A Collector Story from Angie Smith About Their Gift of Perthshire Paperweights to the Museum
Leslie Charles Smith was born in Llano County, Texas on October 9, 1931 to Leslie Morgan “Tess” and Annie W. Smith. Growing up in Llano, he worked in his father’s Humble service station at an early age and began developing what would become a lifelong appreciation of cars. Upon graduating from Llano High School in 1949 as valedictorian, he attended the University of Texas at Austin for one year before transferring to Texas Lutheran College in Seguin in 1950. He graduated in 1953 with a B.S. in Chemistry. After two years of service in the U.S. Army, primarily in Germany, Leslie returned to the states and taught high school and
coached for two years. In 1957, he began employment with the Texas Department of Public Safety as a chemist and toxicologist, where he would work for the next 28 years.
Leslie married his college sweetheart, Pflugerville-native Angelyn “Angie” Wuthrich, in 1957. In 1962, they were named Sports Car Club of America National Rally Champion driver and navigator, respectively, in their Porsche 1600 N Cabriolet, which Leslie had brought back from Germany. Leslie and Angie shared many years of hobbies, photography, traveling and collecting, including French marble clocks and Perthshire Paperweights. A 1993 visit to the Antique Rose Symposium in Natchez, Mississippi served as a defining moment in Leslie’s life of collecting. There he purchased from an antique shop his first two Perthshire paperweights, and a new love blossomed. After seeing several of L.H. Selman’s advertisements, his collection started to grow. “If he saw one, he thought he had to have it,” Angie recounted regarding her husband’s love for Perthshire weights.
“If he was interested in something, he had to learn everything he possibly could about it.” Leslie enjoyed every detail of Perthshire paperweights, from the beautiful, varied selection of colors to the intricate faceting. He was particularly fond of Perthshire’s famous picture canes, so much so that he was once described by Perthshire sales representative Gary McClanahan as a “cane freak.”
As part of a 1998 Forsyth Gallery Glass Tour, Leslie and Angie made the first of many visits to the Perthshire Paperweight Factory. There, they had an opportunity to meet with Neil Drysdale and Perthshire artists. During one of the trips, Leslie and Angie designed and created their own paperweights. From these beginnings, their collection grew to more than 900 paperweights, nearly all of which were bequeathed to Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass following Leslie’s death in 2014. The museum is grateful for the Smith’s generous contribution of this fine collection.