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Hughie Lee-Smith papers, circa 1890-2007, bulk 1931-1999

Lee-Smith, Hughie, 1915-1999

Painter, Educator

Collection Information

Size: 33.7 Linear feet; 0.381 Gigabytes

Summary: The papers of painter and educator Hughie Lee-Smith measure 33.7 linear feet and 0.381 GB and date from circa 1890 to 2007, with the bulk of the material dating from 1931 to 1999. The collection documents Lee-Smith's career through biographical material, personal and professional correspondence, writings by Lee-Smith and others, personal business records, exhibition files, organization records, printed material, scrapbooks, photographs, a small amount of artwork, numerous interviews, and recordings for a documentary film on Lee-Smith. Also found are the papers of artist Rex Goreleigh, a friend of Lee-Smith.

Biographical/Historical Note

Hughie Lee-Smith (1915-1999) was a painter and educator in Ohio, Michigan, and New York. Born in Eustis, Florida, he lived for a period of time with family in Atlanta before joining his mother in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1925. In 1934 he received a scholarship to attend the Art School of the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, and in 1935 returned to Cleveland to attend the Cleveland School of Art. While in school he began exhibiting his paintings and teaching part-time at Karamu House. From 1938 to 1940 Lee-Smith completed lithography commissions for the Ohio WPA. In 1941 he moved to Detroit, married his first wife Mabel Louise Everett, and worked at a Ford automobile factory. He was then drafted into the U.S. Navy as a mural artist. After the war he briefly returned to factory work before enrolling at Wayne State University, earning a degree in Art Education in 1953. From 1953 to 1965 he taught summer art classes at the Grosse-Point War Memorial in Detroit.


A small amount of material was donated 1969-1981 by Hughie Lee-Smith. Additional papers were donated in 2011 by Patricia Lee-Smith, widow of Hughie Lee-Smith.

Related Materials

Language Note

The collection is in English.