Assembled over two decades by John W. Crowley, Professor of English at the University of Alabama, this collection has been presented by him and his wife, Emily Smith Crowley, in honor of her parents, Jeanne N. and Joseph M. Smith, who died a month apart late in 2005.

The Smith Collection consists of several hundred volumes, published between the late eighteenth century to the present that document facets of drug and alcohol use and abuse in the United States. Holdings represent such historical phenomena as the Temperance Movement (especially the role of the Washingtonian Society during the 1840s), Prohibition, and the rise of the modern Recovery Movement, especially the origins of Alcoholics Anonymous.

On the premise that so multifarious a subject demands the differing perspectives and methodologies of various academic disciplines, the Smith collection places narrative histories beside medical texts, political and moral polemics, psychological and sociological investigations, biographies and autobiographies, as well as literary expressions in fiction and poetry.