October 29, 2022

Bess Foster Smith [RG1409.AM]

HISTORY NEBRASKA MANUSCRIPT FINDING AID



RG1409.AM:  Bess Foster Smith, 1887-1988



Papers:  1969, 1973

Johnson County, Nebraska, and Weiser, Idaho:  Author, poet, artist

Size:  Five items



BACKGROUND NOTE



Bess Foster, daughter of Frank and Mary (Nimmons) Foster, was born near Sterling, Johnson County, Nebraska, on June 26, 1887.  She attended the University of Nebraska, receiving her BA in 1914 and her MA in 1917, after which she moved to Weiser, Idaho, to teach high school English.  In 1918 she married Oliver J. Smith, with whom she had two sons.



Bess Foster Smith had a lengthy literary career.  She helped to develop Women’s Vocation Camps through the University of Idaho Extension Service from 1925 to 1943 by giving original pageants, chalk talks and reading original poems.  Her publications included “Sunlit Peaks,” an anthology of Idaho poets; “The Checkered Tablecloth,” her own original poems; “Family Album,” a memoir of her youth; and “My Immortal Friends,” an essay on the classics.  Her writings, both poetry and prose, in numerous magazines and newspapers.  Additionally, she painted over 500 water colors of Idaho scenes.  For more than fifty years Smith was a mentor to young artists and writers.



Bess Foster Smith died at the age of one hundred in Weiser, Idaho, on January 27, 1988.



SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE



This collection consists of five items relating to Bess Foster Smith’s life. Included is “Bess’s Picture Book,” a photocopied volume Smith put together in 1973 of her diary entries and drawings from her childhood in rural Johnson County, Nebraska.  Dating from 1900 to 1915, these entries and illustrations describe and picture her family members, her own and nearby houses, schools, and lifestyle and activities.  Other writings from Smith in the collection are a biographical sketch of her father, Frank B. Foster, published in “Bits and Pieces,” 1969; a reminiscence, “Saga of Silver Creek,” 1973.   A 1973 newspaper article about Smith’s nomination for an Idaho Governor’s Award in the Arts.  A cover letter, 1973, accompanies the items comprising this collection.



INVENTORY



Envelope containing:




    1. “Bess’s Picture Book,” 1973 – compilation of diary entries and illustrations, 1900-1915 (photocopy)

    1. Frank B. Foster biographical sketch in “Bits and Pieces,” 1969

    1. “Saga of Silver Creek,” 1973

    1. Newspaper article about Smith’s nomination for Idaho Governor’s Award in the Arts, 1973

    1. Cover letter, 1973



 



Subject headings:



Artists — Idaho

Artists — Nebraska

Authors — Idaho

Authors — Nebraska

Poets — Idaho

Poets — Nebraska

Smith, Bess Foster, 1887-1988



 



AIF         09-18-2018

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Marker Monday: Spade Ranch

Marker Monday: Spade Ranch

Nebraska’s Japanese American History

Nebraska’s Japanese American History

Marker Monday: Long Pine – A Railroad Town

Marker Monday: Long Pine – A Railroad Town

Fred Astaire’s Omaha Origins

Fred Astaire’s Omaha Origins

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.