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Reed Smoot papers

Identifier: MSS 1187

Scope and Contents

Contains correspondence, journals, photographs, newspaper clippings, speeches, and memorabilia. Most of the materials relate to Smoot's career as a senator and his activities as a church leader. His senatorial materials document his work with the United Sates Tariff Commission, as well as his confirmation hearings. His correspondents include the president of the United States: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover and leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Joseph F. Smith, Heber J. Grant, James E. Talmage, Charles W. Nibley, Richard R. Lyman, and John Henry Smith. Also includes microfilm copies of the journal transcripts. Materials dated 1827-1967. Also contains nine photographs of Smoot family potraits taken in 2017.


  • 1827-1967


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at

Biographical / Historical

Reed Smoot (1862-1941) was a Republican senator from Utah (1903-1933) and an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1900-1941).

Reed Owen Smoot was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 10, 1862 to former mayor of Salt Lake City, Abraham O. Smoot and Anne Kristina (Morrison) Smoot. Reed Smoot attended public schools and the University of Utah, and graduated from Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah in 1879. After graduation, he served as a Mormon missionary in England. He married Alpha M. Eldredge of Salt Lake City on September 17, 1884. They were the parents of seven children.

On April 8, 1900, Smoot was ordained as an apostle of the LDS Church and became a member of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. After becoming an apostle in 1900, Smoot received the approval of church president Joseph F. Smith to run for office in 1902. He was elected the same year to the United States Senate (58th Congress) as a Republican Senator, representing the state of Utah. His election sparked a bitter four-year battle in the Senate on whether Smoot was eligible or should be allowed to serve, due to his position as a Mormon apostle. As a result, the Senate began an investigation into Smoot's eligibility.[2] The Smoot Hearings began on January 16, 1904. On February 20, 1907 the Senate defeated the proposal and Smoot was allowed to serve in the Senate. Smoot was reelected in 1908. The Senate bill creating the National Park Service was sponsored by Reed Smoot. Additionally, Smoot was Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee from 1923 to 1933 and served on the Senate Appropriations Committee. He served as a delegate to the Republican national convention in 1908, 1912, 1916, 1920, and 1924. He was Chairman of the 1928 Resolutions Committee at the 1928 Republican National Convention and chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. Smoot was a co-sponsor of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff in 1930. Smoot continued to serve in the Senate until March 1933.

After his retirement, Smoot moved back to Salt Lake City. He died on February 9, 1941 and is buried in Provo, Utah.


101 boxes (50.5 linear ft.)

9 half boxes (2.25 linear ft.)

5 cartons (5 linear ft.)

5 oversize boxes (2.8 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Arranged in twelve series: 1. Reed Smoot diaries, 1880-1932. 2. Reed Smoot correspondence, 1891-1941. 3. Reed Smoot financial papers, 1827-1940. 4. Reed Smoot mining papers, 1897-1938. 5. Reed Smoot speeches and articles, 1883-1941. 6. Reed Smoot newspaper clippings, 1897-1942. 7. Reed Smoot subject files, 1837-1966. 8. Reed Smoot mementoes, 1877-1967. 9. Reed Smoot photographs, 1903-1935. 10. Reed Smoot papers on Alpha May Eldredge Smoot, 1928. 11. Reed Smoot legislative papers, 1913-1922. 12. Reed Smoot microfilm, 1880-1966. 13. Smoot family paintings, approximately 1880-1941.

Other Finding Aids

Detailed inventory available online.

Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.

Custodial History

Donated to the library at an unknown date. Two cartons of microfilm were added to the collection in April 2008.

Transferred from the Brigham Young University Museum of Art on November 2, 2017.

Immediate Source of Acquisition


Transferred; Museum of Art; November 2, 2017.


Utah Political History (20th Century Western and Mormon Americana Collection Development Policy, II.B.5.i).

Processing Information

Processed; H. Christine Swindler; May 1, 2008.

Processed; Kelsey Samuelsen; 2013.

Processed; Hayley Gorham, student manuscript processor, and John Murphy, curator; 2018.

Register of Reed Smoot papers
H. Christine Swindler
2008 April 30
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States