henry Justin Smith Papers, 1912-1980, bulk 1912-1935
Shannon Yule
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