Skip to main content

Robert E. Smith papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 535

Scope and Contents

The Robert E. Smith papers include creative writings and related papers from the life and career of Robert E. Smith. The collection primarily comprises manuscripts for short stories, poems, essays, novels and novellas, sermons, and plays. The collection also includes research documents on various topics, notably orator John Walker and mystery solving; instruction materials from the classes Smith taught in the Purdue Communication Department; and personal documents such as correspondence, travel materials, and religious notes on the Bible and books by Christian author N.T. Wright.


  • 1939 - 2014


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

This collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Material copyrights held by Purdue University or original creator. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

Robert E. Smith was born in 1943 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He graduated with degrees in Speech and English from Harding College in 1964. He went on to earn his M.F.A. in Creative Writing in 1966 from the University of Oregon. Smith completed his Ph.D. in Speech and Dramatic Arts at the University of Missouri in 1969. In 1968, he married Pauletta Verett Smith. He began teaching at Purdue in 1969 as a professor of Oral Interpretation of Literature and was a pioneer of the Basic Communication Course in 1987. Smith was a prolific writer, publishing textbooks for the Basic Communication Course (Comm 114), as well as scholarly essays, poetry, 16 short stories, and some novel-length works.

Smith enjoyed traveling and received grants to travel in Japan and Germany. He traveled to all 50 states and many countries in Asia, Europe, and Central America. This love of travel led him to teach the Intercultural Communications course at Purdue, host many international students at his home, and become a translator for Health Talents International in Guatemala. Smith retired in 2011 as Professor Emeritus of Communications. He passed away in 2016 after a decade-long battle with Parkinson's Disease.


6.613 Cubic Feet (Six cubic foot boxes and one full-width letter-size manuscript box)

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated in 2016 by Robert E. Smith's widow, Pauletta Smith.

Processing Information

The collection materials were rehoused in acid-free folders and boxes and arranged chronologically within each sub-series. Folder titles were maintained wherever possible. Any folder titles in brackets were added during processing and taken from the first line of the document.
Robert E. Smith papers
Under Review
Sarah Kenny
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
First edition.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States