Ronald A. Smith

Ronald A. SmithDr. Ronald A. Smith is a noted sport historian and Professor Emeritus at Penn State University. He grew up on a dairy farm in Southern Wisconsin and attended Northwestern University majoring in history and participating on the baseball and basketball teams. He then played minor league baseball with the Chicago White Sox. Following his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin, he spent 28 years at Penn State teaching sport history and researching intercollegiate athletics. He has published a number of books including Sports and Freedom: The Rise of Big-Time College Athletics (Oxford University Press); Play-by-Play: Radio, Television, and Big-Time College Sports (Johns Hopkins University Press); and Big-Time Football at Harvard, 1905: The Diary of Coach Bill Reid (University of Illinois Press).

The same Bill Reid is the subject of love letters, discovered in Smith's research about the coach. Bill Reid had a side to his life that was little known outside his life at Harvard and its athletics. The love letters, showing the passion of Bill and Christine, his girlfriend, fiancé, and wife in the late Victorian Era and early twentieth century, are Smith's initial venture into literature of love.

The intimate and explicit love letters of upper-middle and upper class individuals are an exceptional find, illuminating aspects of life in the early twentieth century as well as making us reflect on our own lives.

 On the book: 

This book is a treasure trove of historical evidence.  Historians have long been busy trying to decide what exactly the Victorians thought about sex, and this is no small body of evidence that supports the views of many that, far from being repressed, some Victorians were quite outspoken about the pleasures of the body.  A must-read for women’s historians as well as historians of sexuality and American culture.
Benjamin Wise, Prof. of History at the University of Florida