SHERMAN L. SMITH PAPERS
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The collection spans 1914 to 2001. Smith's photographs and photograph albums comprise the bulk of the collection. Photographs, memoirs, newspaper clippings and VHS cassettes document the invasion of Kiska Island in 1943 and the 50th anniversary return to Kiska by a small group of 10th Mountain Division veterans in 1993. Smith's 1985 repatriation of a Japanese battle flag to Japanese Kiska veteran, Karl Kaoru Kasukabe is also well documented through photographs, articles and video clips from Japanese television news. Additional photographs depict World War II training activities and the 10th Mountain Division's Italian campaign. Photographs of National Association reunion activities are also included. Smith's correspondence and limited memorabilia completes the collection.
Smith's handwritten notes, along with memoirs related to his experiences in World War II form a portion of the series. Copies of additional veterans' memoirs are also included as are limited articles, newspaper clippings and memorabilia.
Sherman Smith's correspondence with the 10th Mountain Division Resource Center and with the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division comprises the bulk of the series. Additional correspondence between Smith and the Japan Alpine Ski Soldiers Association is also included.
The series also includes limited Mount Rainier Chapter papers. The newspaper clippings document various reunion activities. Sherman Smith's Distinguished Service Award certificate is also included.
Photographs depict World War II and National Association reunion activities. Additional photographs document the 50th anniversary return to Kiska Island, which was conducted by a small group of 10th Mountain Division veterans in 1993.
The series also contains five photograph albums. Four albums are related entirely to World War II. These albums collectively span 1942-1945. Images document both training activities and combat operations. Text selections from The Birth and Death of the Tenth Mountain by Harry Poschman and fromThe War Diary of Dan L. Kennerly by Dan Kennerly are interspersed among the photographs. The fifth album documents Mount Rainier Chapter activities.
Numerous photographs were removed from the albums and digitized. Original photographs are stored separately and have been replaced in the collection with photocopies, which include barcodes and TMD call numbers. To view digitized images of these photographs online, go to www.denverlibrary.org. Select the link to the Digital Image Catalog on the home page. Search by the TMD call number shown on the photocopies in the albums.
A single highway map of northeast Italy comprises the series. Map annotations depict locations of activities and sites visited during the 1997 Italy reunion tour.
The series contains numerous VHS cassettes, collected by Sherman Smith. The bulk of the copied tapes adepict 10th Mountain Division reunion activities and general military history. One tape includes numerous Japanese television news programs covering Smith's presentation of the Japanese flag he found on Kiska Island to Japanese veteran Karl Kaoru Kasukabe.
Language of Materials
Materials are in English.
The collection is open for research.
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.
Sherman L. Smith, son of Donald and Mildred (Sherman) Smith, was born in Reedsburg, Wisconsin June 11, 1918. The family soon moved to Laurel, Montana, where Smith spent his summers herding cattle and learning the basics of mountain climbing. At the age of nine, he began skiing. Smith says that he was not permitted to graduate from high school due to a "disagreement over an English book valued at forty-two cents." Nevertheless, during the 1930s Smith earned two years of college credit while he supported his widowed mother and his younger brother, working as a grave digger, glue factory laborer and warehouseman.
Smith joined the 116th Medical Regiment of the Washington National Guard on September 12, 1940. When National Guard units, including the 116th, federalized on September 16, 1940, Smith transferred to Fort Lewis, Washington. In 1942, Smith discovered the recently-activated 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment, then stationed at Fort Lewis. His immediate enthusiasm for the "ski troops" led him relinquish his staff sergeant's stripes in order to obtain a transfer to the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment as a private.
Smith's mountaineering experience earned him an assignment to the Mountain Training Group, which was responsible for developing training procedures and manuals for the newly-formed mountain unit. Smith participated in maneuvers at the Hunter-Liggett Military Reservation in November 1942 and engaged in early training exercises on Mount Rainier, Washington during the winter of 1942-1943.
In July 1943, Smith trained at Fort Ord, California as part of the amphibious task force assigned to recapture Kiska Island from Japanese forces. While serving on Kiska, Smith found a booby-trapped Japanese flag, upon which several names were written. More than forty years later, Smith discovered the identity of the flag's original owner, Karl Kaoru Kasukabe. During a 1985 trip to Japan, Smith returned the flag to Kasukabe, and the two former enemies became close friends.
Following the Kiska operation, Smith returned to Camp Hale with the 87th Infantry Regiment, where he was assigned to Company G. He remained with Company G during training at Camp Swift, Texas and during combat operations in Italy.
After the war, Smith managed the skiing and climbing departments of three sports stores. From 1953 until his retirement in 1979, he worked as a mechanic for a construction company that installed elevators in high-rise buildings.
Smith and his wife Mildred had two children. Smith passed away September 12, 2002.
1 Boxes (1 linear foot)
Other Finding Aids
Gift; Sherman L. Smith; 1989, 2002.
Number of Boxes: 1 (1 linear foot)
Number of PhotoBoxes: 2 (.5 linear feet)
Number of AVBoxes: 3
Oversize: 1 OVFF
Oversize: 5 PhotoBoxes
- Camp Carson (Colo.) Subject Source: Lcnaf
- Camp Hale (Colo.) Subject Source: Lcnaf
- Camp Swift (Tex.) Subject Source: Lcnaf
- Clippings (information artifacts). Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Correspondence. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Ephemera. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Medals. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Memoirs. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Photograph albums. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Photographs. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Ski troops. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Smith, Sherman L., -- 1918-2002 -- Archives.
- Tourist maps. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- United States. -- Army. -- Infantry Regiment, 87th.
- United States. -- Army. -- Mountain Division, 10th.
- VHS (TM). Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- SHERMAN L. SMITH PAPERS
- April 2009
- Language of description
- Script of description
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