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

 Person

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 20 Collections and/or Records:

John P. Bowyer letter of recommendation

 Item
Identifier: MS-0162
Scope and Contents One letter (September 18, 1847) from VMI Superintendent Francis H. Smith to Gen. E. C. Carrington, recommending an army commission for John P. Bowyer. Bowyer had volunteered for service in the Mexican War, in which he subsequently served.

John T. L. Preston - Francis H. Smith Correspondence

 File
Identifier: RG-01-Correspondence-Preston - Smith
Scope and Contents Correspondence between Francis H. Smith, who became VMI's first Superintendent, and John T. L. Preston relating to the organization and opening of VMI. Includes four letters from Preston to Smith; and one letter from Smith to Preston, in which he accepts the job offered by the Board of Visitors to serve as Superintendent (originally called Principal Professor). One related letter is from Francis H. Smith to William Atkinson or Atkison, in which Smith asks for advice about VMI's job...

Marshall McDonald papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0169
Scope and Contents Papers, approximately 90 items, of Marshall McDonald. The papers include primarily incoming and some outgoing correspondence, 1861-1892; notes; scientific reports; and miscellaneous documents. Among the correspondents are several VMI alumni and faculty members, including Scott Shipp, Francis H. Smith, Edward Cunningham, Wilfred E. Cutshaw, John W. Lyell, James H. Morrison, Mark B. Hardin, and Daniel W. Flowerree; and several Civil War officers including Gen. Dabney H. Maury and Hunter McGuire....

Miscellaneous correspondence files, Superintendent's office

 Series
Identifier: RG-02-Correspondence-Misc
Scope and Contents Correspondence, 1840-1918, originating in the Superintendent's office, unrelated to any other records series. Primarily about purchases and business transactions, and miscellaneous file.

Office of the Superintendent, administrative subject files

 Series
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

 Sub-Group
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.

Sara Henderson Smith collection

 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

 Item
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.

Thomas F. Barksdale papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0062
Scope and Contents The collection consists of two items. 1. Letter dated January 25, 1855 from a Prussian official, denying Barksdale and his roommates permission to enter the Prussian Army. 2. Notebook contains class notes, including notes taken in Stonewall Jackson's class section in Natural Philsophy (a course that would today be most similar to Physics) and notes taken in Analytical Geometry class taught by Francis H. Smith; resolution issued by cadets following murder of Cadet Thomas Blackburn, Class of...

Valentine C. Saunders Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0071
Scope and Contents Letter from Cadet Saunders to his parents is the oldest extant letter written by a VMI cadet. Dated November 30, 1839, shortly after the first cadets arrived in Lexington, the letter provides a cadet's view of the newly established Institute. Saunders describes the arsenal; relationship with Washington College; the method of instruction; course of studies; gives his opinion (favorable) of Superintendent Francis H. Smith. Collection also contains Saunders' copy of a published address by Francis...