Smither, Harriet Wingfield (1879–1955)

By: Dorman H. Winfrey

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: May 30, 2022

Harriet Wingfield Smither, archivist, historian, and author, daughter of William Goldsmith and Harriet Wilson (Wingfield) Smither, was born in Hampton, Virginia, on July 13, 1879. After the death of her parents she was reared by relatives in Georgetown, Texas. She attended St. Mary's Academy in Austin; the University of Texas, where she received a B.S. degree in 1905 and an M.A. degree in 1922; and the University of Chicago. She taught in the public schools of Dublin, Cleburne, and Fort Worth from 1905 to 1922. In 1925 she was appointed archivist in the Texas State Library, a position she held until her retirement. She was a coauthor (with Clarence Ousley and R. G. Hall) of The Student's History of Our Country (1913). Her major contributions to the field of Texas history were in the editing of manuscript collections. These include volumes five and six of the Papers of Mirabeau B. Lamar (1927), Journals of the Fourth Congress (1929), Journals of the Sixth Congress (1940–45), and the "Diary of Adolphus Sterne," which appeared in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly (October 1926). Miss Smither was known for her assistance to other scholars. On her retirement, September 30, 1953, the Texas State Library and Texas Historical Commission adopted a resolution stating that "largely through the efforts of Miss Smither, the State Library has acquired one of the most complete Texana collections in existence." She died at her home in Austin on March 20, 1955, and was buried in Georgetown. On March 23 of that year the Texas Senate passed a memorial resolution in her honor.

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Austin American, March 21, 1955. Austin American-Statesman, September 24, 1950.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Dorman H. Winfrey, “Smither, Harriet Wingfield,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2022,

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May 30, 2022

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