Partner Lillian Smith
Pinehurst City Cemetery, Pinehurst, Dooly County, Georgia, USA
Lillian Smith (1897–1966) was an American writer, civil-rights activist, and devoted Southerner who dedicated her life to educating Americans about the evils of prejudice broadly defined and to pressing white Southerners to recognize that segregation harmed them also. Her longtime companion of Paula Snelling (January 1, 1899 – February 22, 1985), from 1930 to 1966.
They met at Laurel Falls in 1921. Snelling, a trim athletic woman was hired by Calvin Smith as an equestrian counselor. They developed a full lifelong partnership. When Calvin Smith died of cancer in April 1930 and Annie Hester Smith decided to spend the winter with her sons in Florida, Smith began to spend the winters with Snelling in Snelling's Macon apartment. Over the next five winters, with Snelling's encouragement, Smith began to write and to become an active member of the Macon arts community.
That summer, Snelling was almost killed in a horseback riding accident, and the Smith-Snelling relationship took a new turn. As Snelling recuperated from her trampling, she moved into Smith's cabin on Old Steamer Mountain, and Smith assumed financial responsibility for herself, Snelling, and Smith's invalid mother. That Christmas, tragedy struck again when they learned that a 19-year-old woman who had been one of their favorite campers had committed suicide. Grappling with depression and winters of isolation, and missing the intellectual stimulation of Macon, Smith and Snelling decided to begin a literary magazine dedicated to publishing Southern writers and essayists. Smith assumed responsibility for fiction while Snelling edited essays and book reviews. They founded Pseudopodia (1936), name changed to North Georgia Review (1937) and to The South Today (1942). They traveled the South as Rosenwald Fund fellows to investigate racial and class divisions in education and employment; served as member of the Rosenwald Scholarship Committee (1942–44).