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Smoot, Reed, 1862-1941



  • Existence: 1862 - 1941

Biographical History

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 missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 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 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 an apostle. As a result, the Senate began an investigation into Smoot's eligibility. 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.

Citation:, Accessed April 29, 2013 (born Salt Lake City Utah January 10, 1862; parents Abraham O. Smoot, Anne Kristina Morrison; attended public school, University of Utah, graduated Brigham Young Academy 1879; LDS mission to England; married Alpha M. Eldredge September 17 1884, seven children; ordained LDS apostle April 1900, member of Quorum of Twelve Apostles; with Prophet's approval, elected Republican Senator for Utah 1902; eligibility investigated as LDS Apostle, Smoot Hearings held 1904-1907; re-elected 1908, sponsored National Park Service bill; Chairman of Senate Finance Committe, 1923-1933; Senate Appropriations Committee; delegate Republican National Convention: 1908, 1912, 1916, 1920, and 1924; Chairman, Resolutions Committee, 1928 Republican National Convention; Chairman, Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee; so-sponsor, Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, 1930; completed service in Senate 1933; returned to Salt Lake City, died February 9, 1941; buried in Provo, Utah). )

Found in 42 Collections and/or Records:

Reed Smoot photographs

 Collection — Folder 1: [Barcode: 31197235219794]
Identifier: MSS P 377
Scope and Contents

Collection includes five photographs of, and related to, Reed Smoot from between the 1880s and the 1940s.

Dates: approximately 1880-1949

George Sutherland letter

 File — Folder 1: [Barcode: 31197232490190]
Identifier: MSS 631
Scope and Contents

Typewritten copy of a letter dated 7 Nov. 1903 and composed in Salt Lake City, Utah. The item was addressed to Chester Isaiah Long, a United States senator. Sutherland, then a member of the United States House of Representatives, endorses the election of Reed Smoot to the United States Senate. He also writes about early political parties in Provo, Utah.

Dates: 1903