David Smith Papers
Scope and Contents
Series II holds Smith's sermons, and they comprise the bulk of the papers. The manuscripts are arranged by consecutive numbers that Smith assigned, falling roughly in chronological order. Nearly all of the sermons follow the same structure and are divided into two sections. The first begins with a Bible verse as a headline; occasionally the verse is superseded by a more formal title. The section, which generally runs to ten pages, follows an interpretation of the verse. The second section (of about the same length) is introduced with a headline such as “Improvement,” “Application,” “Reflection,” “Inferences,” or “Remarks,” and all sermons conclude with “Amen.” Each sermon was annotated at the end with the date and place it was written, as well as where and when it was delivered; some of the sermons were delivered more than a dozen times over several decades. In addition to dates, some later sermons include a reference to Smith’s own age. Many sermons also have notations on hymns or psalms on their first page or on the inside of the booklet’s cover.
Theologically, David Smith was likely influenced by the Second Great Awakening. As is to be expected in a collection covering a lifetime of preaching, there is a wide variety of themes to be found in his sermons but some of those appearing with regularity are divine magnitude and providence, the frailty of human life, human iniquity and sin, divine law and judgment, and personal sanctification. Other categories include Thanksgiving, singing, church discipline, sacraments, and events in American history such as “the landing of our Fore-Fathers at Plymouth Dec. 22, 1620” (no. 773) and the death of George Washington (nos. 78 and 123).
Smith copied most of his sermons into small blank books bound with assorted of marbled, silvered, and tinted papers used as wrappers. Thirteen of the volumes bear rose-colored brocade-patterned “Dutch gilt” paper signed by Paul Reimund (or Reymund, 1763/4-1815) of Nürnberg, Germany; they are booklets beginning with sermons 547, 594, 652 (printed in brown), 663, 720 (single unlined sheet, not attached), 852, 862, 901, 931, 958, 1080, 1114, and 1842. Several binding techniques were employed, including a variety of turn-ins and a range of papers used as liners or stiffeners for the covers. In two cases the "endpapers" are repurposed illustrated ream wrappers from the paper mills of David Ames in Springfield, Massachusetts (no. 781) and William Coles in Middletown, Connecticut (no. 958). The latter features an Alexander Anderson wood engraving of a mill which was also used by Coles' contemporary, George Cox & Company of Hallowell, Maine, on a wrapper in 1826 (see John Bidwell, American Paper Mills, 1690–1832, 2013, page 160).
- 1790 - 1859
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
5.63 Linear Feet (14 boxes)
Language of Materials
A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog
David Smith (1767-1862, Yale 1795)
In 1792, Smith was accepted at Yale College as a sophomore and graduated three years later with the Class of 1795. Following college he taught school in Sheffield, Massachusetts, and in 1796 began study in theology with Rev. Ephraim Judson of Sheffield. Smith was licensed to preach by the Association of Berkshire County in October 1796. On February 10, 1799, he preached in Durham, Connecticut, and soon after was asked by the town to settle there as the second minister of Durham, succeeding Rev. Elizur Goodrich (1734-1797, Yale 1752). Smith married as his second wife Catharine Goodrich (1776-1845), the daughter of Rev. Goodrich.
In 1821 David Smith was elected one of the Fellows of Yale College, and held this position forty years until he tendered his resignation the close of the session in 1861; he was never absent from a regular meeting of the corporation. In 1830 he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Hamilton College. Smith retired from the ministry in 1833 and pursued farming. During his later years he preached occasionally in towns around Durham, and died March 5, 1862, at the home of his daughter Catherine Ellsworth in Fair Haven, Connecticut, at age 94.
- Anderson, Alexander, 1775-1870
- Clergy -- Connecticut
- Clergy -- Connecticut -- Durham
- Clergy -- Connecticut -- Durham -- 18th century
- Clergy -- Connecticut -- Durham -- 19th century
- Congregational churches -- Clergy
- Congregational churches -- Connecticut
- Congregational churches -- Sermons
- Connecticut -- Religion -- 18th century
- Connecticut -- Religion -- 19th century
- Connecticut -- Religious life and customs
- Diaries -- Connecticut -- 19th century
- Durham (Conn. : Town) -- Religion -- 19th century
- Gillet, Alexander, 1749-1826
- Paper mills -- Pictorial works
- Perrine, Humphrey Mount
- Ream wrappers -- Connecticut -- Middletown -- 19th century
- Ream wrappers -- Massachusetts -- Springfield -- 19th century
- Sermons -- Connecticut -- 18th century
- Sermons -- Connecticut -- 19th century
- Sermons, American
- Smith, David, 1767-1862
- Songbooks, English -- Connecticut
- Songs, English
- Speeches (documents) -- Connecticut -- 19th century
- Washington, George, 1732-1799 -- Death and burial
- Wolfe, James, 1727-1759
- Yale College (1718-1887). Class of 1795
- Guide to the David Smith Papers
- by Manuel J. Reimer and Sandra Markham
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
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