Partner Fernando Rodolfo de Jesus Vargas Zamora
Columbia University, 116th St & Broadway, New York, NY 10027
31 Jane St, New York, NY 10014
Warren Allen Smith (October 27, 1921 – January 9, 2017) was an American gay rights activist, writer and humanities humanist. In 1961, Smith started the Variety Recording Studio, a major independent company off Broadway, New York City, with his business partner and longtime companion Fernando Rodolfo de Jesus Vargas Zamora. Smith ran the company for almost thirty years (1961–90). In 1969, Smith participated in the Stonewall riots. Warren Allen Smith met Fernando Rodolfo de Jesus Vargas Zamora (September 22, 1928, Costa Rica - February 20, 1989) in 1949, the first week after hitchhiking to New York City from Iowa. The two remained together for 40 years.
Smith was one of the signatories of the 1973 Humanist Manifesto II as well as the Humanist Manifesto III in 2003.
Warren Smith was born in Minburn, Iowa. His father, Harry Clark Smith, who played for and was a scout for the Chicago Cubs' Portland farm team, after service in France including the Battle of Verdun, (the greatest and lengthiest during World War I) was a grain dealer in Minburn and Rippey, Iowa. His mother, [Ruth Marion Miles (1891-1975), was the daughter of a pioneering homesteader, L. D. Miles, who came to the Dakota Territory from Michigan in 1882.
Drafted into the U.S. Army (1942-1946), he landed on Omaha Beach near St. Laurent Sur Mer (1944, the largest amphibian landing in history) and became Chief Clerk of the Adjutant General's Office in the Little Red Schoolhouse, Reims, France. In 1948, he received his B.A. (English, music) from the University of Northern Iowa and in 1949 his M.A. (American Literature Since 1870; advisor was Lionel Trilling from Columbia University.
He was a teacher for 37 years - a progressive school, Bentley in New York City (1950-1954); New Canaan High School in Connecticut (1954-1986); Teachers College, Columbia University (1961-1962).
He was one of the Stonewall Inn rioters and was committed in a love relationship with Fernando Vargas, that he met in 1948, while hitchhiking from Iowa to Columbia University. In 1961, they founded Variety Recording Studio (1961-1990), which became a major independent company on 42nd Street just off Broadway in Times Square, using the motto, "in the heart of showbiz." Vargas and Smith were lovers for 40 years, until Vargas's death from Kaposi's sarcoma in 1989. Concurrently, Gilbert Price was a partner from the early 1960s until his accidental asphyxiation in Austria in 1991.
He died on January 9, 2017 at the age of 95.
BACK TO HOME PAGE