University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Betty Smith:

An Inventory of Her Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Smith, Betty, 1896-1972
Title: Betty Smith Collection
Dates: 1944-1961, undated
Abstract: Includes manuscripts and letters written by the American novelist and playwright Betty Smith, best known for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-3873
Extent: 4 boxes (1.68 linear feet)
Language: English
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center



Open for research

Administrative Information

Processed by:

Joan Sibley and Michael Ramsey, 2011


This finding aid replicates and replaces information previously available only in a card catalog. Please see the explanatory note at the end of this finding aid for information regarding the arrangement of the manuscripts as well as the abbreviations commonly used in descriptions.

Container List


Maggie - now:
1.1-10 Typescript with handwritten revisions, 769 pages, undated.
2.1-4 Typescript / first draft of first half with handwritten revisions and with many handwritten notes by Smith attached, 321 pages, February 1961.
2.5-7 Typescript / incomplete / third draft with few handwritten notes and with handwritten notes by Smith attached, pages 166-411, February 1961.
2.8 Signed typescript and carbon typescript / incomplete with handwritten revisions and inserts, approximately 90 pages, January 1954.
2.9-11 Typescript / miscellaneous pages with handwritten revisions with notes by Smith attached, February 1961; miscellaneous notes, handwritten and typed, undated.
Tomorrow will be better:
3.1-4 Typescript / first complete draft with handwritten emendations, 362 pages, 1946.
3.5-7 Typed and carbon manuscript / early draft fragments with handwritten revisions / notes, 196 pages, 1944.
3.8-4.2 Typed and carbon manuscript / final draft with handwritten emendations, 297 pages, 1946. Included with this: signed handwritten and typed note concerning composition and publication of novel, 2 pages.
A Tree grows in Brooklyn, a musical play by Betty Smith and George Abbott
4.3-4 Typescript / final draft with handwritten corrections and nine printer's page sketches, 214 pages, 1951. Included with this: publisher's note and review excerpts to be included in dummy copies.
4.5-6 Typescript / first version with handwritten emendations, 112 pages, 25 November 1950; mimeo / second versions with handwritten revisions, 15 January 1951. First version titled Brooklyn story.
4.7 Handwritten manuscript / dialog written during auditions and rehearsals, 47 pages, 1951.


4.8 TccLS to Helen, 22 October 1956.
TccLS to Thomas, Evan at Harper and Brothers, 8 October 1956.


4.9 Abbott, George. Notes on A Tree grows in Brooklyn, a musical play, handwritten and typed manuscript / preliminary notes on style of dialog, 11 pages, 1950.
4.10 Fields, Dorothy Louise. Song lyrics for A Tree grows in Brooklyn, a musical play, typed, carbon, and mimeo / song lyrics with handwritten comments, suggestions, and notes by Smith, 30 pages, 1951.
4.11 Harper and Brothers. TLS (Thomas, Evan) to Smith, 28 September 1956.
4.12 Smith, Betty. Notes: A Tree grows in Brooklyn, a musical play, handwritten manuscript / preliminary notes re scenes to be included in musical, 5 pages, 1950.
4.13 Smith, Betty. Rehearsal notes: A Tree grows in Brooklyn, a musical play, typescript notes to George Abbott, questions, comments, suggested dialog with handwritten additions, 11 pages, 1951.

Explanatory Note Concerning Manuscript Collections Cataloged in the Card Catalog

Prior to 1990 when archival cataloging procedures were adopted at the Ransom Center, all manuscript collections were described in a card catalog.

Organization of Collections:

Manuscripts for each author collection were organized into four categories:

  • Works: manuscripts by the author, arranged alphabetically by title;
  • Letters: the author’s outgoing correspondence, arranged alphabetically by recipient name;
  • Recipient: the author’s incoming correspondence, arranged alphabetically by the author of the letter; and
  • Miscellaneous: all other manuscripts and correspondence, arranged alphabetically by creator.

Materials that did not fit into these categories, such as art, photographs, books, and near-print materials such as newspaper clippings, were dispersed to other Ransom Center collections for cataloging and storage.

Abbreviations Used in Descriptions:

The symbols below were used in combinations. For example ALS means autograph letter signed; Tccms means typed carbon copy manuscript, etc.

  • A = autograph (i.e., handwritten)
  • T = typed
  • S = signed
  • I = initialed
  • Ms = manuscript
  • Mss = manuscripts
  • L = letter
  • FL = form letter
  • N = note
  • D = document
  • C = card
  • PC = post card
  • cc = carbon copy
  • p = page
  • pp = pages
  • l = leaf
  • ll = leaves
  • nd = no date
  • inc d = incomplete date