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Smith Atkins family papers

Identifier: AMN 1142

Collection Overview

The papers are divided into three series: NOTE: The majority of the original documents are in Fragile Condition and are indicated as such. Please use photocopies when available.

Series 1: William Henry Smith Family Holds documents pertaining to William Smith, his wife, Anna Priscilla McLeish, and her father, James Wilkinson McLeish. Materials include dues ledger booklets union documents from William Smith's affiliation with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (1911-1934); and his voting registration certificates from the State of South Carolina (1928, 1931). Anna Priscilla McLeish Smith's materials includes class assignments (1889) and manuscripts (1915-1918) while she was a student and later the president of the Parent Teachers' Association of the Avery Normal Institute. Materials from Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church, (Charleston, South Carolina), includes a manuscript regarding "Reverend" James H. Holloway; and programs from the Ladies Aid Society. James Wilkinson McLeish's materials pertains to his religious affiliation with Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church. Included is a certificate of membership from Unity and Friendship Society (1894) for a cemetery plot; and a minute and financial ledger of the church trustees (1877-1880), indicating McLeish as "S.S. Superintendent."

Series 2: Maude Henrietta Smith Atkins Holds documents relating to the daughter of William Henry and Anna McLeish Smith. Contains personal documents created and collected by Smith Atkins as an Avery Normal Institute student (Class of 1915), including her commencement speech, "On the Threshold." Also included are programs from organ performances and "Certificate of Copyright Registration," from the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. for "The Avery Song," in which Smith co-wrote with Beulah Shecut (1925). A folder containing magazine and newspaper articles regarding United States Federal, Judge Julius Waites Waring (1948-1976) is included. The sub-series, Avery Normal Institute Memorabilia contains various materials, (manuscript, annual catalogs, commencement programs, and photograph) collected by Smith Atkins during her affiliation with the school. Of note is a handwritten manuscript entitled, "The Early History of Avery Normal Institute Down to 1900," (circa 1900), which includes "Some of the Avery Graduates," from 1872-1900.

Series 3: Oversize Documents Contains the Avery Normal Institute diplomas of Maude Henrietta Smith (1915) and her brother, Williams McLeish Smith (1924).


  • Creation: 1877-1981, undated
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1900-1950

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

The nature of the Avery Research Center's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Avery Research Center claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical Note

William Henry Smith, the son of Frank and Flora Holmes Smith was born on July 25, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina. He was a carpenter and member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local Union 809, Charleston, South Carolina from 1911-1934. He passed in 1941, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Anna Priscilla McLeish Smith, the daughter of James Wilkinson and Henrietta Powers, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, 1870. A student at the Avery Normal Institute, (Class of 1889), she eventually became the president of their Parent Teachers' Association. She married William Henry Smith in 1893 and the couple had four children. She passed in 1940.

James Wilkinson McLeish, (the father of Anna P. McLeish Smith) was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1839. He was a S. S. Superintendent with Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church (Charleston). McLeish was married to Henrietta Powers and the couple had six children. He passed in 1897, in Charleston, South Carolina.

Maude Henrietta Smith Atkins, the daughter of William Henry and Ann McLeish Smith, was born in 1898, Charleston, South Carolina. After graduating from the Avery Normal Institute (Class of 1915), Smith attended Fisk University, majoring in music education. She returned to Avery to head its music department, including the Girls Glee Club. Smith composed the music for "The Avery Song" with Beulah Shecut in 1925. She married Jasper Alston Atkins during the 1920s and had two daughters. Smith Atkins passed in 1998 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


"Atkins-Simkins Family Tree." Web: 16 December 2014.

Drago, Edmund L. Charleston's Avery Center. Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press, 2006.


0.42 linear feet (1 archival box with 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



The Smith Atkins family members included in this collection are William Henry Smith (1865-1941), his wife Anna Priscilla McLeish Smith (1870-1940), her father, James Wilkinson McLeish (1839-1897), and William and Anna's daughter, Maude Henrietta Smith Atkins (1898-1998). The bulk of the collection is comprised of materials created or collected by Maude Smith Atkins, as an Avery Normal Institute student, and as an organist. Smith Atkins co-authored "The Avery Song," in which the Library of Congress copyright certificate (1925) is included in this collection. Items of note are the union dues booklets of William Smith's affiliation with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local 809, Charleston, South Carolina (1910-1934). Materials from James W. McLeish hold a minute and financial ledger (1877-1880) from Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church, (Charleston, South Carolina), and certificate of membership for burial privileges from Unity and Friendship Society (1894). Throughout the collection are materials relating to Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church (Charleston, South Carolina), in which Anna and Maude Smith Atkins were members.

Collection Arrangement

Series 1. William Henry Smith Family

Series 2. Maude Henrietta Smith Atkins

Series 3. Oversize Documents

Acquisitions Information

Papers donated by Anna A. Simkins and Simona Atkins Allen, 26 November 2001.

Processing Information

Processed by Georgette Mayo, December 2014

Edited by Aaron Spelbring

Encoded by Aaron Spelbring

Inventory of the Smith Atkins Family Papers AMN 1142
In Process
Finding aid prepared by Georgette Mayo
December 2014
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture Repository

125 Bull Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424 United States