Watson Smith

I recently purchased about 30 books from an archaeologist in Phoenix that I’ve done business with before, and in this lot were 5 titles from the archaeologist Watson Smith.  I’ve had some of Smith’s archaeological writings, but these were “One Man’s Archaeology”, Smith’s musings on various “short subjects”, including a 6 week tenure as acting director of the Museum of North Arizona.  I have to say, I fell in love.  Smith is witty, intelligent, acerbic (look it up), and “OMA” is just terrific.  However, I had only pieces of the full issue of Smith’s writings.  My archaeologist friend put me in touch with Smith’s son, Ben, a Tucson lawyer, and we began an informative back and forth, touching on aspects of Smith’s life, his career as a lawyer, his career as a “self-taught” archaeologist, his writings, his friends, and finally, his death in 1993.  Ben Smith sent me the published recollections of his father’s comrades, words spoken at Watson Smith’s funeral service.  Touching is too mild a term.  Smith was indeed loved, respected, enjoyed.  Ben Smith also sent me “The Compiled Appendices” to “OMA”.  I cannot begin to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading Watson Smith.  I don’t think I’ll sell these.  I’ll keep them for myself.  Joe


  1. Loyd Doty on December 2, 2020 at 11:04 am

    Joe, One of my projects has been writing about amateur and ‘self taught’ archaeologists and their contributions to the science. I hadn’t heard about Watson Smith until I read your blog entry about him. I have started researching him now in order to write a bio on him for my book. Thanks for the info. Loyd Doty

    • Joe Wesbrook on December 2, 2020 at 2:13 pm

      Mr. Doty,
      One of the items I have for Watson Smith is the “program” from his funeral, a 42 page pamphlet. I would be happy to photocopy it and send it to you. It really gives a wonderful picture of him, in the words of his many friends and coworkers. If you’d like a copy, please email me. Joe

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