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Jak Smyrl Papers

Identifier: SCL-MS-14uuuu

Thirty cartons plus forty-seven oversized, 3” deep flat file boxes, 1923-2014, of correspondence, personal papers, photographs, and artwork, reveal the life and work of this South Carolina artist who spent his entire working career (1949-1987) as the illustrator for The State newspaper. The single largest unit of materials in the collection consists of Smyrl’s artwork, most of it primarily created daily for the newspaper. Covering everything from local to global news, this artwork especially serves to illustrate the history of South Carolina. Politics, local interest, sports, nature, and other subjects are all covered. In addition to the work Smyrl completed for hire at the State, the collection contains freelance work, as well as personal artwork including paintings, doodles, and pieces for friends. The collection also contains Smyrl’s correspondence, including WWII-era letters, to and from. These detail college life, as well as time spent in the Marine Corp, including the Battle of Okinawa. Notable correspondents include photographer Tom Nebbia and occasional notes from South Carolina politicians Strom Thurmond and John Carl West. Smyrl’s unique tilting desk, originally owned by The State and purchased by Smyrl upon his retirement, as well as four extra-oversized pieces including two collages, one painting, and one carving template, are housed in the Thomas Cooper Library Graniteville Room.


  • 1923 - 2014


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

All rights reside with creator. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact The South Caroliniana Library.


37.5 Linear Feet (30 cartons 47 oversize flat file boxes 5 Large-oversize works of art 1 drafting-table desk)