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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1124

Photograph album of Jerlene Smith, 1948-1984 (inclusive), 1948-1967 (bulk)


Photograph album kept by Jerlene Smith to document her son Gregory's childhood in Tokyo, Japan, and Chicago, Illinois.


  • 1948-1984
  • Majority of material found within 1948-1967

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Jerlene Smith as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.96 linear feet (1 folio box)

The collection consists of a photograph album kept by Jerlene Smith to record her son Gregory's infancy and childhood. The bulk of the photographs document his early childhood in occupied Japan in the late 1940s and early 1950s; snapshots of Smith breast-feeding and bathing Gregory are included, as well as a photograph of his drying diapers; Gregory at birthday parties with Japanese and white American children; playing; and visiting a park and walking around the city with his mother and Noboco, the family's Japanese maid. Images of the interior of the Smiths' home provide a look at domestic life in occupied Japan. A small number of photographs depict Gregory's childhood in Chicago; these include several formal school photographs. Some photographs are captioned and the first page of the album includes a lengthy description of the newborn Gregory.


Jerlene Smith, an African American woman, and her husband, Jack, lived in occupied Japan during his tour of duty after World War II. Their son Gregory was born in Tokyo in 1948. The family lived in Chicago, Illinois, in the 1950s and 1960s. Gregory attended the Hookway School there.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2020-M143

The photograph album of Jerlene Smith was acquired by the Schlesinger Library from Caroliniana in 2020.

Processing Information

Processed: May 2021

By: Susan Earle

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Carl & Lily Pforzheimer Fund, Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library, Sybil Shainwald Fund at the Schlesinger Library, and Class of 1955 Manuscript Processing Fund

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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