A Guide to the Study of the United States of America

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66. John Smith, 1579/80-1631

Smith’s right to be called one of the fathers of American literature may be defended on several counts and in spite of certain reservations that are in order. If he is thought of as a chronicler of his firsthand observations, it must be admitted that he was frequently hasty, careless, repetitious, boastful, and confused. His reputation for veracity, viewed more leniently by contemporary scholars than by those of an earlier time, must still sustain the charge that he told taller tales than the facts warranted. Nevertheless, interest in him as a man of letters has not suffered from the lack of exactitude in his writings. His Pocahontas story, whether true or apocryphal, soon became a legend. As such it inspired a literature of its own, which includes James Nelson Barker’s drama, The Indian Princess (1808), and John Esten Cooke’s novel, My Lady Pokahontas (1885). What Smith stood for in his own person has, perhaps, had the strongest literary influence. Coming to America as Elizabethan explorers went to strange places, he shared a heroic enterprise as a colonist, in the best tradition of an English gentleman adventurer. He was to succeeding generations of Americans the typically intrepid pioneer, frontiersman, and strong man whom they elevated into a national hero. His writings are, therefore, not only source materials for understanding early colonial life in Virginia, but also sources of inspiration for various themes that in different periods and with different emphasis have been used by writers in America. The most recent study of Smith’s life, which favors the case for his reliability, is Bradford Smith’s Captain John Smith, His Life & Legend (Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1953. 373 p.).

67. A true relation of such occurrences … as hath hapned in Virginia since the first planting of that collony … London, J. Tappe, 1608. 221. NN

First account of the first permanent English colony established in America.

68. A map of Virginia. Oxford, Eng., J. Barnes, 1612. 39, 110 p. fold. map. Rc-2805 F229.S69 RBD

Includes a detailed account of the physical aspects of Virginia and of the Indian way of life observed there.

69. A description of New-England … London, R. Clerke, 1616. 61 p. 7-15406 F7.S63 RBD

Favorable description of the natural resources of New England, designed to attract settlers; part of Smith’s campaign to promote colonization in that region, an enterprise in which he was interested for some 20 years after leaving Virginia in 1609.

70. The generall historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles . . . London, M. Sparkes, 1624. 248 p. illus. Rc-2796 F229.S61 RBD

Repeats and enlarges upon various earlier writings; first appearance of the story of his rescue by Pocahontas.

71. Travels and works. Edited by Edward Arber. New ed., with a biographical and critical introd. by A. G. Bradley. Edinburgh, J. Grant, 1910. 2 v. (984 p.) illus. W11-10 F229.S655

Bibliographies: v. 1, p. xxvii–xxx, [cxxx]–cxxxvi.

Reprints of Smith’s shorter narratives about Virginia, and of Book IV of his General History of Virginia are contained in Narratives of Early Virginia, 1606-1625 (1907), p. [25]–204; [289]–407, a collection edited by Lyon G. Tyler, for the Scribner series, Original narratives of early American history, recently published by Barnes & Noble.

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Chicago: "66. John Smith, 1579/80-1631," A Guide to the Study of the United States of America in Donald H. Mugridge, Blanche P. McCrum, and Roy P. Basler, a Guide to the Study of the United States of America (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1960), P.11 Original Sources, accessed August 25, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=Q8A4QPFCJ2FSKLX.

MLA: . "66. John Smith, 1579/80-1631." A Guide to the Study of the United States of America, in Donald H. Mugridge, Blanche P. McCrum, and Roy P. Basler, a Guide to the Study of the United States of America (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1960), P.11, Original Sources. 25 Aug. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=Q8A4QPFCJ2FSKLX.

Harvard: , '66. John Smith, 1579/80-1631' in A Guide to the Study of the United States of America. cited in , Donald H. Mugridge, Blanche P. McCrum, and Roy P. Basler, a Guide to the Study of the United States of America (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1960), P.11. Original Sources, retrieved 25 August 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=Q8A4QPFCJ2FSKLX.