Legacy of song, written by Honesdale native Dick Smith, preserved by Wayne County Historical Society
HONESDALE - Wayne County Historical Society has released a new book on the history of the beloved song Winter Wonderland and its local author, Richard B. “Dick” Smith. The book is available now, at the main museum, 810 Main St., Honesdale.
The lyrics of Winter Wonderland were written by Dick Smith, who was born in Honesdale in 1901. He had a brief but brilliant career writing popular songs, cut short by tuberculosis, which claimed his life at the age of 34 in 1935. He had penned Winter Wonderland only several months earlier, while a TB patient at West Mountain Sanitarium in Scranton.
“The Heritage of Dick Smith’s Winter Wonderland” is written by Peter W. Becker, Wayne County Historian. Becker’s late mother, Elsa Garratt Becker, was best of friends with Dick Smith’s sister Marjorie Smith, who lived at the Smith homestead only two doors from the Becker home. Marjorie died in 1996 at the age of 96. Becker recalls Marjorie Smith’s pride in the fact that her brother wrote this famous song, a favorite during the Holidays.
The 30 page book has eight chapters with text and pictures; the song’s lyrics and links to the original and other, early recordings of Winter Wonderland. The book is designed as a lasting memento of this special part of the legacy of Honesdale and Wayne County, PA and a way to help preserve the story behind this song, its author and his family.
Information is still being sought about the song, Winter Wonderland and Dick Smith, for a future edition. A picture of Smith’s wife, Jean Connor Smith Trahan, is still being sought, as well additional photographs of Dick Smith. Anyone having information, including pictures to share, is asked to contact either Peter Becker, or Carol Dunn, Executive Director, through the Society.
The Wayne County Historical Society is offering a special holiday offer of $5.00 per copy, through December 31, 2018.
For more information, call the Historical Society at 570-253-3240.