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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 14 Collections and/or Records:

Office of the Superintendent. Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1840 - 1915

 Sub-Series
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...

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...

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...