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A manuscript of Ethel Schwab Smither’s novel, The Yielding Years (Edgemoor Publishers, 1995).

Ethel Schwab Smither (1893-1969) was born near Cherokee, Kansas, the eldest of seven children. She and her husband Elbert raised three children. Smither was always interested in writing, possibly using it as an escape during difficult times like the Great Depression. Her interest in writing led her to become a member of the Kansas Authors Society. By the time of her death in 1969, Smither had a large collection of completed poems and a typewritten manuscript, The Yielding Years, which was her only novel. The Yielding Years is an historical novel, set in Southeast Kansas from 1869 to 1912. It follows two families, based on her own, who migrated from Illinois to Kansas. The story centers around the development of the area, especially in the coal mining industry. Smither describes the poverty and strife of coal miners through one of the families in the novel. She also highlights nature, “customs, manners, simple pleasures of rural and village life, and the industrial milieu of the period.” According to her children, Smither wrote the novel as a way to conceptualize her experiences and to provide a historical account of the coal mining industry through the eyes of her family. To write the novel, Smither and her husband conducted research within the Kansas Historical Society. The book was not complete by the time of her passing. Her children, William, Mary, and Howard, completed and published the novel for their mother as a memorial.

Publication Date



Languages and Literatures, Social Life and Customs


Arts and Humanities | History

Size of Collection

.4 linear feet

Dates of Collection


Manuscript Number

SpC MS 0331

Smither, Ethel Schwab, Collection, 1986-1995

Included in

History Commons



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