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Sally L. Smith Papers

VOLUME: 45 linear feet

ACCESS: This collection is open to the public upon request.  

COPYRIGHT: Please consult the archivist for information about duplication or publishing of any materials from this collection.

Biographical Note
Sally L. Smith was born to Isaac and Bertha Liberman on May 7, 1929 in New York City. She graduated from Bennington College in 1950, where she studied with Martha Graham and Erich Fromm. Her senior thesis entitled "A Child's Guide to the Parent's Mind" was published as a book in 1951. Smith earned a master's degree in education from New York University in 1955. She worked for the World Health Organization in Paris in the 1950s. She was married to Robert Smith for 20 years and had three sons Randy, Nick, and Gary. Sally Smith died in December 2007.

Smith founded The Lab School of Washington in 1967. In the beginning, Smith asked her artist friends to serve as teachers and enlisted other friends to raise or donate money. She developed the school's innovative curriculum, the "academic club" method, in which students explore history, geography, civics and other subjects by relying on visual and hands-on activities. Since 1984, the school has hosted an annual awards dinner that recognizes famous people who have overcome their learning disabilities. Previous honorees include Cher, Tom Cruise and Harry Belafonte. From its initial focus on “intelligent children with learning disabilities,” the Lab School expanded to include an adult night school and a second campus in Baltimore.

In 1976, Smith joined the faculty of American University. She ran the master’s in special education program which focused on learning disabilities. Smith collaborated with PBS on four films demonstrating her teacher training techniques (‘Teach Me Different’ with Sally Smith) in January 2002.  

Smith was the author of ten books about learning disabilities and lectured nationally and internationally on the role of the arts in teaching children with learning disabilities. She received numerous awards including American University’s medal for twenty-five years of outstanding service (2001) and the Learning Disabilities Association of America’s LDA Award (1993).

Scope and Content Note

The Sally L. Smith Papers document her work as an educator at American University and The Lab School of Washington through correspondence, notes from meetings with students and parents, and syllabi. Also covered is her work for the World Health Organization and the World Federation of Mental Health. Her expertise in learning disabilities is illustrated through manuscripts of published and unpublished monographs and speeches. Also included are materials she compiled on learning disabilities.

Processing Note
Archives staff organized the collection into three series: The Lab School of Washington, Sally L. Smith, and audiovisual. Like materials were grouped together. Whenever possible, original folder titles were retained. Archives staff assigned the subject categories in the LD literature.

The Sally L. Smith Papers were donated to American University Library in April 2010 by her son, Randall A. Smith.

Series Descriptions and Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: The Lab School of Washington (1966-2007) 4 linear feet
The series documents Sally L. Smith’s role as founder and teacher at The Lab School of Washington through correspondence, programs, directories, curricular materials, publications, notes, speeches, photographs, policies, Of note are samples of General George S. Patton’s homework which reflect his dyslexia and a signed photograph that his daughter gave to Smith. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject and/or document type.

Box 1
10th Anniversary 1977
Academic Club Method 1966-1998
Administrative Committee 1967-1968, n.d.
Art Portfolio 1987
Board of Trustees 1981-2007
Bridging the Gap Program
Budget 1982-2000
Career Services 1999
Chinese First Lady’s Visit 1985
Clippings 1969-2003, n.d. [2 folders]
College Counseling 1990-2002
Contract Proposal submitted to the State of MD 1978
Correspondence, 2007
Curricular Materials
Restaurant Program
Dear Sally… 1996
Evaluative Materials 1974-2003
Events 1969-1996, n.d.
Films 1970-1976
Fundraisers 1990-2006, n.d.
Cats 1984
Film Benefit 1977
Hexagon 1982
The Real Thing 1985
Tiny Jewel Box 1998
Gala Awardees
Gala 1985
Gala 1986
Gala 1987

Box 2

Galas (continued)
Gala 1988
Gala 1989
Gala 1990
Gala 1991
Gala 1993
Gala 1994
Gala 1995
Gala 1996
Gala 1999
Gala 2000
Gala 2001
Gala 2002
Gala 2003
Gala 2005
Gala 2006
Game Guidebook
George Patton 1982-1984
Graduation 1988-2004
Hardy School Project 1968-1969
The Lab School Symposia 2002
Martin Luther King Junior School Project 1994-1995
Media Center 1969-1978
National Committee, Arts for the Handicapped Slideshow 1979
Night School 1984-1994, n.d.
Audio Tape 1985
Students 1984, n.d. [Restricted]
Parents 1968-1992
Conferences 1970-1972 [2 folders]
Handbook 1984, 1992
Personnel 1983-1989
Phone Messages
Policies and Procedures 1975
  Kingsbury Center Reports 1980-1982
  The Lab School Link 1984-2006
  The Lab School Times 1992
  News of the Lab School 1979-1980
Relationship with Kingsbury Center 1972-1982
Report 1993
Report Tutoring 1971-1995

Box 3
Sally L. Smith Notes [4 folders]
Slides - Museum Club Presentation
Snow Days 1970-2003
Speeches 2005
Handbook 1993, 1997
Lists 1969-1995 [2 folders]
Students 1966-1994 [Restricted]
Directories 1987-2004 [2 folders]
Evaluations 1969-2002
Films 1970-1972
Notes 1972-1973
Projects 1970-2002
“Students Speak Out” 2002
Summer Session 1980-2007
Tutor Training

Series 2: L. L. Smith (1947-2007) 13.5 linear feet
This series consists articles, books and poetry (published and unpublished) written by Smith; biographical information; calendars; correspondence; speeches; and teaching materials from her courses at American University such as lecture notes and syllabi. Of note are documents from the Friends Morgan project and the development of the film version of “A Child’s Guide to a Parent’s Mind” as well as information on learning disabilities. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject and/or document type.

Box 3 (continued)
American University 1977-2007
Comprehensive Exams 1992-2004
Contracts 1977-2007
Course Materials
  Arts in Special Education 1995-2007
  Arts in Special Education Syllabi 1983-2006
  LD I 1975-2007

Box 4
American University (continued)
Course Materials (continued)
  LD I Final Exams 1975-2006
  LD I Lecture I
  LD I Lecture II
  LD I Lecture III
  LD I Lecture IV
  LD I Lecture V
  LD I Lecture XIV
  LD I Testing
  LD II Anger
  LD II Arts
  LD II Counteracting the Feeling of Being Stupid
  LD II Critical Thinking
  LD II LD in High School
  LD II Lecture
  LD II Lesson Plans 1985-1991
  LD II Managing Groups
  LD II Relationships
  LD II Screenings
  LD II Syllabi 1987-2003
  LD II Task Analysis
  LD II Teaching Auditory Perception 1967-1999
Box 5

American University  (continued)
Course Materials (continued)
  LD II Teaching Auditory Perception 2000-2007, n.d. [2 folders]
  LD II Teaching Career Awareness
  LD II Teaching Language
  LD II Teaching Study Skills
  LD II Teaching Through Computers
  Methods of Teaching Children with LD
Faculty Award 1995
Graduate Student Handbook for Special Ed Program 1994-2007
Role of Arts Workshop 1977 [2 folders]
Student Work 1995-2007
Teach Me Different  See Also: Audiovisual series
American Women for International Understanding 1984-1987
Archway Conference 1978
Army LD Institute Proposal 1987
“Bringing the Unconscious into the Classroom” 1956
Encyclopedia Britannica Article 1994
“The Fourth R” 1987
“Gagging Our Foreign Students” 1952
“Learning Disabilities”
“The Learning Disabled Children” 1979
“Masking the Feeling of Being Stupid” 1987
“Plain Talk” 1981
“Signals of LD” 1987
“Some Observations about Mental Health” 1955
“Subversary in the Nursery”

Box 6
Articles (continued)
“When Learning is Problem” 1978
“While Getting the Passport” 1971
“Who Gets Your Goat” 1952
“Who’s Ganging Up on Whom”
“The Yugoslavs’ Protest” 1953
ACLD Conferences 1983-1987
Awards 1980-2007
McGraw Hill Prize 1990
Berlin Conference 1953
Biblia Periodika
Against the Odds
  Chapter Revisions 1&2
  Chapter Revisions 3
  Chapter Revisions 5
  Chapter Revisions 6
  Chapter Revisions 7
  Chapter Revisions 8
  Chapter Revisions 9&10
  Chapter Revisions 11
  Chapter Revisions 12
  Chapter Revisions 13
  Manuscript [2 folders]
Difference is Not Bad
  Correspondence 1993-1997
The Inside Track
Live it, Learn it
  Chapter Revisions 1
  Chapter Revisions 2

Box 7
Books (continued)
Live it Learn It (continued)
  Chapter Revisions 3
  Chapter Revisions 4
  Chapter Revisions 5
  Chapter Revisions 6
  Chapter Revisions 7
  Chapter Revisions 8
  Chapter Revisions 9
  Chapter Revisions 10
  Chapter Revisions 11
  Chapter Revisions 12
  Handwritten Notes and Drafts [2 folders]
  Interviews with Club Leaders
  Manuscript [2 folders]                      
No Easy Answers
  Book Reviews 1978-1988
  Correspondence 1978-2000
  Translations 1988-1999  
The Power of the Arts
  Chapter Revisions
  Correspondence 1998-2005
  Handwritten Notes and Drafts
Children’s Books

Box 8
Business Cards
Calendars 1995-2000
Calendars 2001-2007
Career Academies 2002
CBS Night Watch
Christmas Open Houses 1996-2006
Citizens Committee on Children 1955
Catherine MacKenzie columns
Elizabeth II Coronation 1953
FDR 1945-1954
Sally L. Smith 1945-2006 [2 folders]
Mademoiselle Feature 1955
Reader’s Digest Article 1981
Connecticut Association for Children with Learning Disabilities, 1989
Contact Lists 1977-1979, n.d.
Copyright Information 1976-1978
Agent 1951-1993
Birthday 1989-2000, n.d. See Also: Oversize
Blos, Joan 1957-1959
Booz, 1979-1981, 2002
Christmas 1969-2006, n.d. [2 folders]
Editors 2000-2004
“Fan Letters” 1971-1993, n.d.

Box 9
Correspondence (continued)
Invitations 1969-2004, n.d.
Replies to People Magazine Letters 1980-1981
Cosmos Club 1988-2007
DC Public Schools 1967-1968
Early Childhood Development
Environmental Curriculum Collaborative 1970
European Council of International Schools 1987
Film “A Child’s Guide to a Parent’s Mind” 1952-1956 [2 folders]
Friends Morgan Project [3 folders] 1965-1968, n.d.
Report 1966
Funeral Programs 1981-2006
Greece Trips 1989-2005
High Risk Program 1986
LD Adults 1985-2002
LD Association (LDA) 1981-1994
LDA Conference 1990-1995 [2 folders]
LDA Response to Shaywitz Article 1992
LD Handbook 1977
LD Lit 1965-2007, n.d. [4 folders]

Box 10
LD Lit (continued)
Adults 1981-1999, n.d.
Arts Education 1966-1994
Assessment 1969-2002
ADHD 1964-2006, n.d.[4 folders]
Autism 1991-2006
“Changing Channels: Using TV to Teach the Learning Disabled” 1980
College 1979-1990
Delinquency 1949, 1972-1995, n.d.
Dyslexia 1960-2007, n.d. [2 folders]
Education 1972,1984-2007
ESL 1955-1992 n.d.
History 1975-2003  
Inclusion 1984-1993
Language Disorders 1971-1985
Literacy 1989-1992
Multiple Intelligences 1987-2006
Neurology 1963-1995, n.d. [2 folders]
Parenting 1979-1995, n.d.
Self-Esteem 1995-2005

Box 11
LD Lit (continued)
Sensory Integration 1988-1991
Social Skills 1970-1980
Young Adults 1983-1985
Learning Disabilities Journal Editing 1989
Literature Course for 4th and 5th Graders 1965-1967
Master’s Degree 1951-1956  See Also: Oversize
Memorial Service
NEA Conference 1978
Original Artwork
Pan-Pacific and South east Asian Women’s Association 1953-1965, n.d. [3 folders]
Parenting and LD Child
Parties, 1993, 1998, n.d.
PEN Club 1956-1957
White House Event 1987
Report of the Task Panel on the Role of the Arts in therapy and Environment 1978
The Alternative Learner
Beauvoir: Building the Future
Countering the Feeling of Being Stupid 1992
The Hidden Dimension of Learning Disabilities
How do We Teach the concrete Literal LD Child about Ethics
How the Learning Disabled Succeed Against the Odds
Keeping the Faith
The Learning Disabled build their Character
NDN Speech
A Night School for LD Adults  
Night school Students Give Advice on Mastering Life Skills
Pockets of Talent
Reflections on Being a School Administrator 2004
Remarks at the Corcoran Gallery 2007
Remarks at the National Gallery 2000
Robert Rauschenberg
Scientific Conference 2006
Speaking Up for Themselves
Speech Materials

Box 12
Speeches (continued)
Stop Blaming Yourself and Your Child
Succeeding through the Arts
Teaching: Individualizing, Igniting…
Teaching Academic Skills through the Arts
Testimony before Rehabilitation Services Administration 1979
Testimony before the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee 1980
Testimony before the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee 1998
Thanksgiving Tuesday 1990
Transition Issues for Teens with LD
Turning Anger into Positive Energy 1998
Turning I Can’t into I Can for the Learning Disabled 1990
Who are the learning disabled and how do we teach them
Youth in Turmoil 1965
Taskforce for Special Education 1970-1971
To-Do Lists
UN Internship 1947-1948
Workshop Charlotte 1978
World Assembly of Youth 1951
World Foundation for Mental Health
Correspondence 1953-1955
Toronto 1954
Trip 1953-1955
World Health Organization Correspondence 1951-1954
World Hegira Notes 1953-1954

Series 3: Audiovisual Materials (1972-2006) 27.5 linear feet
The series contains audio and video tapes featuring interviews with and speeches by Sally L. Smith and programs relating to adults with learning disabilities and The Lab School of Washington. The tapes are in chronological order by format. The films are stored separately.

Box 12 (continued)
Adults with Learning Disabilities
Baccus OK Use
Robert Rauschenberg Talking about his LD
Henry Winkler
American Orthopsychiatric Association
“A Tribute to Family Members: Advocates for Social Change” (2)
International ACLD Conference
“Broke Again? Tools to Assist the Learning Disabled Adult in Basic Money Management”
Keynote Sessions
M. Levine (2)
“Moral Implications in educating All Children”
“The Magic within You: Enhancing Self-Control & Self-Esteem in Children with LD & ADHD”
Sally L. Smith
“Introspection & Exploration into Abilities of learning Disabled Individuals” 1982 (2)
“Making the System Work for You”
“Teachers: Individualizing, Igniting and Advocating”
“Turning Anger into Positive Energy”
“Who are the learning disabled and how do we teach them?”
Lab School
“Falling Through the cracks: Learning Disabled Adults Speak Out” 1985
The Lab School VOA Saturday Morning 11/14/87
Lab School Slide Tape
Lab School (3 tapes)
Orton Dyslexia Conference
Howard Gardner – “The Theory of Multiple Intelligences”
Sally L. Smith interviews & Lectures
Larry King Favorite Stories 1986
“For Children Only Lecture #3” 10/10/1987
Diane Rehm Show Open phones 1/13/1988
Larry King Show 10/28/1988 (2 sets)
Fred Friendly 11/13/1989
“Succeeding Against the Odds” DAR 1/7/1991
“Desert Island Discs” 5/25/1991
WRC with Joel Spivak 1/3/ 1992
Larry King Show 1/8/1992
“Creative Wellness - Succeeding Against Odds” 1/27/1992
US Air – Focus on Health 2/1992
Fred Fiske Saturday 4/4/1992
Jan Carr Show 4/5/1992
Jim Bohannon Show 2/1/1993
Diane Rehm Show 2/22/1995
“Exploring the Brain” (Gina Van Weddington)
“Issues of Parenting Children with Learning Disabilities” A twelve lecture series (Lab School) 1991
“Learning Disability: A Parent’s Guide” (Menninger Productions) 1993
Sally’s Today Show 5/10/2006 (2)
“Teach Me Different! Successful Strategies for Teaching Children Who Learn Differently with Sally Smith” (PBS & American University) 2001
Lab School Films
One-Five: “Learning for a Lifetime: The Academic Club Method”
   One- “Introduction”
   Two- “The Setting Up of a Club”
   Three- “Developing Reading Readiness Skills”
   Four- “Teaching History, Geography and Civics
   Five- “The Teacher as Club Leader”
Six- “Tools for Learning: An Artist Teaches Academic Skills Through Woodwork”
Seven- “Linking Sound and Symbol: A Musician Teaches Reading Readiness”
Eight- “Movement in Learning: A Dancer Teaches Academic Readiness”
Nine- “Passport to Literature- The Media Center: Listening, Understanding, and Acquiring Language Skills”
Joel Jacobson Films “Preparation for Learning”
“Joel Jacobson Originals”
Miscellaneous LSMC/Jacobson/Outs/Trims
Commercial Films
Grading Techniques (Johns)
Teaching Children w/ Learning Disabilities 51 min.
“Critical Thinking: Making Sure of Facts” (Second Edition of How to Judge Facts)
Marc R Psychology w/ brother C Dugan 000-485/ Parent Informing 490-650
“The Reluctant Delinquent”
“The Crucial Second Step in the Management of Hypertension”
“Specific Learning Disabilities: Evaluation”
“School of Hope”, Innovative Schools in D.C. Area
Unlabeled (6)