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Call No.: 97-M156--2000-M128
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Smith, Abraham Bartlett , 1926-2012
Title: Papers of Abraham Bartlett Smith, 1922-2000 (bulk), 1980-1988 (bulk)
Quantity: 5.25 linear feet (4 cartons, 3 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Journals of Abraham Bartlett Smith, a transgender individual.
Abraham Bartlett Smith was born Phyliss Bartlett Smith, the elder child of Omar and Mae (Bartlett) Smith, on January 14, 1926. Smith grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, and graduated from Classical High School (1943) and earned a bachelor's degree in biology from American International College (1948). Between high school and college Smith worked as a machine operator (producing the M-1 rifle) at the Springfield Armory. Smith worked as a biological aide for the United States Department of Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service's Marine Biological Laboratory in Milford, Connecticut (1948-1950), at a Sonotone Battery plant in Cold Spring, New York, and as a staff member at the Wassaic State School, a center for the mentally retarded, in Wassaic, New York, from 1968 until retiring in 1981.Smith's years as a child and young adult were anguished ones. She ran away to Chicago in 1941 and during the 1950s was hospitalized at Connecticut State Hospital. She converted to Roman Catholicism in the 1950s and inalterably left the church in the early 1970s. In 1963 Smith had a son, voluntarily and deliberately; she did not continue her relationship with her son's father. In 1970 she underwent the physical and legal procedures necessary to become a man, and in 1972 officially changed her name to Abraham Bartlett Smith. In 1977 Smith married, but the couple was divorced in 1980.During the 1980s and early 1990s, Smith lived in Winsted and Norfolk, Connecticut, and East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. In October 1992 he moved to Jonesboro, and later Machias, Maine. In 1998 he moved to back to Massachusetts, to be nearer to his family. Smith is an avid reader, music lover, civil libertarian, and student of the planet's biological diversity. He writes that he is "a strongly-motivated opponent and challenger of religion's intrusion into human life and freedom, especially those of women and 'queers.'"Smith died December 4, 2012.
This collection consists largely of manuscript journals detailing Smith's daily activities, health, reading, etc., 1980-1981, 1986-2000. He regularly enclosed or attached photographs, letters, cards, clippings, flyers, etc. Some of these were removed if they were not pertinent to a particular entry; others remain part of the volume. The entries include meditations upon his family, past and present; his sense of "otherness"; his attitudes towards some of the social, political, and religious issues of the day; descriptions of his encounters with friends, neighbors, and others in the community; financial records; and the chronicle of a (successful) attempt to lose weight. Also included are two volumes: a copy of the childrearing manual used by Smith's mother; and a biography of a female to male transsexual, Michael Dillon (fl. 1950s).
- Carton 1: 1-2, 3, 5-9, 11, 13, 15, 17-20, 22, 26-27
- Carton 2: 28-30, 32-35, 37-41, 48
- Carton 3: 51-52, 54-56, 58-61, 63, 65v-66v
- Carton 4: CLOSED (4, 10, 12, 14, 16, 21, 23-25, 31, 36, 42-44)
- Box 5: CLOSED (45-46)
- Box 6: CLOSED (47, 49-50, 53, 57, 62)
- Box 7: CLOSED (43a, 64a-64d)