Albert Colbey Smith was a historian and a former student of the University of Georgia. He was awarded his Master's degree in history in 1975 and went on to become Doctor of Philosophy in 1982, also at the University of Georgia. Dr. Smith suffered an untimely death due to serious illness in 1985. In commemoration of his scholarship, his papers have been added to the archives of the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia.
Papers relating to Smith's Ph. D. dissertation entitled "Down Freedom's Road: The Contours of Race, Class, and Property Crime in Black-Belt Georgia, 1866-1910", dealing with the social significance of crime in race relations after the Civil War, focusing on the counties of Baldwin, McIntosh, and Terrell in Georgia. Includes a copy of his dissertation, research material, drafts, revisions, notes, and photocopies and reprints of much of the material cited in his bibliography.
The organization of these papers remains largely that of Dr. Smith. Folders were collected under general subject headings to facilitate use of the material but the ordering of material within the folders is as Dr. Smith left it. The only exceptions to this were made in the case of photocopies or reprints of articles, papers, or books made use of by Dr. Smith. These have been set apart from what is properly his work. Also, some few folders of his organization have been combined into single folders where appropriate and a folder to hold miscellaneous items extraneous to any specific folder/subject heading was introduced. Dr. Smith's original inventory can be found in folder 2:14.
The first two Hollinger boxes include his writings, revisions thereof and notes thereon. Box 1 contains the chapter drafts of the dissertation itself. These are labelled individually by chapter as being either "pre-" or "post-Holmes", William F. Holmes having been Dr. Smith's dissertation director and major professor. Occasional remarks from him upon Mr. Smith's work are to be found in "post-Holmes" folders. Box 2 has for its first three folders more general notes related to the writing of the dissertation. The next ten folders contain papers either preliminary to, drawn from, or enlarging upon the stuff of the dissertation. Three of these papers merit special mention: one, 2:4 written prior to his Master's thesis and perhaps his first work on historical crime and its social significance; another, 2:5, concerning (black) women as suspects in and/or victims of crime; and a third, 2:13 including 2:9-2:12, which received posthumous publication in the
Journal of Southern History, November 1985. The latter article was rejected upon first submission and was thereupon extensively revised by Dr. Smith, which revision is documented in the aforementioned five folders. Also in Box 2 are two folders of miscellaneous material, one made up of general miscellany and the other a copy of the 'Altamaha Ledger', the origin and significance of which is uncertain (it is not listed in Dr. Smith's dissertation bibliography.)
Boxes 3A, 3B, 3C and Box 4 include research specific notes. Boxes 3A, 3B, and 3C concern Baldwin, McIntosh, and Terrell counties respectively. These three Georgia counties were the foci of Dr. Smith's study of 'race, class, and property crime in "Black-Belt" Georgia.' Box 4 is of more general research, in the main pertinent to the dissertation but also including a folder on Whitfield County which is situated in the Appalachian foothills and not part of the 'Black-Belt'. It seems Dr. Smith had the intention of studying this region at some point in time, which is further evidenced by the inclusion of photocopied sections of three books on Appalachian culture in the following boxes.
Boxes 5, 6, and 6A contain the photocopies and reprints of other author's writings. These are arranged alphabetically by author's surname. Nearly half of these works are cited in the bibliography of Dr. Smith's dissertation. Accordingly, in the following inventory listing for the collection, if the item
is listed in the dissertation bibliography, reference is made to the bibliography, with a page number given as the place of the entry there. If the item is
not listed in the dissertation bibliography, a bibliographic-type entry is provided by the inventory listing. Publication dates are given for all material (when known). One volume of essays not listed in the inventory listing as a book but rather by individual essays requires an entry of its own:
Williamson, J. W., Ed.
An Appalachian Symposium: Essays written in Honor of Curtis D. Williams. Boone, N.C.: Appalachian Journal / Appalachian Consortium Press, C. 1977.
Boxes 7 and 8 contain notecards. These were used by Dr. Smith as he researched government documents and newspaper records. Many of these are numbered and are referred to in other of Dr. Smith's papers. Although numbered, these cards have not been indexed and no attempt was made to reorganize them differently from that way in which Dr. Smith had kept them.
All in all, this collection represents the work of a scholar. Dr. Albert C. Smith was a disciplined and discerning historian and student of history. No doubt he would have gone on to make significant contributions to his field of expertise, i.e., criminal history, particularly the study of arson. What contribution he did make is worthy of recognition and respect. The care he took in researching and writing his dissertation and the later article can be clearly seen upon examination of this collection. A creative process is here displayed for study. Of more special interest, the findings of an historian can be checked so as to help substantiate his testimony and establish his authority as an historian.