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Collection Overview

Leary, William M. (William Matthew) (1934-2006)
William M. Leary Collection on H. Alexander Smith
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
1 box
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1


William M. Leary (1934-2006) was an aviation historian who wrote his doctoral thesis on the politician H. Alexander Smith. The collection contains materials that Leary consulted in the process of writing his thesis, along with a manuscript of the thesis.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of materials that William Leary consulted in the process of writing his doctoral thesis on H. Alexander Smith, along with a manuscript of his thesis and materials related to Leary himself. The consulted materials include a small amount of Smith's correspondence and writings and a syllabus from a politics class he taught at Princeton University in 1929. Other materials pertaining to Smith include recollections of Smith written by his family members and his executive assistant; date books from the years 1918 and 1919, kept by an unidentified associate of Smith's in the Commission for Relief in Belgium and the Food Administration; printed materials from some of the World War I-era relief organizations Smith was involved with; and four photographs of Smith, including one inscribed to Leary. Some of the materials created by or related to Smith were given to Leary by members of Smith's family via his professor, Arthur S. Link.

In addition to a manuscript of his doctoral thesis, other documents in the collection pertaining to William Leary include correspondence written to him between 1976-1979, mostly but not exclusively related to his Smith biography, and publicity materials for his published book, Smith of New Jersey (1976).


The order in which these materials came to Princeton has been maintained.

Collection Creator Biography:


William M. Leary (1934-2006) was a historian who specialized in the history of aviation. He earned his doctorate in history from Princeton University in 1966, working under the historian Arthur S. Link. Leary's doctoral thesis on the politician H. Alexander Smith, titled Smith of New Jersey: A Biography of H. Alexander Smith, United States Senator From New Jersey, 1944-1959, was published as a book in 1976. During his career, Leary taught at Princeton, San Diego University, the University of Victoria in Canada, and finally at the University of Georgia at Athens, where he worked for thirty-two years.

Collection History


This collection was donated by Margaret Leary, William M. Leary's wife, in 2016. The accession number associated with this donation is ML.2016.013.


No materials were separated from this collection.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Rachel Van Unen in 2016 at the time of accessioning. Some materials were placed into archival housing and all materials were described in a collection-level finding aid.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

William M. Leary Collection on H. Alexander Smith; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1

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Related Materials

Researchers may also wish to consult the H. Alexander Smith Papers located at the Mudd Manuscript Library. Other material at the Mudd Library relating to H. Alexander Smith includes his faculty file and the alumni and faculty Offprint Collection, which are held in the Princeton University Archives. Additionally, Mudd holds the records of the Council on Foreign Relations, of which Smith was a member. Mudd Library's Public Policy Papers also include the papers of several colleagues of Smith. The John Foster Dulles Papers, Walter E. Edge Papers, Peter H. B. Frelinghuysen Papers, Arthur Krock Papers, and Frank Thompson Papers all include material related to Smith.

The William M. Leary Papers, documenting Leary's career as an academic, are located at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Subject Terms:
World War, 1914-1918--Civilian relief.
Smith, H. Alexander (Howard Alexander), 1880-1966