Guide to the George and Clarence Smith papers, 1814-1999 | MC052

Summary Information

Repository
Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library
Creator
Smith, George Edwin, 1848-1919
Title
George and Clarence Smith papers
ID
MC052
Date
1814-1999
Extent
5.0 Linear feet
Language
English
Abstract
This collection consists of the personal and professional papers of two nephews of the Reverend Oren Burbank Cheney, founder and first president of Bates College: the Hon. George Edwin Smith (1848-1919) (Bates, 1873; LL.D., 1918), three-time president of the Massachusetts Senate and attorney for railroad trusts; and of his youngest brother, the Hon. Clarence Cheney Smith (1865-1943) (Bates, 1888), a founding recorder and later a justice for the Massachusetts Land Court. Among the materials are a scrapbook of President William McKinley's 1899 visit to Boston and research material by Clarence Smith on the Sacco-Vanzetti Trial. Also includes the correspondence and research of Danny D. Smith, the compiler of the Smith Papers and Smith family genealogist.

Preferred Citation

George and Clarence Smith papers, Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College.

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Historical Note

The Hon. George Edwin Smith (1848-1919) (Bates, 1873; LL.D., 1918) was the president of the Massachusetts Senate and an attorney who represented the interests of railroad trusts. His youngest brother, the Hon. Clarence Cheney Smith (1865-1943) (Bates, 1888), was the founding recorder and later a justice for the Massachusetts Land Court. He was one of the first American jurists to introduce the system of Torrens Land Titles into an American legal jurisdiction. They were nephews of the Reverend Oren Burbank Cheney, founder and first president of Bates College.

Scope and Content Note

The George and Clarence Smith Papers consist of items amassed by the Smith brothers who resided in the residence of Oren Cheney when they were students at Bates College. This collection includes their student notebooks, cash books, and drafts of their debate parts at college. There are many documents, letters and genealogical items, which shed light onto the maternal connection of the Smiths and the Perkins family of New Hampshire; Oren Cheney's second wife was Nancy S. Perkins. There are also documents which show the Smiths' continued social relationship with their Boothby and Swan cousins, the direct descendants of Oren Cheney. The collection also documents some of the professional work and interests of Clarence Smith as it includes copies of his opinions of land court cases he heard from 1924 to 1943 and his research on reactions to the Sacco-Vanzetti murder trial. Other items in the collection include public speeches, papers delivered to various social organizations, a scrapbook about President William McKinley's visit to Boston in 1899, and letters from many notable persons including McKinley; John Hay, U.S. Secretary of State; Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes; Vice President Hannibal Hamilin; and General William T. Sherman.

Although not a part of the Smith Papers, there is included in the collection the correspondence and research of Danny D. Smith, the compiler of the Smith Papers. This research was done in conjunction with his work on the Smith Genealogy.

Organization and Arrangement

This collection is divided into seven series: I. Family Papers; II. George Edwin Smith Papers; III. Clarence Cheney Smith Papers; IV. Massachusetts Land Court Opinions; V. Sacco-Vanzetti Research; VI. Danny D. Smith Correspondence; and VII. Danny D. Smith Research. The collection has been divided into sixty-seven files for reference, and the original arrangement of the items has been kept intact.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

 Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library

70 Campus Avenue
Lewiston, Maine, 04240
207-786-6354
muskie@bates.edu

Access Restrictions

Photocopies of notable people correspondence and autographs for reference use have been substituted in the main files. The originals may only be consulted with permission of the staff

Use Restrictions

The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.

Acquisition and Custody Information

Senator George Smith died without surviving issue, leaving his estate to his widow, Sarah Weld Smith. She then bequeathed the family heirlooms and papers with other items of inheritance to her brother-in-law, Judge Clarence Cheney Smith. He in turn left his estate to his widow, Dorothy Wellington Smith. She appointed her husband's only grandnephew of the Smith lineage, Stanton Thomas Ingersoll Smith (Bates, 1950), to be co-executor of her estate. Stanton Thomas Ingersoll Smith and his sister, Jane Alice (Smith) Lefebvre (Bates, ex-'45), deeded this collection on October 30, 1998 to Bates College, in recognition of his family's many generations of connection with the college and with the founder of the college himself, the Reverend Oren Cheney. Included in the gift was an inventory prepared by Danny D. Smith. Accession No.: 98-020; x-014.

Processing Information

Processed by Kat Stefko, 2007.

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Related Materials

Related Material

David Hibbard Smith land records, Located in the Vertical file, New Hampton section, Genealogy subsection. Gordon Nash Library. New Hampton, New Hamphsire.

David Hibbard Smith papers, Ashland Historical Society (Whipple House Museum), Ashland, New Hampshire.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Bates College (Lewiston, Me.)
  • Maine State Seminary (Lewiston, Me.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Cheney, O. B. (Oren B.), b. 1816
  • McKinley, William, 1843-1901
  • Smith, Clarence Cheney, 1865-1943
  • Smith, George Edwin, 1848-1919--Archives

Subject(s)

  • Sacco-Vanzetti Trial, Dedham, Mass., 1921

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Collection Inventory

 MC052/01 Family papers 1814-1960, n.d. 

Scope and Content Note

This series contains letters of acknowledgement to Judge Clarence Cheney Smith relative to his donations of historical documents in archival and historical repositories and papers concerning the Ashland, New Hampshire Free Will Baptist Church which Oren Cheney attended as a youth. Also included is material on George and Clarence Smith's father, David H. Smith, grandfather David Smith and great grandfather, Stephen Smith, including deeds, receipts and photographs. Also included are documents concerning the Perkins-Cheney family.

There are extensive excerpts from Danny D. Smith's book "The Robert Smith Genealogy: Descendants of Robert Smith (1611-1709) in Colonial Exeter and Hampton, New Hampshire and Dedham, Massachusetts, continued through the late Twentieth Century" which are provided to help researchers understand the family connections of the principals mentioned in the Smith Papers.

Organization and Arrangement

In the order in which the material was received from Danny Smith.

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 MC052/02 George Edwin Smith papers 1870-1920 

Scope and Content Note

This series contains a variety of personal documents such as a cash book from his student days at Bates College (1870); a household account book (1876-1881) kept by his wife Sarah Weld Smith; a file and scrapbook of President William McKinley's visit to Boston (1899); three addresses (1891-1899); documents and correspondence relating to the settlement of the estates of George Edwin Smith and Sarah Weld Smith; and letters and signatures of several notable people including Kate Douglas Wiggin, Henry Cabot Lodge, Hannibal Hamlin, William T. Sherman and President William McKinley. Also included are miscellaneous letters and documents (1884-1919).

Organization and Arrangement

In the order in which the material was received from Danny Smith.

Alternative Formats Available

The collection contains photocopies of the letters from notable people; the originals are housed separately.

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 MC052/03 Clarence Cheney Smith papers 1882-1943 

Scope and Content Note

This series contains a variety of documents and items from Clarence Smith's student days at Bates College through his years as a justice of the Massachusetts Land Court. Included is information on his first wife (Grace Knowlton) and second wife (Dorothy Wellington) and their families; documents from his student days at Bates College: cashbook, various class notes, speeches, drafts of debates, graduation memorabilia and letters; various personal and professional financial records; several speeches, lectures, and research notes including his research on the celebration of Thanksgiving; miscellaneous public commentary, legal papers, financial correspondence and letters to charity organizers; and miscellaneous personal letters and a bound volume of letters from notable people.

Organization and Arrangement

In the order in which the material was received from Danny Smith.

Alternative Formats Available

The collection contains photocopies of the letters from notable people; the originals are housed separately.

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 MC052/04 Massachusetts Land Court opinions 1924-1943 

Scope and Content Note

This series contains seven bound volumes of typescripts, maps and correspondence of Judge Clarence Cheney Smith and the annotated drafts of all his written opinions from 1924 to 1943 when he served as an associate justice of the Massachusetts Land Court in Boston. These were apparently assembled after the death of Judge Smith by his widow, Dorothy Wellington Smith, with the assistance of Boston attorney Richard G. Dorr. Included is a one page broadside reprinted from the May 1939 issue of The National Real Estate Journal, "Torrens System Title Registration Proves Success in Massachusetts" by Richard W. Hale explaining the work of the Massachusetts Land Court.

Organization and Arrangement

Chronological.

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 MC052/05 Sacco-Vanzetti research 1927-1932 

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of research done by Judge Clarence Cheney Smith concerning the Sacco-Vanzetti case. On April 15, 1920, a paymaster and guard were murdered during a robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts. On May 5, 1920, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were arrested and later found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. The trial garnered national attention, and many prominent lawyers and professors took a public position that the pair had received an unfair trial amid Communist hysteria. Smith seemingly became interested in the trial following the publication of Harvard law professor Felix Frankfurter's article "The Portentous Case of Sacco and Vanzetti" in the March 1927 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. The series includes Smith's correspondence to Frankfurter and other prominent legal thinks, such as Charles Austin Beard, who maintained that Sacco and Vanzetti had received an unfair trial asking them to justify their position and asserting his opinion that the trial had been fair. It also includes clippings regarding the various appeals to the Massachusetts Supreme Court and the governor.

Organization and Arrangement

Chronological.

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 MC052/06 Danny D. Smith correspondence 1998-1999 

Scope and Content Note

The correspondence concerns the conveyance of the Smith Papers to Bates College as well as the dispersal of other Smith papers to various institutions.

Organization and Arrangement

In the order in which the material was received from Danny Smith.

General note

The folder numbers written at the top of some of the correspondence in this series refer to the folder numbers in Series VII--Research of Danny D. Smith. The items mentioned in the correspondence will be found in the corresponding folders in Series VII.

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 MC052/07 Danny D. Smith research 1844-1999 

Scope and Content Note

This series contains research compiled by Danny D. Smith in conjunction with his work on the Smith genealogy. Included are genealogies of the Burbank, Cheney, and Perkins families as well as information on the family of Sarah Weld Smith. Also included is a history of the Rebekah Owen Sampler written by Danny D. Smith. The series also contains "acts of resolve" of the Maine State Legislature related to the Maine State Seminary and Bates College.

Organization and Arrangement

In the order in which the material was received from Danny Smith.

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