Skip to main content


The Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C., John Russell Pope, Architect, Scheme B

 Item — Artifact: 16

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

This collection consists of the files and working papers of Howard Worth Smith who represented Virginia in Congress for some thirty-five years as representative from the Eighth Congressional District. Included are correspondence received and carbon copies of replies, clippings, printed government and other publications, copies of printed bills, reports, press releases, speeches, notes, memoranda, financial records, tape and disc recordings, drawings, and other materials. The papers cover the years 1933 to 1966 when Smith retired from Congress.

The collection is now contained in 274 Hollinger storage boxes (ca. 5"x15"x10"), one oversize box; additionally, there are eighteen looseleaf and scrapbooks, and forty-four architectural drawings. The collection fills approximately 150 shelf feet.

Smith's influence in Congress came chiefly from his early appointment to the Rules Committee. In 1955, he became its chairman, an exceedingly powerful position as the committee can determine the "length and manner of debate" on any measure moving from a committee to the floor of the House. "Although it was initially designed as a traffic committee to ease and expedite the flow of legislation in the House, the Rules Committee by postponing or refusing to grant a bill a rule bottled up measures which did not win the approval of its conservative majority." (J. Harvie Wilkinson, III, H arry Byrd and the Changing Face of Virginia Politics, 1945-1966 [Charlottesville, 1968], 71.

Other research interests which may be studied in the collection, according to Mr. Robert Metzdorf, are: "political history of Virginia, relations of the Virginia and Southern Democrats to the rest of the Democratic Party, labor unions and labor laws, lobbying, investigation of Un-Americian activities, alien registration, the Smith Act and subversion, history of the District of Columbia 1930-1966 [and legislation in Congress pertaining to it as Smith sat on the District Committee], conservation and water pollution, Selective Service and other war-time legislation, the Supreme Court and State's rights, memorials to Jefferson and Madison, the history of workmen's compensation, reappointment and the federal courts, civil rights, the Rules Committee and its role in the legislative process, the history of foreign aid, federal aid to education, the history of immigration, relation between the legislative and executive branches, the history of conservatism in the United States, 1930-1966." To these notes may be added the study of unique northern Virginia politics, patronage, and the continuing work of a Congressman in relation to his colleagues and in particular to his constituents. There does not appear to be much material in the collection which shows Smith's relation to Senator Harry Byrd in the political sense, although there is interesting correspondence. Naturally, the collection will be the basis for any biography of Judge Smith, an important historical task which, hopefully, will be undertaken soon.;query=;#bioghist_1.1


  • Creation: 1936 - 1938

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.


From the Series: 45 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials

From the Series: English

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States