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Smith, Ella Thea. 1932(?). Biology: The Science of Life. Unpublished. Salem, Ohio: Salem Historical Society.

NOTE: Comparison of this typewritten biology textbook from 1932 to its contemporaries, and to Smith’s published version (Exploring Biology 1938), would be useful to anyone studying the history of the teaching of evolution, health, alcohol, eugenics and other key topics in biology.

Ella Thea Smith graduated in 1920 from the University of Chicago with a degree in Botany. She returned that year to her hometown of Salem, Ohio, where she would teach biology until her retirement in the early 1950s. Evidentially, Smith was so dissatisfied with the biology textbooks then approved for use in her district that she wrote her own.

Smith’s typewritten, mimeographed and string bound textbook, Biology: The Science of Life, was first used in classrooms in 1932, and was revised by Smith several times over the next few years. The copy offered here was discovered in 2007 misfiled under the title “workbook” at the Salem Historical Society. At the time, this was the only known copy. A second has since been located.

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The Science of Life by Ella Thea Smith