Johnnie Rutland Smith


Distinguished Alumni Service Award (1969)
M.S., 1931; Ph.D., 1934


Patron of the arts, educator, women's advocate, prolific writer and lecturer Johnnie Wilson Rutland Smith was born in Wildwood, Florida, in 1888. She received a bachelor's degree from Florida State College for Women (later renamed Florida State University) in 1908 and a master's degree in English literature from Columbia University in 1915.

At Columbia, she met her future husband, Henry Lester Smith, a Hoosier and graduate of Indiana University. After they married, the couple returned to Bloomington, where her husband had been a Professor and would become a thirty-year Dean of IU's School of Education.

Smith continued her own education at Indiana University, earning an M.S. in education in 1931 and a Ph.D. in psychology with a minor in English in 1934. She taught children's literature at IU as well as comparative education, and was as a lecturer in the Extension Division of IU.

She spoke German, Spanish, and French, and served as a translator of the World Conference of the Teaching Profession in New York in 1946. She also co-authored An Introduction to Research in Education in 1959 with her husband, as well as a number of published articles.

In addition her scholarly and professional endeavors, Smith was very involved in civic organizations geared toward women and education. Among her many contributions was the founding of the Monroe County Department Club, the Bloomington chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters, and the Bloomington branch of the National League of American Pen Women. She was President of the Bloomington Council of Women, the Bloomington Woman's Club, the Nineteenth Century Club, the Faculty Women's Club, the Monroe County Federated Clubs, and the Junior-Senior High School Parent Teacher Association.

She served various other roles countless other organizations, including the Bloomington Hospital Board and the Bloomington Council of Girl Scouts, and was a member of the Hoosier Salon Patron's Association for sixteen years.

She was inducted into the Monroe County Hall of Fame and was given the Distinguished Alumni awards by IU and Florida State University in 1969.

She and her husband had three children, Martha Elisabeth, Ruth Charlotte, and Henry Rutland.

Johnnie Wilson Rutland Smith passed away in 1977.