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Frank L. Snell Papers 1946-1998


Overview of the Collection

Creator: Snell, Frank L., 1899-1994
Title: Frank L. Snell Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1946-1998
Quantity: 20 Boxes (10.0 Linear Feet)
Abstract:This collection houses speeches, correspondence (professional and personal), photos, news clippings, programs, brochures and booklets, meeting minutes, agendas, stock certificates, and blueprints documenting Frank L. Snell's personal and professional activities. The majority of the materials show Snell's relationships with various organizations.
Identification: FM MSS 92
Language: Material in English
Repository: Arizona State University Library. Greater Arizona Collection
P.O. Box 871006
Tempe, AZ 85287-1006
Phone: (480) 965-4932
Questions? Ask An Archivist!

Biographical Note

Frank Linn Snell was born in Kansas City, Missouri on December 23, 1899. While working in his father's grocery store as a boy, he attended the Kansas City public schools. In 1924 Snell received his law degree from the University of Kansas. Upon graduation Snell moved to Miami, Arizona, where he established an independent practice on the advice of his uncle. While in Miami, Snell met and married Elizabeth Berlin. The couple had two children, daughter Kathryn and son Richard.

In 1927 the family moved to Phoenix, where Snell became a partner in the law firm of Elliot & Snell. In 1934, Elliot entered semi-retirement and Snell took over the practice. With the expansion of the law firm Snell decided it was time to seek an attorney with courtroom experience. Upon the recommendation of three Maricopa County Superior Court judges, Snell formed a partnership with Mark Wilmer and established the law firm of Snell & Wilmer. Snell handled most of the firm's business and commercial aspects while Wilmer served as the firm's trial lawyer.

The Snell & Wilmer LLP Law Offices are still in existence and include offices in California, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada. During Snell's time with the firm he led a group of citizens to secure the resignations of the Mayor and Chief of Police of Phoenix, both of whom were perceived as corrupt. The political situation threatened Phoenix's growth, which was increasing due to the influx of war veterans and their families. Snell also facilitated the merger of the state's two major utility companies to form the Arizona Public Service Company and acquired agreements for the firm's industrial clients outside Phoenix city limits. Finally, the firm handled one of the state's most important lawsuits, Arizona v. California, in the United States Supreme Court. This case secured Arizona's rights to the waters of the Colorado River.

Snell's personal achievements are documented in the activities he participated in outside of Snell & Wilmer. Soon after his move to Phoenix, Snell became friends with Gene Pulliam (owner of The Phoenix Gazette and The Arizona Republic) and Walter Bimson (chief of Valley National Bank). These men comprised the "Big Three" and went on to found the Phoenix 40. With the establishment of these relationships, Snell had a significant impact on Arizona's civic affairs. Some of his accomplishments include founding the American Graduate School of International Management and serving as chairman of the Civic Plaza Art Enrichment Committee. Snell also served as president, director, committee member, and volunteer for many prominent Arizona organizations. His numerous awards include being one of the first inductees to the Arizona Business Hall of Fame in 1987. In 1992, Snell received the Arizona Heritage Award from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.

While Snell reduced his role in Snell & Wilmer throughout the years, he would still go to his office on a daily basis and continued to participate in organizational and volunteer work. Betty (Berlin) Snell died of cancer in 1983 and Frank Snell married Mary Jean Thompson (who had a daughter, Kirstin, from a previous relationship) in 1987. Snell passed away on September 5, 1994 at the age of 94 and was an active member of the community until two weeks before his death. He was survived by his wife Mary Jean, children Kathryn and Richard, step-daughter Kirstin, six grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.


Snell biography housed in collection.

Wagner, D. and Dricks, V. "Frank Snell Dies; Longtime Valley Leader: Civic Giant was Arizona's 'most powerful man ever'." The Phoenix Gazette September 7, 1994: A1+.

Scope and Content Note

This collection houses speeches, correspondence (professional and personal), photos, news clippings, programs, brochures and booklets, meeting minutes, agendas, stock certificates, and blueprints documenting Frank L. Snell's personal and professional activities. The majority of the materials show Snell's relationships with various organizations. Large blueprints, oversized material, and three-dimensional objects are stored off site.

Series I: Personal contains biographical information, blueprints, news clippings, photographs, home specifications, stock certificates, and speeches dating from 1949 to 1964. These documents illustrate items of personal interest to Snell. Of particular interest are documents showing Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign that express Snell's political interests. This series is arranged alphabetically.

Series II: Correspondence contains letters and notes that Snell received and sent. The letters include such enclosures as news clippings, programs, membership certificates, business cards, photographs, invitations, and brochures. The majority of the correspondence is of a professional nature but a few personal letters to family and friends are also included. Of particular interest are Governor Lloyd C. Stark's letters regarding the Central Arizona Project (1947) and Snell's resignation letter from Snell & Wilmer. This series is arranged in original chronological order.

Series III: Organizations contains correspondence, meeting minutes, agendas, membership lists, budgets, news clippings, programs, speeches, photographs, and invitations documenting Snell's association with various organizations. Of particular interest are documents showing Snell's work with the Phoenix Civic Plaza. This series is arranged alphabetically.

Series IV: Events contains correspondence, news clippings, programs, invitations, and speeches documenting Snell's involvement in various events from 1966 to 1993. These events include those held in Snell's honor as well as those held to honor others. This series is arranged alphabetically.

Series V: Media contains news clippings that were either sent to or retained by Snell. These clippings describe various people (including obituaries) and the city of Phoenix. Of particular interest is an oral interview with Snell conducted on January 13, 1993 (transcript not available; tape in good condition) and a publication by Snell & Wilmer that includes a brief biography of Snell. This series is arranged alphabetically.


This collection consists of twenty boxes divided into five series:
Series I: Personal
Series II: Correspondence
Series III: Organizations
Series IV: Events
Series V: Media


Access Restrictions

To view this collection, make an appointment at least five business days prior to your visit by contacting Ask an Archivist or calling (480) 965-4932. Appointments in the Wurzburger Reading Room at Hayden Library (rm. 138) on the Tempe campus are available Monday through Friday. Check the ASU Library Hours page for current availability.


The Arizona Board of Regents retains copyright to this collection for and on behalf of the Arizona State University Library. Requests to publish, display, or redistribute information from this collection must be submitted via our online application.

Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Bimson, Walter R. (Walter Reed), b. 1892.
Pulliam, Eugene C.
Snell, Frank L., 1899-1994 -- Archives.
Snell, Frank L., 1899-1994 -- Correspondence.
Stark, Lloyd Crow, 1886-1972.

Corporate Name(s)
Arizona Business Hall of Fame.
Arizona Public Service Company.
Arizona State University.
Central Arizona Project (U.S.).
Phoenix Civic Plaza (Phoenix, Ariz.).
Snell & Wilmer.
Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management.
Valley National Bank of Arizona.

Geographic Name(s)
Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico) -- Water rights.
Phoenix (Ariz.) -- Economic conditions.

Corporate lawyers -- Arizona -- Archives.
Water resources development -- Arizona.
Water rights -- Arizona.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Mrs. Mary Jean Snell donated these papers to the Arizona Historical Foundation in 1995.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Frank L. Snell Papers, FM MSS 92, Arizona State University Library.


The Arizona Historical Foundation transferred these materials to the Arizona Collection in 2012.

Container List

Series I: Personal
11 Biographical Information, 1962-1987 (1 of 2)
12 Biographical Information, 1989-1990 (2 of 2)
13 Biography, 1985-1992
14 Biography: Matt Buckley's Report, 1991-1992
15 Entrance to Desert Fairways, 1955
Contains blueprints.
16 Goldwater, 1964
Contains copies of newspaper articles.
17 Goldwater for President, 1964 March-August (1 of 2)
Contains news clippings.
18 Goldwater for President, 1964 September-November (2 of 2)
Contains news clippings.
19 Interview: Nation's Business, 1976
21 Lawyer's Professional Liability Questionnaire from Supreme Court of Arizona, 1980-1989
22 Legal Opinion: Petition for Writ of Certiorari and Opinion of Chief Justice Underwood (Presbyterian Church), 1976
23 Legal Services Corporation: Senators and Representatives, 1981
24 Mr. and Mrs. Norman Sanford: Easement, etc., 1981
25 O. W. Cattle Company, 1946-1968
26 Paradise Valley Incorporated, 1955-1957
Contains blueprints.
27 Photographs, 1969-1987
28 Phoenix History Project: John Driggs, 1974
29 Specifications for a Desert Home and New Guest House, 1955-1967
Contains one set of blueprints with additional blueprints located off property.
210 Speeches: "Speech Material- Plan for Progress, Incorporated", Undated
211 Speeches: "Power for Arizona (Prescott)", 1949 January 4
212 Speeches: "The Permanent Revolution- United States of America", 1951
213 Speeches: "The American Proposition- Revised", 1951 December 10
214 Speeches: "Government in Business- Snell", 1952 May
215 Speeches: "Graduation- American Institute", 1952 May 30
216 Speeches: "Speech to Dairy Men", 1952 December 5
217 Speeches: "Speech Regarding Kiwanis Objectives", 1954 February 15
218 Speeches: "Eulogy- Erle Banks", 1958
31 Speeches: "Young Women's Christian Association Building Fund Drive", 1959 March 23-April 20
32 Speeches: "Goodwill Industries Speech Regarding Fund Drive", 1960 January 22-February 18
33 Speeches: "Regarding: Walter Reed Bimson Presentation", 1960 April 6
34 Speeches: "Phoenix Art Museum", 1960 April 9
35 Speeches: "Bannow, Rudolph F. Kiwanis", 1959-1960 May 12
36 Speeches: "American and Foreign Power Company Incorporated- Phoenix Financial Analysts", 1960 December 7
37 Speeches: "The Importance of the Entrepreneurs- Arizona State University", 1961 November 14-1962
38 Speeches: "Introduction of Governor Fannin at Kiwanis", 1962 August 28
39 Speeches: "Lincoln Hospital Groundbreaking Ceremony", 1963 May 14
310 Speeches: "Phoenix Kiwanis Club- Information of Candidates for Mayor", 1963 October 29
311 Speeches: "Selling Life Insurance- A Job for Professionals", 1964
312 Speeches: "Presentation to Jack Valenti President Johnson's Advisor", 1964 February
313 Speeches: "Taxpayers are Second Class Citizens" as presented to Tucson Rotary Club, 1964 April 1
314 Speeches: "Flying from New York to Phoenix" by Frank Snell, 1964 May 18
315 Proxy Statement Information Furnished, 1968-1972
316 Regarding Central and South American Trip, 1960
317 Sermons by Doctor Charles Ehrhardt, 1972
318 State Bar, Annual Trust Account Registration Statement and Questionnaire, 1979
319 Strategic Air Command Trip, Nebraska, 1967
320 Who's Who Information, 1987-1990
Series II: Correspondence
41 Correspondence, 1965 August 3-1971 March 31
42 Correspondence, 1971 April 1-June 30
43 Correspondence, 1971 July 7-October 30
44 Correspondence, 1971 November 1-December 30
45 Correspondence, 1972 January 3-March 28
46 Correspondence, 1972 April 3-June 30
47 Correspondence, 1972 July 3-September 29
51 Correspondence, 1972 October 2-December 29
52 Correspondence, 1973 January 2-March 29
53 Correspondence, 1973 April 2-June 29
54 Correspondence, 1973 July 3-September 28
55 Correspondence, 1973 October 1-December 31
56 Correspondence, 1974 January 2-March 29
57 Correspondence, 1974 April 1-June 28
Includes Governor Lloyd C. Stark's correspondence regarding the Central Arizona Project (1947).
61 Correspondence, 1974 July 8-August 30
62 Correspondence, 1974 September 3-October 31
63 Correspondence, 1974 November 2-December 31
64 Correspondence, 1975 January 2-March 28
65 Correspondence, 1975 April 1-June 26
66 Correspondence, 1975 July 1-September 30
67 Correspondence, 1975 October 6-December 31
71 United States Secretary of State, 1976
72 Correspondence, 1976 January 2-April 30
73 Correspondence, 1976 May 3-August 27
74 Correspondence, 1976 September 1-December 30
75 Correspondence, 1977 January 1-April 29
76 Correspondence, 1977 May 3-September 30
77 Correspondence, 1977 October 3-December 30
81 The Duncan Jennings Memorial Scholarships, 1978-1982
Includes packet of information on the scholarship.
82 Correspondence, 1978 January 3-April 28
83 Correspondence, 1978 May 3-August 30
84 Correspondence, 1978 September 1-December 30
85 Correspondence, 1979 January 2-March 29
86 Correspondence, 1979 April 1-June 28
87 Correspondence, 1979 July 11-October 29
91 Correspondence, 1979 November 1-December 31
92 Correspondence, 1980 January 4-March 31
93 Correspondence, 1980 April 3-July 30
94 Correspondence, 1980 August 11-November 26
95 Correspondence, 1980 December 1-December 31
96 Correspondence, 1981 January 5-April 30
97 Correspondence, 1981 May 1-August 26
101 Correspondence, 1981 September 2-December 31
102 Correspondence, 1982 January 4-April 30
103 Correspondence, 1982 May 3-August 17
104 Correspondence, 1982 September 1-December 31
105 Correspondence, 1983 January 3-October 20
106 Correspondence, 1984 February 22-December 28
107 Correspondence, 1985 January 3-May 21
111 Correspondence, 1985 June 6-November 25
112 Correspondence, 1986 January 2-December 31
113 Correspondence, 1987 January 5-May 27
114 Correspondence, 1987 June 2-December 30
115 Correspondence, 1988 January 4-December 21
116 Correspondence, 1989 January 10-December 27
Includes speech to Snell and Wilmer law firm.
117 Correspondence, 1990 January 3-December 28
Includes Snell's resignation letter from the Snell and Wilmer law firm and a map of the Encanto-Palmcroft walking tour.
118 Correspondence, 1992 August 20-21
Series III: Organizations
121 Arizona Academy Town Hall, 1963-1979
122 Arizona Academy Town Hall: Today and Tomorrow Research Report, 1972
123 Arizona, Ecumenial Council, 1971-1972
124 Arizona Historical Society, 1972-1975
125 Arizona Public Service Board: Regarding Retirement, 1975
126 Arizona State University: College of Business Administration Achievement Award, 1977
127 Arizona State University: Dean's Advisory Committee, 1963-1968
128 Arizona State University: Engineering School, 1979 June-1980 March (1 of 3)
129 Arizona State University: Engineering School, 1980 April-1981 December (2 of 3)
1210 Arizona State University: Engineering School, 1982 January-September (3 of 3)
1211 Arizona State University: Financing, Bond Issues, 1976
1212 Arts and Humanities Council, 1966
131 Campaign for Chuck Hyder: Solicitation for Contributions, 1979
132 Bechtel Corporation, 1978
Includes copy of legal brief.
133 Brophy College Preparatory, 1965-1967
134 Combined Metropolitan Phoenix Arts: Beneficiary Committee, 1968-1982
135 Community Organization for Drug Abuse Control Fund Raising, 1971
136 County Attorney, Board of Supervisors Regarding Budget, 1979
137 Dedication Learning Center: American Graduate School (Thunderbird), 1981
138 "Dialogue" Session, Phoenix, Arizona, 1966
139 The Eye Foundations Doctor Barnet, 1982
1310 Fiesta Bowl, 1971 May-1977 December (1 of 3)
1311 Fiesta Bowl, 1978 February-1982 June (2 of 3)
1312 Fiesta Bowl, 1982 September-1983 January (3 of 3)
1313 Foundations: General Information, 1961-1965
1314 Fund Raising: Building for State Bar, 1974-1975
141 Helen C. Lincoln Regarding Valley Presbyterian Church Contributions, 1979-1981
142 John C. Lincoln Hospital Foundation, 1978-1980
143 John Rhodes Commemorative Committee, 1977-1978
144 Junior Achievement, 1964 March-July (1 of 4)
Includes article with picture of Snell.
145 Junior Achievement, 1964 August-1965 May (2 of 4)
146 Junior Achievement, 1965 July-1966 February (3 of 4)
147 Junior Achievement, 1966 March-1975 June (4 of 4)
148 Hospital Public Relations Institute, 1967
149 Lawyers Committee for the Re-election of the President (Richard Nixon), 1972
1410 Messinger Consultants Company: Board of Directors, 1964-1965
1411 National Alliance of Businessmen, 1968 March-1972 December (1 of 2)
1412 National Alliance of Businessmen, 1973 July-1980 November (2 of 2)
151 National Conference of Christians and Jews, 1959-1970
152 National Conference of Christians and Jews: Dinner, 1960 February-1963 April (1 of 3)
153 National Conference of Christians and Jews: Dinner, 1963 May-1972 December (2 of 3)
154 National Conference of Christians and Jews: Dinner, 1973 January-1981 October (3 of 3)
155 National Conference of Christians and Jews: Dinner Printed Materials, 1960-1981
Includes invitations and programs.
156 Naval War College, 1969
157 Phoenix Advertising Club: Nomination of Herb Askins for Man of the Year, 1978
Includes news articles.
158 Phoenix Civic Plaza, 1972 April-July (1 of 3)
159 Phoenix Civic Plaza, 1972 August-September (2 of 3)
Includes press preview speech and opening day script.
1510 Phoenix Civic Plaza, 1972 October-November (3 of 3)
161 Phoenix Civic Plaza: Dedication Ceremony Sketch, 1972
162 Phoenix Civic Plaza: Dedication Committee, 1971 July-1972 June (1 of 2)
163 Phoenix Civic Plaza: Dedication Committee, 1972 July-1973 July (2 of 2)
164 Phoenix Civic Plaza: Dedication Committee Binder, 1971-1972 (1 of 2)
165 Phoenix Civic Plaza: Dedication Committee Binder, 1971-1972 (2 of 2)
166 Phoenix Civic Plaza: Information Kits and News Articles Regarding Opening, 1972
167 Phoenix Civic Plaza: Enrichment Program, 1968 June-1970 September (1 of 3)
168 Phoenix Civic Plaza: Enrichment Program, 1970 October-1971 May (2 of 3)
169 Phoenix Civic Plaza: Enrichment Program, 1971 June-1976 November (3 of 3)
171 Phoenix Civic Plaza: Enrichment Program, Background Materials, 1969-1972 (1 of 2)
172 Phoenix Civic Plaza: Enrichment Program, Background Materials, 1969-1972 (2 of 2)
173 Phoenix Civic Plaza: Enrichment Program, Information Regarding Plaques for Donors, 1971-1972
174 Phoenix Civic Plaza: Enrichment Program, Tapestries Contract and Related Materials, 1971 January-November (1 of 2)
175 Phoenix Civic Plaza: Enrichment Program, Tapestries Contract and Related Materials, 1971 December-1973 March (2 of 2)
176 Phoenix Civic Plaza: Fountain, 1971-1986
177 Phoenix Opportunities Industrialization Center, 1968-1970
178 Phoenix Symphony Association Advisory Board, 1962-1965
179 Prescott College, 1961-1966
181 Rhodes Scholar Committee, 1962-1963
182 Saint Luke's Hospital Gift, 1981
183 Thunderbird Graduate School: Honorary Doctor's Degree, 1972
184 The University of Kansas Alumni: Awards Received, 1962-1977
185 The University of Kansas Alumni Associations, 1969-1980
186 The University of Kansas: Council for Progress: Law School Contribution: New Building: Snell Courtroom, 1966 May-1978 October (1 of 2)
187 The University of Kansas: Council for Progress: Law School Contribution: New Building: Snell Courtroom, 1979 January-1985 November (2 of 2)
188 Valley Presbyterian Church: Fund Drive, 1966-1972
189 World Peace Through Law Center, 1964-1972
1810 Young Men's Christian Association Fund Drive, 1978
Series IV: Events
191 Arizona Business Hall of Fame, 1987 (1 of 3)
192 Arizona Business Hall of Fame, 1989 (2 of 3)
193 Arizona Business Hall of Fame, 1990 April-1993 May (3 of 3)
194 Arizona Chamber of Commerce, 1992
195 All American City Celebration Committee, 1980
196 City of Phoenix Human Resources Department Community Recognition Dinner, 1977
Includes welcome remarks.
197 Front Page Ball, 1980
198 General Taylor's Visit to Phoenix, 1966-1992
Includes information regarding General Taylor's life.
199 Guest List: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, 1980 November 25
1910 Junior Achievement Awards Dinner, 1972-1973
1911 History Makers, 1991-1993
1912 Luncheon: Dean Martin Dickinson, 1977 April 28
1913 Man and Woman of the Year Matters, 1969
1914 Man and Woman of the Year Matters, 1971-1972
1915 Man and Woman of the Year Matters, 1979
1916 Sammy Awards Event: Doctor Paul Singer (Samaritan Health Service), 1980-1989
1917 Vietnam Veterans Banquet, 1967-1969
1918 Vietnam Veterans Banquet, 1969-1970
Series V: Media
201 Newsclippings Regarding Matters of Interest, 1952-1980
Includes obituaries.
202 Newsclippings Regarding Frank and Richard Snell, 1966-1992
Includes newsletters.
203 Newsclippings Regarding Eugene C. Pulliam, 1975
204 Newsclippings, Regarding Phoenix, 1975-1982
Includes correspondences regarding articles.
205 Newsclippings, 1976-1987
206 Newsclippings Regarding Ernest W. McFarland, 1978
207 Newsclippings Regarding Harry Montgomery, 1979
208 Newsclippings Regarding Sandra O'Connor's Appointment to United States Supreme Court, 1981
Includes thank you letter from Sandra O'Connor.
209 Oral Interview with Dean Smith and Fred Steiner, 1993 January 13
2010 Snell & Wilmer The First Sixty Years, 1998