ARP, BILL, 1826-1903.
Bill Arp papers, 1834-1952 (bulk 1834-1903)

Emory University

Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Arp, Bill, 1826-1903.
Title: Bill Arp papers, 1834-1952 (bulk 1834-1903)
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 108
Extent:.25 linear ft. (1 box); 1 microfilm reel (MF)
Abstract:Papers (many photocopies) of Georgia lawyer and humorist Bill Arp (Charles Henry Smith) including newspaper columns, a dissertation, correspondence, legal documents, and a bill of sale.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Gift, 1973.


[after identification of item(s)], Bill Arp papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Bill Arp (Charles Henry Smith), lawyer and humorist, was born 15 June 1826, in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and died in Cartersville, Georgia, 24 August 1903. He moved to Rome, Georgia (1851) to practice law; became city alderman; was elected to the Georgia Senate (1865); and became mayor of Rome (1868). After 1877, he lived near Cartersville, Georgia, but served as vice-president of the Rome Exposition (1888). He began writing under the name Bill Arp in 1861, and published more than 2,000 "Bill Arp letters" for which he became popular; the columns (letters) appeared in more than 700 weekly newspapers during the height of his popularity. He published seven books (1866-1903), including a textbook history of Georgia.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of clippings, newspaper columns, a dissertation, correspondence, legal documents, and a bill of sale. Large portions of the collection are photocopies of original materials. The dissertation is available on microfilm only.

Correspondence (1853-1937) is primarily Arp's. There is also correspondence of Annie May Christie (1937), author of the University of Chicago dissertation on Arp (1952). The dissertation was also published in abbreviated form in Civil War History, Volume 2, Number 3, State University of Iowa, 1956. Legal documents are agreements; one (1834) is for the purchase of Jeff, a slave, in Gwinnett County, Georgia, by A.R. Smith, Arp's father. Copies of some of Christie's research notes are also in the collection. Newspaper columns were published in Home and Farm (1902) and Catholic News (1937).

Arrangement Note

Arranged by record type.

Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 Clippings
1 2 Newspaper columns "Bill Arp's Letter" (photocopies)
1 3 Bill Arp, correspondence, 1853-1899 (photocopies)
1 4 Legal documents (photocopies)
1 5 "Bill Arp" by Annie M. Christie, Civil War History, September 1956
1 6 Annie May Christie, research correspondence, 1937 (photocopies)
MF 1 Annie May Christie's dissertation: "Charles Henry Smith, 'Bill Arp', a biographical and critical study of a nineteenth century Georgia humorist, politician, homely philosopher." University of Chicago, 1952