Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Richard Norton Smith  

Pen Name: None


Born: 1953 in Leominster, MA

-- Richard Norton Smith on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Richard was appointed Founding Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, in Springfield, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Smith graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1975 with a degree in government. Following graduation he worked as a White House intern and as a free lance writer for The Washington Post. He became a speech writer for Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke, and then Senator Bob Dole, with whom he has collaborated on numerous projects over the years.Between 1987 and 2001, Smith updated and expanded several US presidential libraries. He was Director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa. He then worked for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Center in Abilene, Kansas, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the associated organizations in Simi Valley, California, the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan. When the museum was rededicated in 1997. In 1990 he organized the Eisenhower Centennial on behalf of the National Archives.In 2001 Smith became director of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas. In October, 2003 he was appointed Founding Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, in Springfield, Illinois. About the same time, Smith also served as Executive Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, which doubled its endowment.As of 2010 Smith was a Scholar-in-Residence in History and Public Policy at George Mason University in suburban Washington, DC.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Patriarch Pa: George Washington and the New American Nation
ISBN: 0395855128

Mariner. 1997

A dramatic portrait of George Washington's presidential years, Patriarch is a gripping story of politics and statecraft. Smith describes Washington's struggle to preside over the bitter feud between Jefferson and Hamilton--two brilliant members of his cabinet--while attempting to distinguish the first presidency.

The Colonel: The Life and Legend of Robert R. McCormick, 1880-1955
ISBN: 0810120399

Northwestern University Press. 2003

This is the acclaimed biography of a giant of American journalism. As editor-publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Robert R. McCormick came to personify his city. Drawing on McCormick's personal papers and years of research, Richard Norton Smith has written the definitive life of the towering figure known as The Colonel.

Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover
ISBN: 096233331X

High Plains Pub Co. 1990

Covers the period when Hoover overcame his defeat by FDR and carved out a role for himself in the isolationist campaigns preceeding World War II and during the Korean conflict

Thomas E. Dewey and His Times
ISBN: 0671417428

Simon & Schuster. 1984

This is the first full-scale biography of Thomas E. Dewey - the famous gangbuster of the thirties, twice candidate for president, a maker of the modern Republican party, the key behind-the-scenes strategist of both Dwight Eisenhower's and Richard Nixon's Presidential nominations. On whatever level he acted, Thomas Dewey made government work, as he made the judicial system work when, as the famous New York district attorney, he rounded up the city's most powerful and infamous gangsters. He was ruthless as well as imaginative, ambitious as well as able. Dewey's record deserves to be known and his personality explored. Richard N. Smith has done both, against the backdrop of the political and economic desperation that launched Dewey to national prominence while he was still in his early thirties. Thomas E. Dewey and His Times profiles the system as well as a man who worked within it. Dewey was a creative adapter and his achievements and his failures say a great deal about the appeal of men "who get things done." (Courtesy of

The Harvard Century: The Making of a University to a Nation
ISBN: 0674372956

Harvard University Press. 1998

The Harvard Century tells the story of how Harvard, America's oldest and foremost institution of higher learning, has become synonymous with the nation, their goals and standards reflecting each other, each setting the other's agenda. It is also a colorful and intimate narrative of the individual achievements of its leaders and of the intense power struggles that have shaped Harvard as it pioneered in setting the priorities that have served as exemplars for the nation's educational establishment.


  • Goldsmith Book Prize, ''Robert R. McCormick The Colonel

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