Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Gay Powel-Smith diary

Abstract

The Gay Powel-Smith diary (dated 1955; 0.04 cubic feet; 1 folder) comprises one diary that documents the experiences and duties of domestic worker Gay Powel-Smith for the Largay and Carter families in Connecticut and Virginia in the mid-1950s.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Gay Powel-Smith diary
Creator
Powel-Smith, Gay
Extent
0.04 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Babysitting
Cooks.
Religion
Women -- United States -- Social conditions.
Arrangement
Collection is arranged by format. The Wade Hall Collection of American Letters has been processed into discrete collections based on provenance.
Finding Aid Author
Sarah Coblentz
Preferred Citation
2009ms132.0241: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Gay Powel-Smith diary, 1955, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Gay Powel-Smith was born in London, and was a domestic worker in Connecticut and Virginia in 1955.
American Letters collector Wade Hall (1934-2015) was a native of Union Springs, Alabama. Starting in 1962, he lived in Louisville, where he taught English and chaired the English and Humanities/Arts programs at Kentucky Southern College and Bellarmine University. He also taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Florida. He held degrees from Troy State University (B.S.), the University of Alabama (M.A.), and the University of Illinois (Ph.D.). He served for two years in the U.S. Army in the mid-fifties. Dr. Hall was the author of books, monographs, articles, plays, and reviews relating to Kentucky, Alabama, and Southern history and literature. His most recent books include A Visit with Harlan Hubbard; High Upon a Hill: A History of Bellarmine College; A Song in Native Pastures: Randy Atcher's Life in Country Music; and Waters of Life from Conecuh Ridge.
Scope and Content
The Gay Powel-Smith diary (dated 1955; 0.04 cubic feet; 1 folder) comprises one diary that documents the experiences and duties of domestic worker Gay Powel-Smith for the Largay and Carter families in Connecticut and Virginia in the mid-1950s. The entries in the diary describe Powel-Smith's impressions of American culture and history, dissatisfaction being employed by the Largay family, being treated as a babysitter for the Largay's children, and aspirations of finding employment that allowed her to utilize her cooking talents. She details tantrums thrown by the children, meals had and made, trips taken, and in the summer of 1955 she describes experiencing Hurricane Connie. Powel-Smith also writes about leaving the Largay family and searching for a new position, finding work with the Carter family as a cook, moving to Virginia, the new house she lived in, and cooking holiday meals for the Carter family. The diary represents an English domestic servant's views on American life, religion, holidays, and her disillusionment with domestic work.
The Gay Powel-Smith diary is part of the Wade Hall Collection of American letters, which includes correspondence and diaries from all over North America covering the time period of the Civil to Korean Wars. The materials were collected by Wade Hall and document everyday men and women.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Gay Powel-Smith diary, 1955

  • Box 267, folder 8
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If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.

UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open by appointment only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Materials must be requested at least 5 days before your appointment.

Researchers must have an SCRC Researcher Account to request materials. View account set-up and use instructions here.

Questions? Contact SCRC via our Contact Form.

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You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.