Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mrs. Chetwood Smith (1872-1950)

Aka Mary Chapin Smith
Poet and Author
Born 1872 Wickford, Rhode Island
Died April 30, 1950, Worcester, Massachusetts

Mary Anthony Chapin Smith, also known as Mrs. Chetwood Smith, was born in 1872 in Wickford, Rhode Island, daughter of General and Mrs. Walter B. Chapin. Although she wrote under her given name, she also assumed her husband's name and wrote as Mrs. Chetwood Smith. (They were wed on April 16, 1895, in Pomfret, Connecticut.) Her books included Earth Songs (verse, 1910), The God of the Bees (1913), Cranberry Cove Stories (romance, 1915), History's Most Famous Words (non-fiction, 1926), and Rogers Groups: Thought and Wrought by John Rogers (non-fiction, 1934), the last with her husband. Mrs. Smith also wrote for newspapers and magazines including Watson's Jeffersonian Magazine, The Independent, The Youth's Companion, and of course Weird Tales, for which she authored "An Egyptian Lotus" for the magazine's giant first anniversary issue in May/June/July 1924. A New Englander to the core, Mary Chapin Smith lived in Worcester, Massachusetts, most of her life and died at home on April 30, 1950, at age 78. Mrs. Smith's sister, by the way, was Maria Bowen Chapin, founder of the Chapin School in Manhattan.

Mrs. Chetwood Smith's Story in Weird Tales
"An Egyptian Lotus" (May/June/July 1924)

Further Reading
Some of Mrs. Smith's early works are available on the Internet, having fallen into the public domain.

Mary Chapin Smith wrote under her given name and as Mrs. Chetwood Smith for a number of magazines. Here's a story by her from The Youth's Companion, 1927. The illustrator is Ernest Green.
"Taking the Oath and Drawing the Rations," a sculpture of the Civil War by John Rogers, was advertised in The Little Corporal, a post-war children's magazine, for $15. Now, these mass-produced genre sculptures or groups sell for hundreds of dollars each. In 1934, Mr. and Mrs. Chetwood Smith wrote a study of John Rogers' life and work entitled Rogers Groups: Thought and Wrought by John Rogers. The engraver's or illustrator's name appears to be "Baker."
Text and captions copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

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