Marshall Smith, the cofounder of Brookline Booksmith and a number of other seminal Boston-area retail businesses, died on May 10. He was 90.
In 1961, Marshall and Judy Smith cofounded the first Paperback Booksmith, which would become a chain of 75 stores during the 1960s and 1970s. (The Brookline Booksmith, opened in 1961, remains open and family-owned; other stores were sold after Marshall Smith retired from the business in 2010.) Smith would go on to launch three more retain chains, including Videosmith, a movie rental store chain, and Learningsmith/Cybersmith, a mixed media retail chain; all in all, Smith's businesses opened a combined total of 180 stores over the years.
A longtime activist, Smith served as chairman of the board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and the Brookline Human Relations Commission (a precursor to the organization's current diversity and inclusion committee), and worked to provide books to the imprisoned, among other civic efforts. He also served as a town meeting member in Brookline for a time and treasurer for Mike Dukakis’s campaign for the governorship of Massachusetts. He also published Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr.'s ruling in a a 1974 case that found that Boston public school busing was unconstitutionally segregated.
Smith is survived by his three children, Lani, Greg, and Jed; daughters-in-law Caitlin and Nancy; brother Malcolm; sister-in-law Betty; and grandchildren Sabrina, Philip, Sebastian, Quinn, Annabel, and Lilah.