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Jean Edward Smith Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS234

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

The Jean Edward Smith Papers are housed in 10 boxes and span 12.0 linear feet. Historian Jean Edward Smith amassed these materials for his full-length biography of Lucius D. Clay entitled "Lucius D. Clay: An America Life" (New York: Holt, 1990). Cooperating with his biographer on this project, Clay exchanged correspondence with Smith, recounted key events, agreed to take part in numerous oral history interviews, and provided access to key documents. The correspondence between Clay and Smith represents the highlight of this collection. The archive includes more than twenty original letters to Smith written and signed by Clay in reference to various episodes in Clay's career, along with numerous letters from Smith to Clay. A small number of original letters sent to Clay by notable individuals, such as Konrad Adenauer, Omar Bradley, James F. Byrnes, Douglas MacArthur, and Sam Rayburn, is also present. Smith's extensive research files contain materials of worth to diplomatic and military historians. Of note is a wealth of duplicated correspondence between Clay and both James F. Byrnes and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Some correspondence refers to Clay's involvement with war production during World War II, his role in the Bay of Pigs prisoners' ransom, and important events in his life. Some attention is given to the Berlin airlift. Smith's files also contain genealogical material on Clay, manuscripts of Smith's biography, thirty transcripts of Smith's interviews with Clay, more than twenty transcripts of Smith's interviews with other individuals, programs of special interest relating to Clay's career, newspaper and periodical clippings about Clay, and photographs of Clay. The Georgetown University Library, Special Collections Division holds other colletions relating to the diplomatic history of Germany. The James D. Mooney Papers provide documentation of Mooney's informal diplomatic contacts in 1939-40 with Adolph Hitler and the Nazi government. The George C. McGhee Papers chronicle the career of the an American ambassador who served in West Germany from 1963-1968. The bulk of the Lucius D. Clay Papers are housed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Another group of his papers, dating from 1950 to 1978, are deposited at the Marshall Foundation in Lexington, Virginia. Jean Edward Smith's interviews with Clay are stored at both the Columbia University Library and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library.

SYNOPSIS: The Jean Edward Smith Papers are arranged into twenty (20) series as described below:

SERIES 1 - Correspondence from Lucius Clay to J.E. Smith. Contains over twenty letters sent by Clay to Smith, mostly referring to events and people in Clay's past. Placed into twenty-one folders. Arranged chronologically.

SERIES 2 - Correspondence from Lucius Clay to individuals. More than twenty letters from Clay to notable people, including James F. Byrnes, William H. Draper, Jr., Ferdinand Eberstadt, Sam Rayburn, and Brehon Somervell. Series consists of twenty-five folders. Arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

SERIES 3 - Correspondence from Lucius Clay - Chronological. Outgoing correspondence from Lucius Clay , dated 1940-1971, stored in seventeen folders, and arranged chronologically. Mostly photocopies.

SERIES 4 - Correspondence from Lucius Clay - Subject. Clay correspondence regarding the Bricker Amendment, Denison (Red River) Dam, and highways. Date span: 1941-1957. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

SERIES 5 - Correspondence to Lucius Clay from Individuals. Incoming correspondence to Lucius Clay from notable individuals, including Konrad Adenauer, Omar Bradley, James F. Byrnes, Douglas MacArthur, and Sam Rayburn. Arranged into eighteen folders alphabetically by correspondent.

SERIES 6 - Correspondence to Lucius Clay - Chronological. Incoming Clay correspondence, dated 1942-73, sorted into twenty-eight folders, and arranged chronologically. Mostly photocopies.

SERIES 7 - Correspondence to J.E. Smith from Individuals. Contains letters to Smith from notable individuals, mostly regarding setting up oral history interviews. Forty-seven folders. Arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

SERIES 8 - Correspondence to J.E. Smith - Chronological. Contains incoming correspondence to Jean Edward Smith regarding his research for his biography of Lucius Clay. Arranged chronologically.

SERIES 9 - Correspondence from J.E. Smith to Lucius Clay. Typed letter carbons from Smith to Clay regarding Smith's biographical research about Clay. Arranged chronologically.

SERIES 10 - Correspondence from J.E. Smith - Chronological. Outgoing correspondence from Smith seeking biographical information about Lucius Clay. Correspondents include past associates of Clay, libraries, and interviewees. Arranged chronologically.

SERIES 11 - Correspondence from J.E. Smith - Subject. Contains outgoingcorrespondence from Smith about various subjects. Correspondents include librarians, archivists, and publishers. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

SERIES 12 - Miscellaneous Correspondence. Consists of photocopied correspondence dated 1938-70 relating to the career of Lucius D. Clay. Correspondents include James F. Byrnes, Henry L. Stimson, Herbert Hoover, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Arranged chronologically.

SERIES 13 - Lucius D. Clay Documents. Contains documents relating to the career of Lucius D. Clay, including his army efficiency reports, a few speeches, and some awards. Arranged chronologically.

SERIES 14 - Clay Family Documents. Contains Lucius D. Clay genealogical material. Of note: Senator Alexander Stephens Clay correspondence (photocopies) and Clay family bibliographical information. Arranged in rough chronological order.

SERIES 15 - J.E. Smith Manuscripts - Contains typed, edited manuscripts of Jean Edward Smith's biography "Lucius D. Clay: An American Life." Arranged by draft and then chronologically by chapter. Also includes several manuscript essays by Smith and handwritten notes by him.

SERIES 16 - Interview Transcripts. Consists of ninety folders holding typed interview transcripts of oral history interviews conducted by Jean Edward Smith. Over thirty interviews of Lucius D. Clay are present, along with dozens of others with key individuals who knew Clay, such as Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., Robert Lovett, John J. McCloy, and Robert Murphy. Arranged alphabetically by interviewee.

SERIES 17 - Printer Matter. Contains printed matter relating to the career of Lucius D. Clay. Includes several programs honoring Clay, in addition to newspaper and periodical clippings dating from 1930-87. Programs appear first. Periodical clippings appear second, arranged chronologically.

SERIES 18 - Photographs. Contains sixty-one photographs of Lucius Clay. Notably, Clay appears in photos with Robert D. Murphy, Robert L. Patterson, Walter Kerr, Thomas E. Dewey, Richard M. Nixon, Dean Acheson, Harry Truman, and Henry Kissinger. Many of the Clay photos date to the period between 1945 and 1949 when Clay was posted in Germany. Also contains many non-Clay photos, mostly of his wife Marjorie McKeown Clay. Clay photos appear first in the series. Non-Clay photos appear second.

SERIES 19: Audio Cassettes. Consists of twenty-six audio cassettes of interviews conducted by Jean Edward Smith for his biography on Lucius D. Clay. Arranged alphabetically by interviewee.

SERIES 20: Oversized. Contains oversized materials among the papers of Jean Edward Smith, including a few photographs of Lucius D. Clay and a few muniments.

ABBREVIATIONS: ALS - Autograph Letter Signed AM - Autograph Manuscript TD - Typed Document TDS - Typed Document Signed TEL - Telegram TL - Typed Letter TLS - Typed Letter Signed TM - Typed Manuscript TMS - Typed manuscript Signed Mss - Manuscript


  • 1860 - 1990
  • Majority of material found within 1969 - 1975

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical note

Jean Edward Smith was born on October 13, 1932, in Washington, D.C. A graduate of McKinley High School in Washington, D.C., Smith received an A.B. from Princeton University in 1954. Serving in the military from 1954-61, he rose to the rank of Second Lieutenant to Captain (RA) US Army (Artillery). Smith served in West Berlin and Dachau, West Germany. In 1964, he obtained a Ph.D. from the Department of Public Law and Government of Columbia University. Smith began his teaching career as assistant professor of government at Dartmouth College, a post he held from 1963 until 1965. He then became a professor of political economy at the University of Toronto in 1965 and enjoyed a long and productive tenure at that institution. Smith authored a full-length biography of General Lucius D. Clay entitled "Lucius D. Clay: An American Life" (1990) and edited Clay's papers in the two volume set "The Papers of General Lucius D. Clay: Germany, 1945-1949" (1974). His other works on Germany include "The Defense of Berlin" (1963), "The Wall As Watershed" (1966), and "Germany Beyond the Wall" (1969). Smith has also written "The Constitution and American Foreign Policy" (1989), "George Bush's War" (1992), and "John Marshall: Definer of a Nation" (1996).

Lucius D. Clay was born on April 23, 1897, in Marietta, Georgia. Best known for organizing the Berlin airlift in 1948, Clay served as commander in chief of U.S. forces in Europe and military governor of the U.S. Zone in Germany after World War II. Clay gained a reputation as a good organizer and a good logistics man. He was one of the few U.S. generals to earn the four-star rank without holding a combat command. The son of U.S. Senator Alexander Stephens Clay and Frances (White) Clay, Lucius graduated in 1918 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. He married Marjorie McKeown on September 21, 1918. The Clays had two sons: Lucius D. Clay, Jr. and Frank B. Clay. After leaving the academy, Clay held several army engineering posts. He was on General Douglas MacArthur's staff in the Philippines in 1937, and he directed the construction of the Red River Dam in Denison, Texas, from 1938 to 1940. His next assignment, held from 1940 to 1941, was to manage the national civil airport program. During World War II, Clay worked as director of the army procurement program. In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Clay deputy military governor in Germany under General Dwight D. Eisenhower. From 1947 to 1949, Clay was commander in chief of U.S. forces in Europe and military governor of the U.S. Zone in Germany. Clay instigated and implemented the Berlin airlift, and he oversaw the formation of West Germany's democratic government. He retired from the military in 1949. Clay made his mark as a corporate executive and political adviser during the later portion of his life. From 1950 to 1962, he served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Continental Can Company. Between 1963 and 1973, was senior partner of Lehman Brothers. He was a strong supporter and trusted adviser of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. When the Berlin crisis flared up again in 1961-62, President John F. Kennedy appointed Clay his personal representative in Berlin, granting him the rank of ambassador. Lucius D. Clay died in his home at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 1978, at the age of 80.


12 Linear Feet (10 boxes)

Language of Materials


Jean Edward Smith Papers
Scott S. Taylor. Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057