Rhode Island College Professor Chester Smolski retired in 1994 after a successful 41 year career at the college. Professor Smolski co-developed and coordinated the Rhode Island Geographic Education Alliance, a project of the National Geographic Society, and was an acknowledged expert on urban geography, urban history and city planning. He contributed over 370 columns for The Providence Journal and Providence Business News.
In 2009, the Smolski family donated almost 8,000 slides and 370 Op-Ed columns to the James P. Adams Library permanent collection at Rhode Island College. Both the slides and the Op-Ed columns are authored by Professor Smolski. They reflect the international nature of his research and his commitment to using that work to inform public discussion on Rhode Island's place in history and the world. The Adams Library has committed itself to maintain this outstanding collection and to place the Smolski Collection on its Digital Commons because of its educational value for urban studies, geography, architectural history and city planning.
The early phase of the digitization project was supported in part by a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and with financial support from the Smolski family.