6 microfilms — 4 linear feet — 1 oversize folder (Ac)
The papers of Charles Spencer Smith measure 4 linear feet and date from ca. 1875 to 1923. The correspondence, sermons, speeches, articles, and printed material in the collection relate primarily to Smith's work in the African Methodist Episcopal Church as secretary and treasurer of the Sunday School Union, and as a bishop. Of particular value is a manuscript history of the A.M.E. Church in the 1840's and 1850's written by Bishop Daniel A. Payne, D.D., LL.D, and edited by Smith. These manuscript chapters from A History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church point out that Smith may have eliminated some of the original manuscript's detail to make Payne's work more concise. Smith himself wrote A History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Vol. 2, which was printed by the Book Concern of the A.M.E. Church, Philadelphia, in 1922. This volume covers the history of the church during the years 1856-1922 and was intended as a sequel to Bishop Payne's work. The Bentley Library has reprints of both of these volumes.
Biographical information has been placed at the beginning of the collection. It is followed by Smith's correspondence; his speeches, articles, sermons, pamphlets, and other writings; and material pertaining to the Methodist Ecumenical Conferences he attended in London in 1901 and 1921. Then there are materials relating to the A.M.E. Church, both printed and manuscript, followed by newspaper clippings, memorabilia, and topical files. Papers of Christine Shoecraft Smith and Charles S. Smith, Jr. follow. Books (non-Smith) and photographs have been placed at the end of the collection.
The correspondence and writings of Smith pertain to the A.M.E. Church, to his visits to Africa, settlement of Liberia by American Blacks, the education of Blacks, and related topics. Minutes of annual conferences of the A.M.E. Church in districts served by Smith are included with the printed material.
In addition to Smith's papers, the collection contains papers of his wife, Christine Shoecraft Smith, and of their son, Charles Spencer Smith, Jr. Christine Smith's papers consist of condolence cards and letters upon the death of her husband, two autograph books, and copies of selected pages of a scrapbook which has been returned to the donor. The papers of C. S. Smith, Jr., consist of correspondence, notebooks, and technical material compiled by Smith while he served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War I.
Due to the rare and fragile nature of many of the materials in the collection, everything has been microfilmed except for the non-Smith books. The aforementioned book by Smith, Glimpses of Africa, and scattered issues of The Child's Recorder and Our Sunday School Review for the years 1889-1891 had been microfilmed previously. The microfilm is the only copy the Bentley Library has of these publications.