Skip to main content

Ray S. Smith Papers

Identifier: MC 1837

Scope and Content Note

Materials in the Ray S. Smith Papers include correspondence, congressional activities, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, plaques, and various ephemera materials.


  • Creation: 1950-2007


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

No Use Restrictions Apply.

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical Note

Ray Sammons Smith Jr. was born February 4, 1924, in Hot Springs, Garland County, Arkansas to Ray and Elizabeth Randolph Young Smith. Smith attended Hot Springs public schools and as a student at Hot Springs High School was president of the chapter of the National Honors Society, a cheerleader, senior class treasurer, Junior Rotarian, band manager, and homeroom president. After graduating high school, Smith enrolled at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. While there, he was a member of Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa, and Order of the Choif. Smith enlisted in the Army Air Corps and became a B-29 pilot in the South Pacific and at the close of World War II, he returned to Washington and Lee University to attend law school. Smith graduated Summa Cum Laude from Washington and Lee University Law School in 1950, and returned to Hot Springs to practice law at Wood, Smith, and Schnipper, where he became a senior partner. Smith married Patricia Floyd in 1951, and the couple had five children: Randy, Scott, Patricia, Steven, and Suzanne.

In addition to practicing law, Smith was a Democratic member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1955 to 1982, and served as Speaker from 1971-1973. Smith served as the Majority Leader from 1973-1974 and was Majority Whip in 1975. During his tenure in the Arkansas House of Representatives Smith was Chairman of the Legislative Joint Audit Committee, Arkansas Commission in Interstate Cooperation, Education Committee, and the Southern Conference of the Council of State Governments. Smith also was a member of the State Agencies, Rules, and Joint Budget House committees. Of his 28 years as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives Smith is best known as the legislator who cast the only vote in 1958 against giving Gov. Orval Faubus the power to close any public school that was forced to integrate.

Smith was also the past president of the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, Garland County Bar Association, Rotary Club, the YMCA, and Abilities Unlimited. Smith also was a Chairman of the Board of the First Methodist Church in Hot Springs, a member of the Board of Trustees for the First Methodist Church, and was the Chairman of the Garland County Chapter National Foundation.

Smith died at the age of 83 in Hot Springs on November 1, 2007.


9.75 Linear Feet (11 boxes)

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are arranged in chronological order.

Acquisition Information

The Ray S. Smith Papers were donated to the Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, on June 21, 2009 by Patricia Smith and Suzanne Palmieri of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Processing Information

Processed by Krista Jones; completed in June 2011.

Ray S. Smith Papers
Krista Jones
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Department Repository

University of Arkansas Libraries
365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville AR 72701 United States
(479) 575-8444