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Harvey Smith Jr. papers

Collection number: ahc.MSS576

Scope and Contents

This collection contains personal, business, and research papers collected by Harvey M. Smith Jr. Research papers include the history of textiles, potpourri, family history, the trade of enslaved persons, and Thomas Sheraton (1751-1806). Documents include notes, correspondence, periodical clippings, design plates, and appraisements. Civil War papers primarily focus on Confederate Naval financial records. Of particular note are account books and correspondence from Richard Taylor (1826-1879), paymaster of the Confederate States Navy. Personal and business papers includes Smith’s personal correspondence, invitations, financial and donation records, decorative arts designs (mostly floral), periodical clippings, a rough draft of his memoirs, and documents from his interior design companies. Of particular note is correspondence with, and documents about, Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949), Claud J. Herndon (1912-1980), and Smith’s parents, Harvey M. Smith Sr. (1866-1944) and Minnie Robertson Smith (1873-1963).


  • 1692-1993, undated
  • Majority of material found in 1800-1980


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Biographical / Historical

Harvey M. Smith Jr. (1906-1994) was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Harvey Smith Sr. (1866-1944) and Minnie Robertson Smith (1873-1963). He graduated from Boys High School in 1924 and attended Emory University and Oglethorpe University. In the 1930s, Smith traveled through Western Europe and studied architecture in Italy. Upon his return to the United States he became a publisher for Southern Architectural Review. Between 1943 and 1958, he served in the United States Marine Corps, attaining the rank of major in 1951. He later moved to New York City, where he ran interior design and fabric companies that specialized in curtains and wallpaper with floral motifs. Although his research was never published, Smith researched textiles, the Civil War, his family genealogy, and the history of Chambers County, Alabama, where the Smith family originated. Smith was also a collector of decorative arts, fine arts, rare books, and documents. From the late 1940s until his passing, Smith split his time between his homes in Beaufort, South Carolina, New York City, and his hotel in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. His personal collections are held at Atlanta History Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Michael C. Carlos Museum, Juliette Gordon Low House, and the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences.


12.59 linear ft. (20 document cases, four flat files, and three oversize boxes)





This collection is arranged into three series: Series I: Research records; Series II: Civil War documents; and Series III: Personal and business papers. Series are arranged alphabetically by titles supplied by staff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1983, with subsequent additions

Related Materials

VIS 450

Related Materials

Harvey M. Smith decorative arts book collection, Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center

Bias in Description

As archivists, we acknowledge our role as stewards of information. We choose how individuals and organizations are represented and described in our archives. We are not neutral, and bias is reflected in our descriptions, which may not accurately convey the racist or offensive aspects of collection materials. Archivists make mistakes and might use poor judgment. In working with this collection, we often re-use language used by the former owners of the material. This language provides context but often includes bias and prejudices reflective of the time in which it was created. The Kenan Research Center’s work is ongoing to implement reparative language where Library of Congress subject terms are inaccurate and obsolete.

Kenan Research Center welcomes feedback and questions regarding our archival descriptions. If you encounter harmful, offensive, or insensitive terminology or descriptions, please let us know by emailing Your comments are essential to our work to create inclusive and thoughtful description.

Content Advisory

This collection contains original unedited versions of all content. Some material may contain depictions of violence, offensive language, or negative stereotypes reflecting the culture or language of a particular period or place. There may be instances of racist language and depictions, particularly regarding African Americans. These items are presented as part of the historical record for the purpose of education and research. The viewpoints expressed in this collection do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the Atlanta History Center or any of its officers, agents, employees, or volunteers.

Processing Information

This collection was reprocessed in 2023.

Harvey Smith Jr. papers
Emily Curl
March 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305