Fiorentini Proclaims Saturday ‘Tryout’ Smith Day in Haverhill

Charles W. “Tryout” Smith produced the “Tryout” for more than 30 years from his home on Groveland Street.

WHAV sponsors a dedication of Smith’s new Hilldale Cemetery headstone on Saturday, Sept. 22. (Courtesy photograph)

Haverhill is getting ready to celebrate early amateur journalism pioneer Charles W. “Tryout” Smith this weekend, with Mayor James J. Fiorentini proclaiming Saturday “Tryout Smith Day” in the city.

Ahead of Saturday’s WHAV-sponsored headstone dedication in Hilldale Cemetery, Fiorentini issued a proclamation touting Smith’s accomplishments.

“Whereas the City of Haverhill has a rich history of supporting and encouraging literature and the authors who create this literature, and . . . whereas no figure in Amateur Journalism was as iconic as Haverhill native Charles W. “Tryout” Smith, I urge all the citizens of the City of Haverhill to take cognizance of this event and participate fittingly in its observance,” the proclamation read in part.

Smith began publishing the Monthly Visitor from his Haverhill home in 1888, mostly to help his brother Frank raise money after his brother became too ill to work. The Smiths turned out 118 issues, ending a decade later. It was Smith’s retirement publication, however, “The Tryout,” that earned him his nickname and place in history, according to WHAV historian David Goudsward.

Securing a grant from The Aeroflex Foundation, Goudsward contracted with Atwood Memorial to craft a headstone in Haverhill’s Hilldale Cemetery. Taking place during Essex Heritage’s Trails & Sails weekend, a display of Smith’s work, release of a 20-page commemorative booklet and self-guided tours take place between 1-3 p.m., at Buttonwoods Museum, 240 Water St. Sites include the Haven Garrison House and Pentucket Burial Ground.

Dedication of the headstone, attended by Aeroflex’s Derrick Hussey, takes place at 6:30 p.m., at Hilldale Cemetery.