The Smith Family

Richard and Novelle Smith honor the legacy of loved ones through giving

Richard and Novelle Smith
Richard and Novelle Smith

Richard and Novelle Smith have provided generous support for the U.S. Marine Corps Film Repository through the purchase of expanded conservation storage to house the films and additional equipment that is dedicated to converting archival film into high-definition video.

Richard, a member of the USC Libraries’ Ex Libris Society Executive Committee, and Novelle are longtime supporters of USC Libraries. These contributions honor the memories of Novelle’s cousins, Lt. Col. James H. Davis and John S. Davis, who were brothers, USC alumni, and proud Marines.

Because of this family’s desire to honor loved ones through a legacy of preservation and stewardship, this historic archive can be shared with the world.

Lt. Col. James H. Davis Film Vault

Jim Davis
Jim Davis

Constructed and named in honor of Lt. Col. James H. Davis (United States Marine Corps), the vault houses films from the History Division of the United States Marine Corps and is a critical component of the Marine Corps Film Repository project. The Lt. Col. James H. Davis Film Vault provides optimal climate and environment control in which MIRC can preserve films without degradation for hundreds of years.

Lt. Col. James H. “Jim” Davis was born in Jamestown, South Carolina, and grew up in central/coastal South Carolina. He played center on the Bishopville High School football team before leaving for the University of South Carolina.

Upon graduation, Jim joined the Marine Corps in 1967 as a Second Lieutenant and served two tours in Vietnam. He participated in what many historians consider the “last battle” on Koh Tang Island in Cambodia during the final stages of the conflict in 1975. While in Vietnam, Jim was awarded three Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars before returning to serve the rest of his career in the Marine Corps until retiring in 1988.

After “retiring,” Jim joined the Dorchester County (S.C.) Sheriff’s Department to spearhead its counter-narcotics initiative, and led the emergency response team during the Hurricane Hugo crisis and recovery.

Jim joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1990, and served in multiple roles before retiring again in 2011. While with the CIA, Jim served two tours in Iraq/Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His last assignment prior to retiring was as an instructor at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. He passed away in 2012 in Fredericksburg, Virginia, leaving behind three grown sons.

Listen to a 1975 interview with Capt. James H. Davis, commanding officer of G Company 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, concerning the assault on Koh Tang Island during the SS Mayaguez operation in Cambodia.


John S. Davis Scanning Center

John Davis
John Davis

Located within MIRC’s operational facilities, the John S. Davis Scanning Center provides high-quality digitization capability, converting motion picture film to high resolution digital video. The scanning center consists of a suite of dedicated scanning rooms and adds two Golden Eye IV 4K film scanners to MIRC’s existing film digitization capacity.

John S. Davis was born in Kingstree, South Carolina. He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s degree in Art and did post-graduate work in sculpture and pottery. John served seven years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and was a member of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal.

Davis served as an Associate Director at the Columbia Museum of Art and retired as the Director of Grounds and Arboretum with the College of Charleston. He was a landscape designer and had a pottery studio in North Charleston.

Davis was married to Jackie Davis of Charleston, and was a member of North Charleston United Methodist Church. He passed away in December 2016.


James H. Davis and John S. Davis Marine Corps Oral History Collection