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Collection Summary
Administrative Information
Biographical Note
Scope and Content Note
Related Materials
Publication Rights
Container List

Smith Family Papers

Collection Summary

University of Vermont Libraries. Special Collections Burlington, Vermont 05405-3596
Smith family
Smith Family Papers
Date [inclusive]
11.0 Linear feet 11 cartons
Shelf location
Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library
Collection includes correspondence and other papers of a prominent Vermont political family. The Smith Family Papers contain correspondence, legal documents, notes, typed and printed material, newspaper clippings and assorted family memorabilia.

Preferred Citation:

Identification of item, Vermont Farm Bureau Papers, The Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

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Biographical Note

John Smith was born in Barre, Massachusetts on august 12, 1789. Eleven years later the family moved to St. Albans, pursued legal studies under the supervision of his brother-in-law, Rowsell Hutchins, and Benjamin Swift, and was admitted to the bar in 1810. On September 18, 1814, he married Maria Waitstell Curtis, and they begat seven children: Harriet Maria, john Gregory (1818-1891), Edward Curtis, Worthington Curtis, Julia Pierpont, Francis Curtis, and Louisa Jen Broeck.

While a member of the national House of Representatives, Smith delivered a famous speech, “The Defense of the Independent Treasury Idea.” He received an honorary Masters of Arts degree from the University of Vermont.

John Gregory Smith, son of John Smith, was born July 22, 1818 in St. Albans, Vermont. He graduated from the University of Vermont in the class of 1838 and from the Yale Law School in 1841. He was admitted to the Vermont bar in 1842 and married Ann Eliza Brainerd in the same year. Several of her novels and other books can be found in the collection. They had six children: George Gregory, Lawrence Brainerd, Annie Brainerd, Edward Curtis (1854-1935), Julia Brainerd, and Helen Lawrence.

In 1843, John Gregory Smith joined his father’s law practice and incidentally became involved in railroad management. He was a state senator 1858-1859 and representative 1860-1862. He was Speaker of the House in 1862. Smith was elected Governor in 1863 and re-elected in 1864. He served as chairman of the state delegation to the national Republican convention in 1872, 1880, 1884.

Edward Curtis Smith, the son of John Gregory Smith, was born in St. Albans, Vermont, January 5, 1854. He attended Philipp’s Andover Academy and graduated from Yale University in 1875. He received his LL.B. degree two years later from Columbia Law School in New York. In 1877 he was admitted to the Vermont bar. A year later, he was married to Anna Bailey James and they raised four children: James Gregory, Edward Fairchild, Curtis Ripley, Anna Dorothea.

He was director and vice-president of Central Vermont Railroad Co. 1881-1892, its president 1892-1895, and its receiver until 1898. In 1898 when the Central Vermont Railroad Co. became the Central Vermont Railway he was made president of the latter, until the start of World War I. He remained a director until his death in 1935. He was president of the People’s Trust Company, Welden National Bank of St. Albans; Sherman National Bank of New York City; Robin Hood Ammunition Company, Swanton. From 1889-1898 he invested over $175,000 in gold prospecting in South Dakota.

Edward Curtis Smith Died on April 6, 1935.

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Scope and Content Note

The Smith Family Papers contain correspondence, legal documents, notes, typed and printed material, newspaper clippings and assorted family memorabilia. The papers are divided into three categories (business, family, politics) and arranged in a loose chronological order.

The papers of John Smith deal mainly with his law practice with Benjamin Swift (1810-1827). The papers of John Gregory and Edward Curtis Smith are dominated by personal correspondence. There is also a substantial amount of correspondence between members of the family. The campaigns for Governor of Vermont by J. G. (1863) and E.C. (1898), j.G’s raising of pedigree cattle, E.C’s Yale papers (1872-1875), and E.C’s mining interests in South Dakota (1889-1898) are among the subjects covered in this collection. Contributions by Mrs. J.G. and Mrs. E.C. Smith include literary memorabilia such as plays, poems, accounts of travels and a personal account of the St. Albans Raid, 1864.

The collection contains relatively little material concerning the railroads and other businesses in which J. G. and E.C. were involved. The correspondence deals chiefly with the personal lives of the family.

The collection occupies 13 cartons. It is approximately 50% business, 40% family and 10% political papers.

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Related Materials

Related Materials

The Library also has a collection of the papers of Edward Curtis Smith while he was governor, 1898-1900; this small collection constitutes his official gubernatorial papers.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Vermont. Governor.
  • Yale Law School.


  • Correspondence

Geographic Name(s)

  • St.Albans(Vt)--History--Raid, 1864


  • Politicians--Vermont

Personal Name(s)

  • Swift, Benjamin, 1781-1847
  • Smith, Edward Curtis, 1854-1935
  • Smith, John Gregory, 1818-1891
  • Smith, John, 1789-1858


  • Mining claims--South Dakota
  • Cattle
  • Europe--Description and travel
  • Politics, Practical--Vermont

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