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Smith, Francis H. (Francis Henney), 1812-1890


Major General Francis Henney Smith (b. 1812 d. 1890) was appointed VMI's first Superintendent in 1839. An 1833 graduate of West Point, he had previously served briefly in the U. S. Army and was a Professor of Mathematics at Hampden-Sydney College (VA) when he accepted the position as head of the newly established Virginia Military Institute. He served for fifty years, from the Institute's infancy, through the Civil War, and through the difficult post-war period. He is known as the "builder and rebuilder of VMI." Smith retired on January 1, 1890 and died only a few months later, on March 21, 1890.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Francis H. Smith European Travel Letter Books and Related, 1858

Scope and Contents Miscellaneous Francis H. Smith and Smith family personal records. Includes 2 volumes of personal letters written while on his trip to Europe in 1858, along with a scrapbook containing engravings of places visited; misc. personal correspondence, including one letter from Scott Shipp thanking Smith for his condolences upon the death of Shipp's wife.