Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday's Wonderful Collection - Griffin Smith papers, SMC.30.3

Griffin Smith, Sr., (1885-1955) was Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court from 1937-1955 and an influential Arkansas newspaperman, business leader, and attorney. He was born in DeKalb County, Tennessee, on July 13, 1885, the son of Napoleon and Louisa Watkins Smith. He lost both parents before he turned sixteen and was raised by a distant relative, Rutledge Smith, a Cookeville, Tennessee, newspaper publisher who taught the younger Smith the trade.

Smith moved to Arkansas in 1911 and married Amelia Daggett (1889-1982) of Marianna. They had two children, a daughter, Sheffield (Mrs. Drew) Lander (1913-2003), and a son, Griffin Smith, Jr. (1915-2000).

The Smiths lived briefly in Bonham, Texas, where Smith worked as a linotype operator, but returned to Arkansas after he became editor and part owner of the Paragould Daily Press and the weekly Paragould Soliphone, two publications that he eventually owned outright. When World War I broke out, Smith reported from France to the Paragould newspapers. The Arkansas Gazette, the Memphis Commercial Appeal, and the United Press also carried his dispatches from the trenches.

After ten years as an editor, Smith decided to to pursue a law degree at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. He passed both the Tennessee and Arkansas bar exams and then moved his family to California, where he studied more law at Stanford University and bought a newspaper at Paso Robles. The family returned to Arkansas in 1926 and Smith opened a law practice in Marianna.
In 1932, Governor Harvey Parnell named Smith to fill an unexpired term as State Comptroller. Smith announced himself as a candidate for governor in 1936 but then changed his mind and instead campaigned successfully for chief justice.

Smith was speaking at First Christian Church in El Dorado, Arkansas, when he suffered a heart attack and collapsed. He died about six hours later, on April 29, 1955, and is buried in Little Rock's Roselawn Cemetery.

This collection consists of correspondence and other papers belonging to Griffin Smith, Sr.

  • Professional and political correspondence (Reel MG00217)
    • 1. 1919 June 11: Griffin Smith, Paragould, to Edgar Herrick, Electra, Texas
    • 2. 1919 December 6: Griffin Smith, Paragould, to W.E. Pevehouse, Burkburnett, Texas
    • 3. 1919 December 17: Harvey G. Combs, Little Rock, to Para-Tex Oil Company, Paragould
    • 4. 1919 December 19: Colter Hamilton Moses, Little Rock, to Sam McHaney, Paragould
    • 5. 1920 January 5: Colter Hamilton Moses, Little Rock, to Griffin Smith, Paragould
    • 6. 1920 April 3: Griffin Smith, Paragould, to G.A. Burr, Paragould
    • 7. 1920 May 8: Sam McHaney, Paragould, to Griffin Smith, Paragould
    • 8. 1920 June 25: Griffin Smith, Paragould, to B.F. Lewis, Peach Orchard, Arkansas
    • 9. 1920 September 10: Griffin Smith, Paragould, to the Southwestern Press Clipping Bureau, Topeka, Kansas
    • 10. 1920 September 23: Mrs. Tom Summers, Peach Orchard, Arkansas, to the Paragould Soliphone
    • 11. 1920 September 25: Griffin Smith, Paragould, to Mrs. Tom Summers, Peach Orchard, Arkansas
    • 12. 1926 October 20: Griffin Smith, Marianna, to Thaddeus Horatius Caraway, Jonesboro
    • 13. 1926 October 21: Thaddeus Horatius Caraway, Jonesboro, to Griffin Smith, Marianna
    • 14. 1926 October 22: T.H. Caraway, Jonesboro, to Griffin Smith, Marianna (telegram)
    • 15. 1926 October 22: Griffin Smith, Marianna, to T.H. Caraway, Senath, Missouri (telegram)
    • 16. 1926 October 23: Caraway, Senath, Missouri, to Smith, Marianna (telegram)
    • 17. 1926 October 27: Thaddeus Caraway at Daughters of American Revolution commemorative site marking (speech)
    • 18. 1926 November 3: T.H. Caraway, Jonesboro, to Griffin Smith, Marianna
    • 19. 1926 December 9: T.H. Caraway, Washington, District of Columbia, to Griffin Smith, Marianna
    • 20. 1926 December 11: Griffin Smith to T.H. Caraway
    • 21. 1926 December 14: T.H. Caraway to Griffin Smith
    • 22. 1926 December 17: Griffin Smith to Mrs. A. Bertig and family
    • 23. 1927 January 13: William P. Sadler, Little Rock, to Griffin Smith, Marianna
    • 24. 1927 May 31: Charles Ebenezer Daggett, Marianna, to Griffin Smith, Marianna
    • 25. 1927 June 6: R.Q. Lillard, Nashville, Tennessee, to Griffin Smith, Marianna
    • 26. 1927 June 16: Griffin Smith, Marianna, to T.H. Caraway, Jonesboro
    • 27. 1927 June 17: T.H. Caraway to Griffin Smith
    • 28. 1927 November 17: T.H. Caraway, Washington, District of Columbia, to Griffin Smith, Marianna
    • 29. 1927 November 21: Griffin Smith to T.H. Caraway
    • 30. 1927 November 25: T.H. Caraway to Griffin Smith
    • 31. 1927 December 3: Griffin Smith to T.H. Caraway
    • 32. 1928 January 3: Griffin Smith, Marianna, to T.H. Caraway, Washington, District of Columbia
    • 33. 1928 January 18: T.H. Caraway to Griffin Smith
    • 34. 1928 January 23: T.H. Caraway to Griffin Smith
    • 35. 1928 January 23: Griffin Smith to T.H. Caraway
    • 36. 1928 January 28: Griffin Smith to T.H. Caraway
    • 37. 1928 March 20: T.H. Caraway, Washington, District of Columbia, to Griffin Smith, Marianna
    • 38. 1928 March 29: Griffin Smith to T.H. Caraway
    • 39. 1931 January 9: T.H. Caraway, Washington, District of Columbia, to Griffin Smith, Marianna
    • 40. 1931 January 12: Griffin Smith to T.H. Caraway
    • 41. 1931 February 4: Griffin Smith, Marianna, to T.H. Caraway, Washington, District of Columbia (letter and report)
    • 42. 1931 February 28: [Griffin] Smith and Fitzsimmons, Marianna, to T.H. Caraway, Washington, District of Columbia
    • 43. 1931 November 21: Hatty [sic] Wyatt Caraway, Riverdale, Maryland, to Griffin Smith, Marianna
    • 44. 1931 November 28: Mid-South Cotton Growers Association, Memphis, to Griffin Smith, Marianna (invoice)
    • 45. 1931 November 28: "Federal Compress Company warehouse receipts"
    • 46. "Arkansas Official Register, 1931-1932, compiled by Jim B. Higgins, Secretary of State"
    • 47. 1932 January 2: Garrett Whiteside, Washington, District of Columbia, to Griffin Smith, Marianna
    • 48. 1932 January 5: Griffin Smith to Garrett Whiteside
    • 49. 1932 February 16: Griffin Smith, Marianna, to Eugene A. Skillern, St. Louis
    • 50. 1932 February 16: Griffin Smith, Marianna, to H.W. Caraway, Washington, D.C.
    • 51. 1932 March 16: Griffin Smith, Marianna, to H.W. Caraway, Washington, District of Columbia
    • 52. Undated: T.H. Caraway to Griffin Smith on appointment of Griffin Smith, Jr., to United States Naval Academy
    • 53. 1932 March 23: H.W. Caraway to Griffin Smith
    • 54. 1932 May 15: Griffin Smith, Marianna, to H.W. Caraway, Washington, District of Columbia
    • 55. 1932 May 27: H.W. Caraway to Griffin Smith
    • 56. 1932 June 1: Griffin Smith, Marianna, to H.W. Caraway, Washington, District of Columbia
  • War Risk Insurance Claims correspondence
    • 57. 1919, 1922, 1931-1932: Between H.W. Caraway, Griffin Smith, and officials from United States Treasury, United States Veterans Administration, United States Adjutant General's Office, United States Veterans Bureau, and American Red Cross

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