Nominated by Arlington Public Library
A lifelong County resident, in 1973 Virginia Lillis Smith began conducting oral history interviews for the Library under the guidance of Sara Collins, who was then Head of the Virginia Room, now the Center for Local History (CLH).
After her career as the Director of the Atlantic Gallery of Georgetown for 26 years, a gallery specializing in traditional paintings and prints, particularly maritime art, she returned to do more interviews. These included a series with long-time county businesses and another series on the 75th anniversary of her childhood neighborhood, Arlington Village. The latter was compiled into a book, “The Village and the Pike.”
Her excellent listening skills and natural talent for engaging her narrators and putting people at ease have made her a talented oral historian, and she continues to make significant contributions to the CLH Oral History Program. Six of her oral histories have been published in the “Arlington Historical Society Magazine.” She also served as a member of the county’s History Task Force in 2015.