The Julian D. Smith Manuscript Collection consists of material that helps to illuminate the Peruvian political and social scene from the end of the 1940s until 1967. Smith was for many years manager of the Lima Office of the American-owned Cerro de Pasco Corporation, an enormous economic presence in the Peruvian body politic. His commentary on the state of the nation and the state of his employers' endeavors within it provide a unique perspective on Peruvian developments during this period.
The Diaries Series, the largest in the collection, consists of 47 bound volumes and one set of typed pages that follow Smith's personal and professional life in Peru on a daily basis. Smith writes of the details of Cerro de Pasco's commercial enterprises, its labor problems, the volatile Peruvian political situation, and, finally, escalating protests against American foreign policy, foreign enterprises in Peru, and the feudal lifestyle of many of the nation's own prominent families. Smith's diary is also filled with the minutiae of his relationships with his wife Dorothy, his brother-in-law Thad Leland, and his Peruvian friends and acquaintances, including many persons prominent in Peruvian politics and society. Smith dwells at length, too, on his ongoing health problems and eventually on the failure of Dorothy's silkscreen printing business, Chan Dor. The diaries for the following dates are missing: August 1 to December 31, 1950; August 1, 1954 to May 31, 1955; and January 1 to June 31, 1966. Biographies of Smith's brother-in-law, artist Thad Leland, appear in the Notes Series as well as in the Ephemera Series. The sole item in the Scrapbooks Series intersperses photographs of Cerro de Pasco's mining operations with scenes typical of Peruvian life. The Art Series contains sketches presumably by Thad Leland. In the Clippings Series is a photograph of Leland with one of his completed portraits, while the 1955 annual report of the Cerro de Pasco Corporation is housed in the Publications Series.