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Smith, Ray Winfield (1897 (date of birth) - 1982 (date of death))



  • Existence: 1897 (date of birth) - 1982 (date of death) - 1982


Ray Winfield Smith was born in Marlboro, New Hampshire on June 4, 1897. He enrolled in Dartmouth College, but interrupted his studies to serve in the military in 1917. He graduated Dartmouth in 1918 with a B.S.

Smith is best known to the glass community as an expert in and collector of ancient glass. His interest in glass was avocational, and he was described as a "voracious" collector. He combined his passion for glass with an international career that allowed him to pursue collecting while employed in other fields. In the 1950s, Smith's collection was one of the largest private glass collections. He collaborated frequently with the Corning Museum of Glass, most notably for the 1957 exhibition "Glass from the Ancient World: The Ray Winfield Smith Collection." He sold his collection in 1975, and much of it found its way into the collection of the Corning Museum of Glass.

From 1919 to 1936, Smith worked as a manager in the Netherlands, Germany, and Brussels for Sinclaire Oil Company. From 1936 to 1941 he served as president of Basic Industries, Houston, Texas, an import-export firm he founded. With the outbreak of World War II, he reentered the military and remained in military and government service until the mid-1950s. By the late 1950s, he had created the Winfield Smith Foundation, which supported research in archaeology. Smith served as president of that organization. In 1958 he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from his alma mater.

In 1965, Smith proposed a computer project at the University of Pennsylvania Museum focused on stones from the Aten Temple at Thebes/Karnak. He directed the project from 1968 to 1971.

Smith died in 1982 at the age of 85.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Ray Winfield Smith Papers

Identifier: MS-0143
Scope and Contents The personal papers of glass collector and scholar Ray Winfield Smith are divided into eight series:(1) Biographical Information, 1917-1984(2) Glass Research Notebooks and Cards, Circa 1934-1965 (3) Glass Collection Records, Circa 1935-1988 (4) Scholarship and Research Files, 1954-1962 (5) Photographs, Circa 1940-1965 (6) Journal Articles and Unpublished Manuscripts, 1742-1972 (7) Library Index Cards and...
Dates: 1742-1988; Majority of material found within 1935-1975