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Zelnis/Smith Family


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Family Papers


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Zelnis/Smith Family, 1909-2005 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Zelnis/Smith Family, 1909-2005

ID: RHC/RC/342

Extent: 3.5 Linear Feet

Arrangement: The arrangement is loosely by subject in alphabetical order and secondarily by date. The collection is divided into two series: Family Papers and Artifacts. The first series consists of family papers including financial records, WWII papers, correspondence, photos, newspapers, and school documents. Also, records related to the family and their friends and neighbors can be found under the first series. The second series consists of artifacts: hats and vintage hat boxes listed in alphabetical order.

Date Acquired: 05/20/2015. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: DeKalb (Ill.), DeKalb Township High School, Malta Schools, Northern Illinois State Teachers College, Northern Illinois University, Smith Family, United States. Army., Zelnis Family

Forms of Material: Photograph albums, Photographs

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Records in the Zelnis/Smith Family Collection date from 1909 to 2005. Mr. G.B. Smith and Mrs. Valaria Zelnis Smith of DeKalb, Illinois are primary family members featured in the collection.

Collection Historical Note

G.B. "Buddy" Smith was born on September 8, 1907 in Abilene, Texas. He attended Waco High School for one year and left in 1924. Buddy joined the United States Army on August 2, 1942 at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. He specialized in carpentry, landscape design, roofing, and form building. On October 26, 1945, Buddy earned an American Theater Campaign Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, and a Victory Medal. On October 31, 1945 in Tyndall Field, Florida, Mr. Smith was discharged from the Army in good standing due to his physical conditions. He served for a total of three years. In 1950, Buddy completed his training to become a furniture repairman at Yesteryear Gift and Upholstery Shoppe Schools and Colleges in DeKalb, Illinois. During his time of service, he met a woman named Valaria (sometimes spelled Valeria) Zelnis who later became his wife. Mr. Smith passed away on December 7, 1994 leaving behind his wife and only child, Kathleen "Kathy" Smith.

Valaria "Violet" Zelnis Smith was born November 23, 1913 in DeKalb, Illinois and remained here all her life. Her parents, Mr. Charles "Chas" and Mrs. Pauline M. Zelnis were both originally from Lithuania but relocated the DeKalb before her birth. Violet had one brother named Michael "Mike" and three sisters named Florence, Matilda, and Selma. Sadly, Selma died at the early age of six. Michael, born August 27, 1910 and died on February 18, 1983. He served in the U.S. World War II Army from 1941-1963 with G.B Smith. Matilda was born around 1921 and later married Al Schemett and begin a family of her own. She graduated from DeKalb High School and became a member of the DeKalb Woman's Club, the Business and Professional Woman's Club, and the Kishwaukee Community Hospital Auxiliary. She married G.B. on August 16, 1944 in DeKalb and later gave birth to daughter Kathy. She retired in 1978 from working as an Internal Auditor at the First National Bank in DeKalb. Violet remained a loyal member of the St. Mary Catholic Church in DeKalb until her passing on November 8, 2010.

Subject/Index Terms

DeKalb (Ill.)
DeKalb Township High School
Malta Schools
Northern Illinois State Teachers College
Northern Illinois University
Smith Family
United States. Army.
Zelnis Family

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Accruals: Additional materials were given on June 2, 2015.

Acquisition Source: Kathy Smith

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Family Papers],
[Series II: Artifacts],

Series II: Artifacts
Box 4: Consumers Millinery Stores, Inc. (DeKalb) hat box; contains (5) hats
Box 5: Verta Hat Shop (DeKalb) hat box; contains (4) hats

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Family Papers],
[Series II: Artifacts],

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