Rev. Dr. (and author) Charles Smith records in Special Collections

Within The Ames Library’s 4th floor department called Tate Archives & Special Collections are thousands of unique materials and all are available to benefit people in the IWU and surrounding communities.

Charles Merrill Smith

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The Reverend Dr. Charles Merrill Smith was a Methodist minister, a prolific mystery writer (whose detective was another Methodist minister), and a member of the IWU Board of Trustees from 1958-1968. Smith is best known for his Reverend Randolph mystery series, starring Reverend “Con” Randolph, a former professional football player turned clergyman and detective in Chicago.


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The display pictured here shows selections from his collection (6 linear feet, unprocessed) comprised of manuscript and typescript works, correspondence, photographs, and all of the works he published in English plus four of the same that were translated into Dutch, German and Japanese.

The items displayed in these posts about Special Collections holdings are just a small portion of the kinds of materials found in Tate Archives & Special Collections. These collections are in a variety of languages and formats (artifact, book, manuscript, and media) and creation dates range from the 11th-21st centuries. Some collections are completely described and identified and some have yet to be thoroughly organized or examined.

Although many holdings do have a direct connection to the University, many are distinct and unrelated to the others such as the supporting materials for research on the people who created and collected the pottery and basketry items displayed in the entry level rotunda.

Curious minds seeking inspiration for creative works and original research are welcome to stop by and explore the possibilities!