From 1958 through the remainder of his life, David R. Smith was an integral part in The Manuscript Society. As he told Kevin Segall in a recent interview, “I joined [The Manuscript Society] in 1958. When I was able to begin attending the annual meetings, I was thrilled to find others who were as interested in manuscript collecting as I was. Annual meetings were always a joy because they gave attendees opportunities to see other fabulous collections that had been lovingly pulled together, whether by an institution or an individual, in key cities all around the world. I was elected a Trustee of the Society in 1977, and Vice President in 1980, leaving that position later the same year to become Executive Director. It was an honor to serve in that post for 21 years, longer than anyone else.” Segall’s complete interview with Dave Smith will appear in the Spring issue of Manuscripts.
Upon hearing of his death, Manuscript Society President, Allen Ottens noted,
“When I opened my email box the other morning, sad news poured out. Kevin Segall, a former Board member of the Manuscript Society, had posted the passing of Dave Smith the previous day.
“Dave made a mark as one of the country’s best known archivists while working for The Walt Disney Company. I see by the record that Dave had almost a half century association there. He was a Disney Legend–literally. Thanks to Dave, hundreds of thousands of Disney records, documents, and artifacts were preserved, even down to menus used at Disney restaurants.
“Dave was also one of the stalwarts of the Manuscript Society, a member of ours for sixty-one years, which means we had Dave longer than Disney. From 1980-2001 Dave was the Executive Director of the Manuscript Society and helped shape, sustain, and maintain us. Even after relinquishing that role, he has been an abiding presence with us.
“Recently, Kevin Segall conducted an interview with Dave that will appear in the Spring issue of our journal, Manuscripts. That is probably Dave’s last significant public utterance, which will make that issue something truly special.
“Dave Smith was gentle, wise, thoughtful, ethical, and passionate about preservation. He was a giant among archivists. We will miss him.”
Dave’s professional life for four decades was with The Disney Company. He will be missed by both his Manuscript Society and Disney family.
Here are links to his obituaries. https://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-dave-smith-20190215-story.html