Smith, Sydney Goodsir, 1915-1975

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Sydney Goodsir Smith was born in Wellington, New Zealand, on 26 October 1915. He was the son of Sir Sydney Alfred Smith (1883-1969) the New Zealand-born medico-legal expert and Regius Professor of Forensic Medicine at Edinburgh University (1928-1953). The young Sydney came to Scotland at the age of two. He briefly studied medicine at Edinburgh University in the 1930s, and then studied at Oriel College, Oxford, from which he was expelled, although he did manage to graduate with the degree of MA in History in 1937. Due to chronic asthma he was turned down for service in both the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War, but during the early 1940s his first poems began to appear, Skail wind 1941, and The wanderer and other poems 1943. Other poems and collections include The deevil's waltz 1946, Under the Eildon tree 1948, Orpheus and Euryidice 1955, Figs and thistles 1959, and Kynd Kittock's land 1965. Smith's first play The Wallace was commissioned for the Edinburgh International Festival in 1965. He experimented with a novel too, Carotid Cornucopius 1947. Sydney Goodsir Smith died in Edinburgh on 15 January 1975.

From the guide to the Papers and Correspondence of Sydney Goodsir Smith (1915-1975), 1932-1969, (Edinburgh University Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Papers and Correspondence of Sydney Goodsir Smith (1915-1975), 1932-1969 Edinburgh University Library
referencedIn Caledonian Press. [Advertisements for two forthcoming books to by published by the Caledonian Press, 793 Argyle Street, Glasgow, C.3, Scotland]. National Library of Scotland, NLS
creatorOf Papers and Correspondence of Sydney Goodsir Smith (1915-1975), 1932-1969 Edinburgh University Library
referencedIn Poetry mss., 1954-2002 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Woodberry Poetry Room (Harvard College Library) poetry readings, 1931- (ongoing). Woodberry Poetry Room, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Smith, Sydney Goodsir, 1915-1975. [Pamphlets]. Yale University Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Caledonian Press. corporateBody
associatedWith Grieve Christopher Murray 1892-1978 person
associatedWith Modern Poetry Association corporateBody
associatedWith Smith Sydney Goodsir 1915-1975 person
associatedWith Woodberry Poetry Room (Harvard College Library). corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Scottish poetry 20th century


Birth 1915-10-26

Death 1975-01-15



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SNAC ID: 27860443