Jack and Denny Smith contributed much to the life of the greater Los Angeles community. An unflagging supporter of public libraries, Jack spoke often to their friends’ groups, seldom turning down an invitation and routinely declining to accept an honorarium. He was also a frequent graduation speaker at area colleges and universities. Denny worked for twenty-six years for the Southern California Counseling Center, and she volunteered with many organizations, including the Los Angeles Assistance League and committees of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Together, the Smiths worked to promote literacy and children’s education.
|Jack and Denny Smith, at the Historical Society of Southern California, ca. 1990. ||Jack Smith reading to elementary school children, 1991. |
Jack Smith. Untitled speech about volunteerism, corrected typescript, undated.
Smith’s speech pays humorous tribute to women who volunteer, especially his wife, Denny, and to the men who stand behind them. His typescript is marked for presentation.read more
Jack Smith. Commencement address for Occidental College, corrected typescript, June 9, 1979.
Smith was a frequent graduation speaker at area schools. For Occidental College, he spoke about Los Angeles, and his typescript includes his markings for emphasis in delivering the address.
County of Los Angeles, Board of Supervisors. Proclamation recognizing the dedication of the Jack and Denny Smith Library and Community Center, April 16, 2004.
The proclamation is signed by supervisors Gloria Molina, Don Knabe, Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, Zev Yaroslavsky, and Mike Antonovich.
Robert Newman. Letter to Jack Smith, July 10, 1980.(Image not available)
Newman writes to thank Smith for speaking to the Friends of the Los Alamitos Public Library. Jack Smith was enormously popular as a speaker for library groups and traveled throughout Southern California to fulfill his engagements.
Jack Smith speaking to the Friends of the Los Alamitos Public Library, early July, 1980.(Image not available)
Chuck Bernstein. Letter to Jack Smith, November 6, 1971.(Image not available)
Writing on behalf of the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society, Bernstein reminds Smith that the day of the Annual Jack Smith Bird Walk is approaching. After Smith had made his claim about sighting the common grackle in his backyard, he and Denny were in demand to participate in bird walks for Descanso Gardens and many Audubon societies throughout greater Los Angeles. Several organizations named annual bird walks in honor of Jack and Denny.
Craig Dietz. Photograph of Jack Smith with Occidental College president Richard C. Gilman, June 9, 1979.(Image not available)
Mikio Kimoto. Artist’s rendering of the Jack and Denny Smith Library and Community Center, Mount Washington Elementary School.(Image not available)
In honor of Jack and Denny Smith’s long commitment to Mt. Washington and to furthering the goals of libraries and schools, Mount Washington Elementary School named a new library and community center for them. Groundbreaking took place on April 16, 2004, just a few days after Denny passed away, and the building was dedicated on June 2, 2007.