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Alta Smith Roberts collection

About this collection

Alta Belle Smith Roberts (1918-1992), known as Alta Belle Smith for most of her life, was born Alta Belle Reimers on October 31, 1918 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the daughter of Harry Oliver Reimers and Jessie Mae Reimers, the latter of whom died of tuberculosis two years later at the age of 28. She was raised in and around Torrington, Connecticut.

Alta Reimers married Dr. Edward Rice Smith, a graduate of Yale Medical School, on June 19, 1938. Dr. Smith was a surgeon who later became Surgical Director of Meriden General Hospital in his hometown of Meriden, Connecticut. The couple initially lived in Meriden, but moved to a large house at 805 E. Johnson Ave. in the nearby town of Cheshire following the end of World War II. Between 1941 and 1955, they had six children. Shortly afterward, Alta enrolled in library school at Southern Connecticut State College (now Southern Connecticut State University), from which she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in library science in 1962. She then took a job as librarian at the Milford School, and later became a cataloger.

Although Dr. Smith's job was prestigious, it also required him to be away from his wife for long periods of time and their domestic life became increasingly acrimonious. The couple divorced in the early 1970's. The former Mrs. Smith then moved to Andover, Connecticut, and was remarried to Victor Roberts, an employee of the US Postal Service, in 1974; this marriage would last until her death in 1992.

Alta Smith/Roberts enjoyed bell-making and genealogy and would often express herself through poetry, particularly at difficult times. Most of her genealogical records and poetry are included in this collection, along with papers and other personal artifacts from the late 1930's through 1970's.

 
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