Smith, Betty, 1896-1972

Alternative names

Hide Profile

American author.

From the description of Letter to Walter Prichard Eaton, Sheffield, Massachusetts [manuscript], 1943 June 6. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647817380

Betty Smith (1896-1972), novelist and playwright of Brooklyn, N.Y., Ann Arbor, Mich., and Chapel Hill, N.C.; author of "A tree grows in Brooklyn" (1943); "Tomorrow will be better" (1948), "Maggie-now" (1958), and "Joy in the morning" (1963). She was married successively to George H. E. Smith, Joseph P. Jones, and Robert V. Finch.

From the description of Betty Smith papers, 1909-1971 [manuscript]. (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 26380343

Elisabeth Wehner, professionally known as Betty Smith, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on 15 December 1896, to the children of German immigrants. She never completed high school and moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., when she married George H. E. Smith of Brooklyn, a senior law student at the University of Michigan. While in Ann Arbor, she was permitted to attend the University as a special student without being a candidate for a degree; she took classes in journalism, drama, writing, and literature. Smith won the Avery Hopw00d Award for work in drama and continued her studies at the Yale Drama School with Professor Baker as one of Baker's Dozen, thirteen students chosen to study play writing. Smith completed the three-year course, but was not awarded an M.F.A. since she held no other degrees.

Smith moved to New York with her two daughters, Nancy and Mary, in 1934 and worked for the Federal Theater, set up during the Depression by the W.P.A., which relocated her to Chapel Hill in 1936.

Smith and her first husband divorced in 1938. She was married to Joe Jones, a writer, journalist, and associate editor of the Chapel Hill Weekly, from 1943 to 1951. Smith was active in the theatrical community of Chapel Hill for many years, writing and helping with stage productions. She received both the Rockefeller Fellowship and the Dramatist Guild Fellowship for writing and wrote numerous plays before publishing her first novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, in 1943. Smith's other novels include Tomorrow Will be Better (1947), Maggie-Now (1958), and Joy in the Morning (1963).

From the guide to the Betty Smith Papers, 1909-1971, (Southern Historical Collection)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Schwartz, Arthur, 1900-1984. A tree grows in Brooklyn : typescript, 2005. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Paul Green Papers, 1880-1992 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
referencedIn E. E. Cummings papers, 1870-1969. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Smith, Betty, 1896-1972. Casual Calvary; a play in one act [1930?] University of Michigan
creatorOf Slesinger, Tess, 1905-1945. [A tree grows in Brooklyn : shooting script]. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf OAC Review Index. Alumni : MAC Alumni News, OAC Review, v.44, no.11, July 1932, p.682-683. University of Guelph
referencedIn Parker, William C. (William Covington). William C. Parker papers, 1947-1949 [manuscript]. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Sigmund, Jay G., 1885-1937. Papers of Jay Sigmund, 1911-1975. University of Iowa Libraries
creatorOf Smith, Betty, 1896-1972. Letter to Walter Prichard Eaton, Sheffield, Massachusetts [manuscript], 1943 June 6. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Berkeley Playmakers. The Berkeley Playmakers : scrapbook, 1924-1948. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Papers, 1872, 1932-1997 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Betty Smith Papers, 1909-1971 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
referencedIn Richard Gaither Walser Papers (#4168), 1918-1988 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
creatorOf Smith, Betty, 1896-1972. Woman racket [1930?] University of Michigan
referencedIn Jones, Joseph Piper, 1906-. Joseph Piper Jones papers, 1922-1986 [manuscript]. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Barrett H. Clark Papers, 1905-1952 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Charleen Swansea Papers, 1928-2004 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
referencedIn Swansea, Charleen. Charleen Swansea papers, 1928-2004. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Yaddo records, 1870-1980 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn John C. Campbell Folk School Records, 1928-1988 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
creatorOf Smith, Betty, 1896-1972. The candy farm; a farcical comedy, by Elizabeth Wehner Smith [1931?] University of Michigan
creatorOf Smith, Betty, 1896-1972. Wives-in-law; a comedy in three acts [1930?] University of Michigan
creatorOf Smith, Betty, 1896-1972. Francie Nolan; a comedy drama in three acts [1930?] University of Michigan
referencedIn Mielziner, Jo, 1901-1976. Set design drawing for A tree grows in Brooklyn, n.d. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Mills, Charles, 1914-1982. Charles Mills papers, 1937-1981. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Bancroft, Mary. Papers, 1872-1997 (inclusive), 1932-1987 (bulk). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn William C. Parker Papers (#4965-z), 1947-1949 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
referencedIn Department of Dramatic Art of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1922-2003 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. University Archives.
creatorOf Hale, Harry Clay, 1861-1946. Papers. United States Military Academy, USMA Library
creatorOf Smith, Betty, 1896-1972. First in heart / Betty Smith ; a production book compiled by Richard Bergstrom. Yale University Library
referencedIn Boone, Samuel Moyle. Samuel Moyle Boone photographic collection, circa late 1940s-early 1960s. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Smith, Betty, 1896-1972. A tree grows in Brooklyn : a play with music / by Betty Smith and George Abbott ; based on Betty Smith's novel ; music by Arthur Schwartz ; lyrics by Dorothy Fields. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Rowe, Kenneth Thorpe, 1900-. Student play collection, 1928-1970. University of Michigan
referencedIn Alumni Association (University of Michigan), Individual Photographs, ca. 1880-ca. 1960s Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn E. E. Cummings additional papers, 1870-1969. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Smith, Betty, 1896-1972. The dreadful obvious; a comedy in one act [1930?] University of Michigan
referencedIn Green, Paul, 1894-1981. Paul Green papers, 1880-1985. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Smith, Betty, 1896-1972. Betty Smith papers, 1909-1971 [manuscript]. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn The, Daily Worker, and, The Daily World, Photographs Collection, Bulk, 1930-1990, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dept. of Dramatic Art. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Dept. of Dramatic Art photographs and related materials, 1911-1970s. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Abbott, George, 1887-1995. person
associatedWith Arthur Bye person
associatedWith Bancroft, Mary. person
associatedWith Bergstrom, Richard. person
associatedWith Berkeley Playmakers. corporateBody
associatedWith Boone, Samuel Moyle. person
associatedWith Chuck Mooney person
associatedWith Clark, Barrett H. (Barrett Harper), 1890-1953 person
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
correspondedWith Cummings, E. E. (Edward Estlin), 1894-1962 person
associatedWith Eaton, Walter Prichard, 1878-1957 person
associatedWith Federal Writers Project corporateBody
associatedWith Fields, Dorothy, 1905-1974. person
associatedWith Finch, Robert, 1909-1959. person
associatedWith Francie Nolan person
associatedWith Fred Ballard person
associatedWith Frederick G. Walsh person
associatedWith Fred Wehner. person
associatedWith George B. Dowell person
associatedWith Green, Paul, 1894-1981. person
associatedWith Hale, Harry Clay, 1861-1946. person
associatedWith Harper and Brothers corporateBody
associatedWith Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc. corporateBody
correspondedWith Jack Woodford person
correspondedWith Jay Sigmund person
associatedWith Joe Jones. person
associatedWith John C. Campbell Folk School. corporateBody
associatedWith Jones, Joe person
associatedWith Jones, Joseph Piper, 1906- person
associatedWith Josephine Niggli person
associatedWith Joseph P. Jones person
associatedWith MARY BANCROFT, 1903-1997 person
associatedWith Mary Smith person
associatedWith Mielziner, Jo, 1901-1976. person
associatedWith Mills, Charles, 1914-1982. person
associatedWith Murray Swisher person
associatedWith Nancy Smith person
associatedWith Nancy Smith Pfeiffer's person
associatedWith OAC Review Index. corporateBody
associatedWith Parker, William C. (William Covington) person
associatedWith Peter M. Jack person
associatedWith Robert Finch. person
associatedWith Robert. V. Finch person
associatedWith Robert Voris Finch person
associatedWith Rowe, Kenneth Thorpe, 1900- person
associatedWith Schwartz, Arthur, 1900-1984. person
associatedWith Sigmund, Jay person
associatedWith Sigmund, Jay G., 1885-1937. person
associatedWith Slesinger, Tess, 1905-1945. person
associatedWith Sullavan, Margaret, 1911-1960. person
associatedWith Swansea, Charleen person
associatedWith Swansea, Charleen. person
associatedWith United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Alumni Association. corporateBody
associatedWith University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dept. of Dramatic Art. corporateBody
associatedWith University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dept. of Dramatic Art. corporateBody
associatedWith Walser, Richard Gaither, 1908- person
associatedWith Walter Carroll person
associatedWith Webb, Chase person
associatedWith William Bowers person
associatedWith Woodford, Jack person
associatedWith Yaddo (Artist's colony) corporateBody
associatedWith Yale Drama School. corporateBody
associatedWith Yale Theater Workshop corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Fort Monroe (Va.)
United States
North Carolina
New York (State)--Brooklyn (New York)
Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
Subject
Women--Social life and customs--20th century
Women authors--Relations with men
Poor families--Drama
Teenage girls--Drama
Prompt-book
Novelists, American
Coming of age--Drama
Authors, American--Correspondence
Soldiers--Correspondence
Women authors, American--History--20th century
Authors and publishers--History--20th century
Occupation
Librettists
Function

Person

Birth 1896-12-15

Death 1972-01-17

Female

Americans

French

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w66m3844

Ark ID: w66m3844

SNAC ID: 52992860