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Gary Mark Smith collection

Call Number: RH MS 1380


This collection contains manuscript material, photographs, negatives, and slides of, about, or containing the work of Lawrence, Kansas-based photographer Gary Mark Smith, as well as other related materials regarding his career and family.


  • Creation: 1969 - 2021


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright of photographs remains with the creator during his and his wife's lifetimes.

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Gary Mark Smith

Gary Mark Smith was born in Pennsylvania in 1956 and went on to receive his bachelors in science from the School of Journalism at the University of Kansas in 1984, working as a journalist and photographer for the University Daily Kansan. He earned a Master of Arts degree from Purdue University in 1996.

Prior to attending KU, Smith was already starting his career in street photography, beginning in the late 1970s to travel internationally and document both ordinary daily life around the world and extraordinary, dangerous situations. He has worked in both film and digital photography, creating both color and black and white images, and has worked on six different continents. His work has focused on a wide variety of topics and issues, ranging from South American guerilla wars, the eruption of Soufriere Hills Volcano in Montserrat in the Caribbean, to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.

Gary Mark Smith resides in Lawrence, Kansas.


23.5 Linear Feet (60 boxes + 28 oversize boxes, 7 oversize folders, 2 CDs)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This collection contains manuscript material, photographs (mounted and unmounted), negatives, slides, and photo CDs containing work by or about Gary Mark Smith. Much of the collection comes from his street photography work. Also included are newspaper articles from when he was a student reporter for the University Daily Kansan as well as Smith's travel backpack.

The manuscript material in this collection includes resumes, certificates, newsletters, exhibition programs, newspaper and magazine articles, itineraries, correspondence, books, and scrapbooks related to Smith's professional and personal life.

The photographic material comprises the bulk of the collection and has been organized by the size of the material and the series to which it belongs. Some series may be in multiple locations due to the varying sizes of the material. Smith’s 2023 addition to the collection typically consisted of large groups of prints and negatives that were sometimes identified at the folder, envelope, or box level and other times were not identified at all, so these images are not described in as great detail. [Brackets] indicate that Spencer staff has described or contextualized unlabeled materials. Some photographs show potentially disturbing or offensive images and have been labeled as “explicit.”

Topics covered by the photographs include but are not limited to El Salvador death squads, University of Kansas student life and street life in Lawrence, the fall of the Berlin Wall and European reunification after the end of the Sovient Union, the volcano and residents of Monserrat who refused to leave when it was erupting, Amsterdam, the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, the Rocinha Favela in Brazil, the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, scenes from nature, and dreamscapes, or layouts of photographs fashioned together by Smith.

There are also two music compact discs with cover art by Gary Mark Smith.

Physical Location

RH MS 1380

Physical Location

RH MS Q409

Physical Location

RH MS R386, RH MS R541

Physical Location

RH MS-P 1380, RH MS-P 1380 (f), RH MS-P 1380 (ff)

Physical Location

RH CD 42

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Gary Mark Smith, 2010, 2023.


Guide to the Gary Mark Smith Collection
Gary Mark Smith collection
Finding aid prepared by eear. Finding aid encoded by eear. Finding aid revised by eje, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Gary Mark Smith collection, RH MS 1380, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States