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Oliver R. Smith papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2087

Scope and Contents

The six series in the Oliver R. Smith papers are arranged according to genre type. The first series contains Smith's correspondence. The second includes various family newsletters as well as writings by and about Smith. The third series is comprised of university memoranda from the '50s, '60s, and '70s. Another small series contains various photographs, including several of BYU. The largest series is Smith's subject files which contain information on BYU student clubs such as Delta Phi, Kappa Tau Alpha, Omega Nu, and Sigma Delta Chi, as well as information on organizations with which he was affiliated. These organizations include the US Air Force Reserve, Association of Educators of Journalism, Rocky Mountain Collegiate Press Association, National Council of College Publications Advisers, Red Cross, and Sons of Utah Pioneers. The final series includes artifacts and scripts from the Hill Cumorah Pageant performed in New York state.


  • 1935-1979


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 publish material from Oliver R. Smith papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Instructor and faculty member at Brigham Young University, 1938-1942, and 1946-1978. Served at various times on campus as public relations director, professor of journalism and communications, chairman of Department of Journalism, and chairman of student publications.

Chronology of Oliver R. Smith


Born March 8 in Davenport, Iowa, to Hyrum and June Bushman Smith.


Graduated from Lethbridge High School (Alberta, Canada)


Latter-day Saint missionary, Eastern States Mission


Co-authored and directed Truth From the Earth, pageant performed at Hill Cumorah in New York state


Managing director of America's Witness for Christ, pageant performed at Hill Cumorah; Published Low Out of the Dust in The Improvement Era (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)


Graduated from Brigham Young University with B.A. degree in journalism


Reporter for The Daily Herald (Provo, Utah)


Publicity director and Teaching Assistant at BYU


Instructor in Department of Journalism at BYU


Married April 6 to Barbara Fay McKay


Private-sergeant in U.S. Army


2nd Lieutenant in Army-Air Force


1st Lieutenant-Captain, Statistical Officer Army-Air Force in Colorado, Philippines, and Japan


Chairman of Department of Journalism, Public Relations Director, Assistant Professor in Department of Journalism, all at BYU


Captain-Colonel, Air Force Reserves


Reporter and copy reader for The Deseret News


Stringer for United Press


Member of Association for Education in Journalism


Attended and graduated from University of Iowa with Ph. D. degree in mass communications. Dissertation: Printed Mass Media Circulation and Radio Receiver Ownership Patterns in the U.S.


Member of Sigma Delta Chi


Instructor of Journalism at University of Iowa; Published Circulation Gain Greater than Population Growth in Editor and Publisher


Associate Professor of Journalism at BYU


Chairman of Department of Journalism and chairman of student publications at BYU


News reporter for KLRA in Little Rock, Arkansas; Published Upset in Arkansas Won by Talkathon in Broadcasting-Telecasting


Member, national council, Kappa Tau Alpha


Cofounded Utah chapter of Sigma Delta Chi


Executive secretary, Rocky Mountain Collegiate Press Association


Vice chairman, Council on Radio-TV Journalism


Editor of Journalism Educator, a quarterly magazine of the American Society of Journalism School Administrators


Faculty Adviser for Sigma Delta Chi


Professor of Journalism and Communications at BYU


General Board member, Deseret Sunday School Union; Night Editor for The Daily Herald


Professor at Church College of Hawaii (BYU-Hawaii)


Chairman of Department of Journalism at BYU


Director and vice chairman of Utah County Chapter of Red Cross


Chairman of Department of Communications and of Student Publications at BYU


President of Utah Journalism Educators Association


Adviser of the Year, National Council of College Publications Advisers


Copy reader for The Salt Lake Tribune


Published Six Decades in the Early West: The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith. (Publishers Press)


Awarded Honor Medal, Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge


Member of national committee of Undergraduate Affairs of Sigma Delta Chi


National vice president, Kappa Tau Alpha


Awarded Air Force Commendation Medal; Published Pioneer Homes of Jesse N. Smith. (Daughters of Utah Pioneers); co-edited Reflections on the Fall of Nauvoo. (Press Publisher Co.)


Vice president, Sons of Utah Pioneers


National President, Kappa Tau Alpha


Published as co-editor John Bushman, Utah-Arizona Pioneer. (Community Press)


President of Utah chapter of Sons of the American Revolution


National Vice President of Sons of the American Revolution


President, Sons of Utah Pioneers


Retired from BYU; Awarded Special Citation from University of Utah; Awarded Meritorious Service Award by BYU Department of Communications


Died, December 13 in Provo, Utah


13 cartons (13 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Includes correspondence, family newsletters and news clippings, university memoranda, photographs, artifacts, and a few Hill Cumorah Pageant files. Subject files contain information on BYU student clubs, including Delta Phi, Kappa Tau Alpha, Omega Nu, and Sigma Delta Chi, and information on organizations with which he was affiliated, such as the US Air Force Reserve, Association of Educators of Journalism, Rocky Mountain Collegiate Press Association, National Council of College Publications Advisers, Red Cross, and Sons of Utah Pioneers.


Arranged in six series: 1. Oliver R. Smith correspondence, 1939-1977; 2. Oliver R. Smith family papers, 1940-1975; 3. Oliver R. Smith Brigham Young University memoranda, 1950-1979; 4. Oliver R. Smith photographs and notebook, circa 1935-1974; 5. Oliver R. Smith subject files, 1940-1975; and 6. Oliver R. Smith artifacts and Hill Cumorah Pageant records, undated.

Other Finding Aids

A more detailed finding aid is available in print in the repository.

Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.

Custodial History

Donated by Olivia Baird and Kay Rytting in 1990.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Olivia Baird and Kay Rytting; 1990.


Personal papers of students, faculty, staff which relate to the university’s work.

University history (University Archives collecting policy, February 2010).

Separated Materials

The following books were removed from the Oliver R. Smith papers in 1998:

Alter, J. Cecil. Early Utah Journalism; A Half Century of Forensic Warfare, Waged by the West's Most Militant Press. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1938.

Beauchamp, Al. Green Among the Blue. New York: Vantage Press, 1969.

Bower, W.C., compiler. Behavior Situations of Senior High School Young People. University of Chicago, 1931.

Clinger, Morris M. A History of Theatre in Mormon Colleges and Universities. Thesis, University of Minnesota, 1963.

Fairbank, Jean Rawls, ed. Who's Who 1967 in College and University Publications. Vol II. National Council of College Publications Advisers. Includes a biographical sketch of Oliver R. Smith.

Halliday, John R. Memoirs of John R. Halliday. ca. 1961.

Kobre, Sidney. Journalism History Guidebook. Tallahassee, Florida: National College Press, 1955.

Scott, John. Political Warfare; A Guide to Competitive Coexistence. New York: J. Day Co., 1955.

Seven Year Report of the President (1950-51 to 1956-57) of Brigham Young University and Four Year Reports of the Administrator (1953-54 to 1956-57) of other areas of the Unified Church School System.

The following categories of material were also removed from the collection and placed with similar records housed separately in University Archives: pamphlets, Faculty Notes, and other items printed by BYU.

Approximately fifty cartons of records were weeded from the collection and destroyed, including:

Newspapers, including the Daily Universe, Salt Lake Tribune, and Carbonicle

News Releases from Time, Detroit Free Press, and Department of State

Pamphlets from the United Steel Corporation, American Railroad Association, and other corporations


Confidential information about students, including tests and grades

Student papers

Survey raw data

Professional journals, including Quill

Processing Information

Processed; Brian D. Reeves (University Archivist) and Heather Hogge (Family History Student); December 1998 (Revised, March 2000).

Register of Oliver R. Smith papers
Brian D. Reeves and Heather Hogge
December 1998
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.
Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States