TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Guide to the Smith (Leon R.) Papers, 1954-2004
Born on January 20, 1929, in Pioneer, Texas, Leon Ross Smith, Jr., was the son of oilfield superintendent Leon R. Smith, Sr., and schoolteacher Hazel Hibler. After his mother died in 1935, Smith, Sr., married chiropractor Louella Clayton. Leon followed in his stepmother’s footsteps, attending Texas Chiropractic College in San Antonio for three years. However, in 1954, Smith moved to Austin to study music theory and composition, and he received a Bachelors of Music degree in Music Theory in 1956 and Masters of Music two years later, both from the University of Texas at Austin. Upon graduation, Texarkana College appointed Smith chairman of the Music Department, where he also taught music theory courses and directed the college choir. He founded the Texarkana Oratorio Society in 1959 and served as its first conductor.
In 1961, Smith received his doctorate in Music Theory from Indiana University in 1967. He then became chairman of the Music Theory and Composition faculty at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. While there he served as secretary and board member of the Tennessee Music Teachers Association, as well as editor of the TMTA journal. Smith also began work with music learning technology, including building the East Tennessee State University Listening Lab and the UT-Knoxville Learning Lab.
In 1970, the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point (UW-SP) hired Dr. Smith as professor of Music Theory and coordinator of theory-composition instruction. He founded the Central Wisconsin Composers Forum, became a founding member of the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers, and composed for band, orchestra, choir, and the electronic media, which were performed around the state and broadcasted on Wisconsin Public Radio.
In 1978, Dr. Smith established the UW-SP Electronic Music Studio, the first of a series of research, educational, and equipment grants that elevated the school’s ranking to the top of electronic and computer music facilities in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest. In cooperation with art, drama, and communications faculty, Smith began staging media shows in kinetic art, light sculpture, ceramics, dance, and video production. From 1980 to 1990, he acted as coordinator of the Music Department Graduate Program, expanding the program to include Suzuki Violin studies and the Studio Pedagogy teaching emphasis.
Dr. Smith also served as vice president of the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers, vice president of the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra, liturgical cantor for Trinity Lutheran Church, Stevens Point, and as an oratorio soloist for regional choirs.
In his personal life, Smith married Mary Louise Mary Lou Anderson in 1958. The next year, they had a son, Ross. Dr. Smith retired in 1994, and he and Mary Lou moved to Texas. Ten years later on August 23, he passed away in Round Rock, TX.
Sheet music, audio recordings, floppy discs, manuals and workbooks, teaching assignments, and more compose the Leon R. Smith Papers, 1954-2004, which remain under original division in six series: I. Professional material, 1958-2000; II. Compositions and arrangements, 1958-2004; III. Teaching material, 1966-1994, undated; IV. Workbooks and manuals, [ca. 1967]-1987, undated; V. Equipment, 1978-1994, undated; and VI. Graduate school, 1954-1967.
The first series, Professional material, 1958-2000, includes information related to Dr. Smith’s work in music and teaching, including his vita, academic history, newspaper clippings, presentations and publications, organizations, programs, copyrights, and other material.
The second series, Compositions and arrangements, 1958-2004, comprises the bulk of the collection and contains sheet music, organized by genre: Dance, Instrumental and organizational, and Vocal, and magnetic media, organized by type: Videocassette, Audio cassettes and microcassettes, Reel-to-reel audio, and floppy discs. Some of the more well-documented titles are listed as well, such as Robot Ramble, Lexington Green, and Ascension of Jesus Christ.
Series III, Teaching material, 1966-1994, spans Smith’s career teaching music, from his years at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, until his retirement from the University of Wisconsin, Steven’s Point (UW-SP). Organization is based on the courses he taught, ranging in topics from Theory and Counterpoint to Group Piano and Music Education. Also included are magnetic media used in his teaching, such as audio cassettes containing recordings of student and concert performances and floppy discs with teaching and student files.
Workbooks and manuals, [ca. 1967]-1987, undated, comprises the fourth series with teaching manuals and skill books used during his career, many of which he wrote himself to teach students.
Series V, Equipment, 1978-1994, undated, contains material, primarily for electronic music recording and for the Electronic Music Studio (EMS) of UW-SP. This material includes manuals, grant applications, programming information, brochures and surveys about EMS, as well as system discs and cartridges for electronic and computer programs.
The final series, Graduate school, 1954-1967, contains assignments, sketchbooks, Dr. Smith’s thesis from the University of Texas, Austin, and dissertation from Indiana University.
Smith (Leon R.) Papers, 1954-2004, the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.