George E. P. Smith papers, 1895-1972

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George E. P. Smith papers, 1895-1972

MS 280

Collection Summary

Creator: Smith, George E. P., 1873-1975
Collection Name:George E.P. Smith papers,
Inclusive Dates: 1895-1972
Physical Description:12.5 linear feet
Abstract:This collection is organized into two subgroups and seven series, which include, Biographical Information, 1895-1955. Diaries, 1908- 1909, 1949-1954. Correspondence, 1900-1963. Articles and Addresses, 1908- 1972. Project Files, 1899-1944. Supplemental Papers, 1904-1941. Photographs, 1906-1953. arrangement varies by series. Contains mainly correspondence, 1915-1958, regarding his professional interest in the development and utilization of underground and surface water in Arizona. Correspondents include Carl Hayden, Barry Goldwater, John R. Murdock, and other state and local leaders. Also includes his articles and addresses, project files, and photographs concerning irrigation engineering, agriculture, and water supply projects.
Collection Number:MS 280
Repository: University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
University of Arizona
PO Box 210055
Tucson, AZ 85721-0055
Phone: 520-621-6423
Fax: 520-621-9733

Biographical Note

George Edson Philip Smith was born 29 December 1873 in Lyndonville, Vermont, the son of Franklin H. Smith and his wife Harriet Lovisa Powers. Both parents died by the time Smith was 12, and he spent the rest of his youth living with his grandparents.

In 1893, he entered the University of Vermont at Burlington, graduating in 1897 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He taught at the University of Vermont for three years before coming to Tucson and the University of Arizona. On 1 October 1904, Smith married Maude North, a teacher. They had one son, George Edson Philip Smith, Jr., born 31 October 1905.

From 1900-1906, Smith served as Professor of Engineering, teaching physics, engineering, hydraulics, and surveying at the University of Arizona. In 1906, he became both Professor of Irrigation Engineering and head of the Agricultural Engineering Department. He remained in that field until his retirement in 1955 , at which time he was appointed Professor Emeritus in Agricultural Engineering and continued his active interest in the field of water resources development. Smith's career at the University spanned 54 years.

Smith revolutionized the field of water resources. He was an authority on irrigation and a pioneer in the development of the underground and surface waters of the state of Arizona. Instrumental in Arizona's fight for water supply rights, Smith wrote many argumentative letters to state officials and Arizona Senator Carl Hayden advising against Arizona's involvement in the Colorado River Compact. He was the first to advocate a state water code and wrote the first code, which was enacted by the Arizona legislature in 1919.

The writer of Tucson's first city water code, Smith gave early and continuous warnings to Tucson city officials of the need to secure a future and more permanent water supply. He advised of the eventual disaster which would result if areas with accumulations of groundwater having little annual recharge were overpumped.

The author of over 100 technical bulletins and professional papers in the field of water supply and irrigation, Smith also wrote numerous articles in related fields. In addition to his professional involvements, Smith had a profound influence in civic affairs and politics. Active in the Arizona Pioneers Historical Society, he chaired a committee for preservation of geographic and historic names within the state. When George Edson Philip Smith died in 1975, he was 10l.

Scope and Content Note

This collection is organized into two subgroups: Papers and Photographs.

The Papers in the first subgroup include biographical information; George Edson Philip Smith's diary from March 1949-March 1954, detailing times, places, and statistical information relevant to his vocational activities; a second diary containing a record of his trips taken in 1908-1909 to survey Arizona sites, including Rillito, Canada del Oro, the Rincon Valley, and the San Pedro Valley; correspondence, chiefly regarding Smith's vocational and political concerns over a sixty-three year period in Arizona's history; articles and addresses written by Smith, including publications in technical journals, semi-technical articles, annual forecasts of irrigation water supply, letters to the editor on miscellaneous subjects, and articles on municipal engineering subjects such as water supply and zoning problems; files on agriculture, irrigation, and water projects in Arizona, Sonora, Mexico, and Antofagasta, Chile, for which Smith served as a consultant; and supplemental papers which include printed materials on various types of machinery used for irrigation and agriculture, Smith's participation in programs sponsored by the Agricultural Extension Service, his advocation of Sentinel Peak ("A" Mountain) as a city park, and his involvement on various University of Arizona faculty committees.

The black and white photographs in the second subgroup cover the years 1906-1953. They are organized by subject or place. Within those areas, most are grouped according to the labels and dates which Smith had on the original photograph envelopes. The bulk of the photographs deal with Smith's agricultural, irrigation, water supply, and conservation efforts in Arizona. The collection also includes photographs taken by Smith and others in California, Idaho, India, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.


This collection is organized into two subgroups:





It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents for the University of Arizona, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Goldwater, Barry M. (Barry Morris), 1909- -- Correspondence
Hayden, Carl Trumbull, 1877-1972 -- Correspondence
Murdock, John Robert, 1885-1972 -- Correspondence
Smith, George E. P., 1873-1975 -- Archives

Corporate Name(s)
American Society of Civil Engineers -- Arizona Section
Cananea Consolidated Copper Co
Rillito Water Users' Association
Salt River Valley Water Users' Association
University of Arizona -- Faculty
University of Arizona -- Dept. of Agricultural Engineering

Geographic Name(s)
Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico) -- Water rights
Continental (Ariz.) -- History
Sentinel Peak (Ariz.) -- History

Cement -- Arizona
Groundwater -- Arizona
Irrigation -- Arizona
Tamarix -- Utilization -- Arizona
Water -- Law and legislation -- Arizona

Genre Form(s)

Administrative Information

Credit Line

George E.P. Smith papers(MS 280).Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.

Container List

Subgroup I: Papers, 1895-1972
Series I: Biographical Information, 1895-1955
Contains Smith's College of Agriculture Faculty Statistics Sheet (December 1923) along with a pamphlet of his publications (1955). Also contains Smith's typewritten biography for the 1937 edition of Who's Who in Engineeringas well as other miscellaneous personal materials.
11 Biographical material. , 1895-1955
Series II: Diaries, 1908-1954
Contains 90 handwritten sheets of notes taken by Smith on trips to survey Arizona sites in 1908-1909. Smith traveled to Rillito and Canada del Oro, Casa Grande and Florence, Rillito Station and the Tortolita Mountains, the Rincon Valley, the San Pedro Valley, and the Phoenix-Mesa area. The notes discuss such topics as ranchers, water sources and structures, and geological and floral observations. The bulk of his daily diaries were lost before the collection was given to the library.
12 Diary. , 1908-1909
13 Diary. , 1949-1954
Series III: Correspondence, 1900-1963
Contains letters to and from George E.P. Smith, chiefly regarding his professional pursuits during his career at the University of Arizona. During the course of his lifetime, Smith also maintained a reciprocal correspondence with several local, state and national officials, including Senator Carl Hayden, Senator Barry Goldwater, and Senator Warren Austin, U.S. delegate to the United Nations. These letters are interfiled in the correspondence.
Please notice that there are gaps for some years. Also, be advised that incoming letters are often filed alphabetically by sender so that individuals writing as employees of a local, state, or federal agency are mostly found under their personal names rather than under the corporate institution that employed them.
Other correspondents include Tucson Mayor Henry Jaastad, Representative John R. Murdock, Arizona pioneers Will C. Barnes and J. A. Rockfellow, and University of Arizona Presidents and Deans Paul Burgess, Alfred Atkinson, James McCormick, and Gurdon Butler. Additional correspondence is also found in some of the folders in the series, Project Files.
21 A-Z. , 1900-1913
22-12 A-Z. , 1915-1916
213-19 A-Z. , 1916-1917
31-7 A-Z. , 1917-1918
38-14 A-Z. , 1918-1919
315-18 A-L. , 1919-1920
41-3 M-Z. , 1919-1920
44-10 A-Z. , 1920-1921
411-15 A-N. , 1922-1924
51-4 O-Z. , 1922-1924
55-14 A-Z. , 1924-1926
515-20 A-Z. , 1926-1927
61-6 A-Z. , 1927-1928
67-12 A-Z. , 1928-1929
613-19 A-Z. , 1929-1930
620-23 A-Z. , 1930-1931
71 A-Z. , 1932
72-4 A-Z. , 1933-1934
75-12 A-Z. , 1934-1936
713-16 A-Z. , 1936-1937
717-18 A-H. , 1937-1938
81-2 I-Z. , 1937-1938
83-6 A-Z. , 1938-1939
87-9 A-W. , 1939-1940
810-12 A-Z. , 1940-1941
813-14 A-I. , 1941-1942
91-2 J-Z. , 1941-1942
93 Correspondence with O.C. Williams, Carl Hayden, and A.E. Moritz on the Carson Report. , 1944
94 A-Z. , 1944-1947
95-7 A-Z. , 1949-1950
98-14 A-Z. , 1951-1953
915-25 A-Z. , 1953-1958
926 A-Z. , 1963
Series IV: Articles and Addresses, 1908-1972
Contains original typed and handwritten published and unpublished articles and addresses by Smith. Much of his writing is concerned with irrigation, rivers, and groundwater and covers such topics as pump irrigation, sewage disposal by direct use for irrigation, effect of irrigation upon soil temperature, irrigation and grapefruit, irrigation water supply, the Colorado River Company, the Boulder Canyon Project, the physiography of Arizona valleys, the determination of a groundwater supply, water conservation, farm machinery, cement pipe, the production of tamarisk for use as a fine cabinet wood, the repaving of city streets, letters to the editor on miscellaneous subjects, and a series of reminiscences of his early life in Tucson, Arizona.
For a more complete list of Smith's written work, see the pamphlet, "Publications of George E.P. Smith, C.E., D. Engr." located in Biographical Information series in Box 1, Folder 1.
101 Articles and Addresses. , No Date, 1908-1909
102 Articles and Addresses. , 1910-1916
103 Articles and Addresses. , 1917-1919
104 Articles and Addresses. , 1920-1924
105 Articles and Addresses. , 1925-1927
106 Articles and Addresses. , 1928-1929
107 Articles and Addresses. , 1930-1932
108 Articles and Addresses. , 1933-1935
109 Articles and Addresses. , 1936-1939
1010 Articles and Addresses. , 1940-1949
1011 Articles and Addresses. , 1950-1959
1012 Brochures 1-26. , 1964-1972
1013 Clippings about George E. P. Smith. , 1916-1950
Series V: Project Files, 1899-1944
Contains chiefly information pertaining to various irrigation, reservoir, and water supply projects for which Smith served as a consultant. In addition to Smith's data and papers, some of the files also include blueprints and specifications for wells, well test information, and geological and topographical maps.
111 American Society of Civil Engineers Development Propaganda. , 1918-1921
112 Apache County (Ariz.) - Lyman Dam. , 1920s-1933
113 Cananea Consolidated Copper Company, Sonora, Mex.. , 1942-1943
114 Canoa Ranch - Guayule Rubber Plantation Project, Agricultural Products Corp. , 1916-1917
115 Chandler (Ariz.) - Higley District. , 1912-1916
116 Citizens Water Committee (Tucson, Ariz.). , 1951-1953
117 Colorado River. , 1902-1928
118 Clippings and Printed Material. , No Date
119 Swing-Johnson Bill. , No Date
1110-11 Cordillera - Penon Pipeline Project (Antofagasta, Chile). , 1920
1112 Navajo County - St. Joseph; Lonesome Pine Dam. , 1925-1938
1113 Prison (Florence, Ariz.). , 1930-1931
1114 Reservoir Projects Reports - Sabino Canyon, Pantano Wash, Tanque Verde, Canada del Oro, Santa Cruz River. , 1899-1916
1115 Rillito River Bridge - Includes correspondence with El Paso Bridge and Iron Co. , 1908
1116 Rillito Water User's Association - Blueprints, Specifications, Correspondence with Charles C. Moore and Co. Engineers. , 1908-1909
1117 Rillito Water User's Association - Special Irrigation Committee. , 1909
1118 Roosevelt Irrigation District. , 1935
121 Salt River Valley. , 1921-1928
122 Santa Cruz Valley #1. , 1914-1926
123 Sentinel Peak "A" Mountain Park. , 1924-1929
124 Spain and Travelogue. , 1927
125 Steering Committee for Water Conservation Study, Tucson. , 1951
126 Tucson Area Flood Control Committee. , 1944
127 Tucson (Ariz.) - Rainfall Data. , 1875-1924
128 Tucson City Water Department. , 1941-1942
129 Water Conservation Commission. , 1914
1210 Yavapai County-Chino Mutual Water Users' Association. , 1923
1211 Yuma County. , 1915-1931
1212 Yuma Irrigation District. , 1932-1934
Series VI: Supplemental Papers, 1904-1941
Contains blueprints, contracts, estimates, and other information regarding the construction of George E. P. Smith's residence at 1195 E. Speedway. Also contains various printed materials, including miscellaneous programs presented by the Agricultural Extension Service, pamphlets about the machinery used for irrigation and agriculture, a copy of the legal document detailing court findings in the case of the Smithville Canal Co. vs. Oregon Irrigation, A Textbook of Geometrical Drawings, by William Minifie, plans and specifications for a reinforced concrete water tank for the University of Arizona, and material indicating Smith's involvement on various University of Arizona faculty committees.
1213 House (1195 E. Speedway) - Blueprints. , 1904, 1930
1214 House (1195 E. Speedway) - Contracts & estimates. , 1904, 1930
1215 Miscellaneous Programs. , 1915-1934
1216 Printed Materials. , 1905-1928
1217 Smithville Canal Co. vs. Oregon Irrigation (Graham County, Ariz.). , 1906
1218 A Textbook of Geometrical Drawings. , 1859
1219 University of Arizona. , 1909-1941
Subgroup II: Photographic materials, 1906-1953
Series I: Photographs, 1906-1953
Contains 1178 black-and-white photographs, most of which were taken by Smith. Categorized by subject or place, most are grouped according to the labels and dates which Smith had on his original photograph envelopes. These photographs deal primarily with agriculture, irrigation, rivers, tamarisk trees, and water in Arizona. All of them measure 4" X 5" or less, with the exception of one hand-colored photograph of Dean Talbot, Smith, and Stevens, which measures 9" X 12". Included are photographs taken by Smith and others in California, Idaho, India, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Many of the photographs contain annotations by Smith. Please notice that some envelopes do not contain all the places or subjects that were listed on the envelope. Twenty-two photographs were developed during the processing of the collection. All negatives were nitrate based and were not retained.
131 Agriculture. , 1907-1944
132 Arroyos. , 1922, 1943
133 Bridges. , 1915-1921
134 Building, Adobe. , 1932
135 Caissons. , 1912-1915
136 California. , 1930
137 Continental (Ariz.). , 1916-1918
138 Dams. , 1906-1939
139 Dwellings. , 1934
1310 Engine charts and water charts. , No Date
1311 Fences. , 1935, 1942
1312 Flood control. , 1933
1313 Floods. , 1906-1929
1314 Geology. , 1913-1939
1315 Idaho. , 1937
1316 Irrigation. , 1906-1936
1317 Machinery. , 1908-1939
141 Miscellaneous places. , 1921
142 Nevada. , 1937
143 New Mexico. , 1935
144 Northern Arizona. , 1908-1940
145 People. , 1919-1941
146 Phoenix (Ariz.). , 1911-1936
147 Pipes. , 1907-1925
148 Ranches. , 1907-1942
149 Rivers. , 1936
1410 Road construction. , No Date
1411 San Pedro Valley (Ariz.). , 1938, 1942
1412 San Simon (Ariz.). , 1912, 1919
1413 Silos. , 1915
1414 Snow. , No Date
1415 Southeastern Arizona. , 1911-1943
1416 Tamarisk #1. , 1940-1948
1417 Tamarisk #2. , 1936-1953
1418 Tucson (Ariz.). , 1906-1937
1419 Utah. , 1937
1420 Weirs. , 1908-1940
1421 Wells. , 1914-1935