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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 53 Collections and/or Records:

Office of the Superintendent. Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1840 - 1915

Scope and Contents This box contains incoming and outgoing letters that do not fit in the larger correspondence series for the period, including: --unnumbered incoming letters, 1840-1870 --misc. numbered letters that do not fit in the known sequence, including a few examples from the 1870's for which there are no other extant incoming letters. --Misc. original outgoing letters (copies in letter books) --Misc. copies of outgoing letters, (perhaps a second copy in addition to...

Office of the Superintendent, administrative subject files

Identifier: RG-02-Subject Files-Administrative
Scope and Contents Historically significant subject files spanning the administrations of multiple Superintendents. These topical files cover various historical eras; topics include areas such as planning, programs, and events.

Records of Superintendent Francis H. Smith, 1839-1889

Identifier: RG-02-01-SmithFH
Scope and Contents These files constitute the major record series generated by the office of Francis H. Smith, VMI’s first Superintendent. He served from 1839-1889. The records, (ca. 30 linear feet) consist of incoming and outgoing correspondence, order books, speeches and publications, annual reports, personal file, and subject files.

Samuel F. Atwill - Related Documents from Correspondence of Francis H. Smith [Digital]

 Digital Collection
Identifier: RG02.01/Smith/Correspondence/Atwill

Sara Henderson Smith collection

Identifier: MS-0536
Scope and Contents The collection contains three manuscript notebooks containing verse letters, poetry, notes, and a few newspaper clippings, bulk 1861-1865. One of the volumes is titled "Order Book, 9th Regiment Va. Volunteers, Craney Island"; on the endsheets of this book are glued original manuscript signatures of VMI faculty and others , apparently clipped from letters. The pages of this volume contain Sara's writings. A folder that contains Sara's writings on loose pages within the "Order Book" is also part...

Smith Family letter

Identifier: MS-0163
Scope and Contents One letter (March 1, 1856) from VMI's Superintendent Francis H. Smith to the mother of Cadet John J. Smith, in which he discusses Cadet Smith's religious awakening.

Special Report of the Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute on Scientific Education in Europe. [digital]

 Digital Collection

Superintendent, Correspondence, 1839-1870, Incoming (Francis H. Smith), 1839-1870

Scope and Contents Incoming correspondence of VMI's first Superintendent, Francis H. Smith, for the period 1839-1870. The original 19th century filing order has been retained. Each incoming letter was assigned a number by Smith's secretary; these letters were then filed numerically by letter number within each year. Some years were further broken down into alphabetical sections (A-K; L-Z etc.) and thus have more multiple numerical sequences within an individual year. It is therefore the case that some years...

Superintendent, Correspondence, 1839-1889, Outgoing (Francis H. Smith), 1839-1889

Scope and Contents The outgoing letterbooks (bound volumes) of VMI's first Superintendent Francis H. Smith, who served from 1839-1889. There are no outgoing letters from 1864 August 9-1865 October 30.

Superintendent, Correspondence, 1885-1889, Incoming (Francis H. Smith), 1885-1889

Scope and Contents Francis H. Smith incoming correspondence, 1885-1889. These letters are no longer filed in the numbered sequence that was used for the period 1839-1870; they are filed alphabetically within each year. Corresponding outgoing letters are located in separate letter books for the period. Incoming correspondence for the period 1871-1884, except for a few miscellaneous items, is not extant. This was noted by William Couper in the 1930's, and it is not know at what point or under what...