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Winston-Salem’s unsolved crime mystery lives on at Reynolda House Museum of American Art

This popular exhibition originally made its debut at the museum on Sept. 9, 2023.

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Smith & Libby draws back the curtain on an event that shocked the nation.

Photos provided by Reynolda House†

Who doesn’t love a good mystery? And true crime fans have another chance to explore the city’s own unsolved mystery.

A condensed version of Reynolda House Museum’s popular exhibition “Smith & Libby: Two Rings, Seven Months, One Bullet” is now open in the East Bedroom Sleeping Porch of the museum — the location where Zachary Smith (“Smith”) Reynolds, youngest child of R.J. + Katharine Smith Reynolds, was fatally shot on July 6, 1932.

This exhibition presents a fascinating look at this unsolved shooting, which rocked the Reynolda estate and made national headlines.

Smith’s wife, Broadway star Libby Holman, was charged with murder along with his best friend, Ab Walker, but the case was ultimately dropped. To this day, it is not known whether Smith, a 20-year-old heir and renowned aviator, died by suicide, accident, or murder — and “whodunit” rumors have circulated for nearly a century.

Visitors can view items from Reynolda’s archives, an animated film about the shooting, and a replica of a stage gown worn by Holman.

Plan your visit to the exhibition.

†Top left image: Smith Reynolds with biplane, circa 1928. Courtesy Reynolda House Museum of American Art Archives. Top right image: Libby Holman in the Broadway production of Rainbow (1928), by Oscar Hammerstein II. Courtesy the Libby Holman Collection, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University.

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