George F. Smith Papers

Identifier: NC577

Scope and Contents

The George F. Smith Papers primarily dates from the 1930-1934 period when Smith was most active as the Reno Postmaster. The bulk of the papers consists of correspondence to and from Smith between 1930 and 1934. Smith's involvement in local politics is clearly revealed in a series of letters and reports he exchanged with Nevada's Senator Oddie and Representative in Congress Samuel S. Arentz, and to a lesser degree with fellow postmasters in California. In these letters and reports Smith gives frank assessments and advice on the local political situation in Reno and Nevada; he also advises Oddie on postal matters, as Oddie served as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads.

Smith also served as a conduit of information on the politics of the post office to other postmasters in Nevada and California, and to members of the executive committee of the National Association of Postmasters of the United States. Such exchanges reveal the great extent to which postmaster positions at that time were subject to the political winds of war: appointments were made on the basis of a candidate's political affiliations, and conversely, lost when Oddie (as chair of the Senate Committee) lost his bid for reelection in November, 1932. Oddie's influence in gaining benefits for Reno is clearly demonstrated in letters regarding the construction of a new Federal building in Reno. Prior to that time, no city of Reno's size had received a federal appropriation for building construction exceeding $80,000; Oddie ensured that Reno received a half million dollars for a structure designed by Frederick deLongchamps and completed in mid 1934.

The postal correspondence is complimented by a small folder of official reports and letters to the central Post Office administration in Washington D.C. The reports detail expenditures, the movement of the mails, and the number of local employees and their functions. There is also information on the campaign to increase postmaster salaries, an effort spearheaded by Senator Oddie.

Other materials in the collection include printed versions of bills and hearings instigated by Oddie or Nevada Senator Key Pittman; personal legal documents of Smith ranging from land transfers to court room testimony witnessed by Smith; and a training manual for the Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 565th Army Air Force, Reno (1944).


  • 1919-1944


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Biographical Note

George F. Smith, 1885-?

A native of Nevada, George F. Smith learned the printing trade at the Reno Evening Gazette and at the age of fifteen was a member of the Reno Typographical Union #611; in 1911 he was elected President of that union.

Smith served on the Reno City Council from 1919-1926 when he resigned to accept an appointment as the Reno Postmaster; he was reappointed in 1930. Smith was very active in the National Association of Postmasters of the United States, and in 1931 was elected to their executive committee. He was also active in the Postmasters' Association of California.

Smith played an important roll in local Republican politics and was a strong supporter of U. S. Senator Tasker L. Oddie of Nevada, who was chair of the Senate Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads. Smith served as an invaluable source of information for both Oddie and Nevada's U. S. Congressman Samuel S. Arentz. However, Oddie was defeated in the election of November, 1932 and Smith then retired on February 20, 1934.


1.21 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



George F. Smith (1885-?) was born in Nevada and served in the Reno City Council from 1919-1926. From 1926-1934, Smith served as Reno Postmaster. The collection largely contains correspondence on political or postal matters; also some legal documents, an aircraft squadron training manual, and printed congressional materials such as bills and hearings.


Arranged into the following series: 1) General Correspondence; 2) Postal Correspondence; 3) Legal Papers; 4) Printed Materials

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Bruce A. and Samual F. Beardsley circa 1975.

Separated Materials

Photographs transferred to the Special Collections Department photo archive as collection number UNRS-P1988-09.


Guide to the George F. Smith Papers
Susan Searcy
November 1987
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)