Skip to NavSkip to Content

 
The University of Texas at Austin

News

Celebrity Journalist Liz Smith Announces Donation of Papers to Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin

Governor Ann Richards (left) and Liz Smith (right), 1996. Photo courtesy of Maryanne Russell.

Governor Ann Richards (left) and Liz Smith (right), 1996.
Photo courtesy of Maryanne Russell.

Renowned celebrity journalist Liz Smith announced that she will donate her personal and professional papers to the Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin.

"Liz Smith is one of the legendary figures in the world of popular culture and celebrity news," said Dr. Don Carleton, executive director of the Center for American History. "As she once famously said, ‘Gossip is news running ahead of itself in a red satin dress.' Given the increasing dominance of celebrity coverage, her papers are an important addition to our news media collection, which documents all aspects of the industry."

A 1949 journalism graduate of the University of Texas, Smith has covered celebrity news for almost 60 years in seven New York newspapers and countless magazines. She was a CBS radio producer for Mike Wallace, and an NBC-TV producer in the 1950s. She won an Emmy for her reporting from the Battleship Intrepid on the 40th anniversary of World War II. She appears on Fox News, and her syndicated column runs in the New York Post, Daily Variety and 70 newspapers. Her memoir, Natural Blonde, was published in 2000 and was a New York Times bestseller. Known as the "Grande Dame of Dish," Smith is also a well-known philanthropist, raising millions for AIDS, Literacy Partners, N.Y. Restoration Project, P.A.L., the Mayors Fund to Advance New York, and the Landmarks Conservancy.

Mary Elizabeth Smith (3rd from left) from the University of Texas Cactus.

Mary Elizabeth Smith (3rd from left) from the University of Texas Cactus yearbook, 1947.

The Center's media history archives include the papers of Walter Cronkite, Robert Trout, Sig Mickelson, Joseph and Shirley Wershba, and Andy Rooney. Smith's papers, which comprise her published and unpublished writing and correspondence, will come to the Center in stages, and will open to researchers in the future.

"It's particularly fitting that Smith's papers find a home at the Center," Carleton added. "Not only is she an alumna of the University, we also have the papers of Liz's dear friend Ann Richards. And as we have the papers of pioneering celebrity journalist Walter Winchell, Smith's archive will provide important continuance for researchers of American journalism."

In addition to the papers of news media professionals, the Center's media history archives include the archives of the New York Times, Newsweek, New York Journal American, and New York Herald-Tribune; and one of the largest newspaper collections in the United States, containing original editions of some of the earliest known newspapers published in Texas and the Lower Mississippi River Valley. The Center also holds the archives of a number of outstanding photojournalists, including Dirck Halstead, David Hume Kennerly, Wally McNamee, Margaret Sandahl Thomas, Flip Schulke, and Diana Walker.

For more information, please contact Erin Purdy (erin.purdy@austin.utexas.edu), 512-495-4692.

Return