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Prepared by Rhonda Rinehart, September 9, 2003; Last Updated: December 2020
Inclusive Dates: 1920-1988
Extent: 1.3 cubic feet (1 record storage box, one LP box)
Physical Location: 11th floor
Biographical Note: Born in Staunton, Virginia in 1879, Roy Harmon Smith developed an early interest in machines and mechanical engineering. At age 16 he became the youngest graduate from the Miller Manual Labor School near Staunton, launching what became a long and successful career in machine operations and development. Smith held over twenty patents for improvements and design for machinery used in the making of nuts and bolts, and in 1949 he received the highest award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. However, it was Smith's move to Kent, Ohio in 1914 as general manager of the Falls Rivet Company that led to his long-standing business affiliations and civic ties within the community. When the Falls Rivet Company merged with Lamson & Sessions Company in 1921, he held various titles within the company including vice president, director, president, and later honorary board member, also serving on the board of the American Tool and Machine Company. The community-minded Smith served on Kent City Council, eventually becoming a candidate and winning the election for Kent city mayor in 1930. Smith was also instrumental in establishing the recreational park in Kent, and the park's shelterhouse now bears his name. Kent State University also recognized Smith's important contributions to the community, university, and to the world of business and industry by awarding him with an honorary doctoral degree in engineering in 1954. After Smith's death in 1963, the University dedicated the newly-constructed physics building to him on April 19, 1969, naming it Smith Hall.
Scope and Content: The collection includes copies of U.S. Patent Office papers for Smith's more than twenty mechanical engineering patents as well as letters written by Smith to his daughter, Laura Jessie Smith while serving as a technical consultant in Europe with the U.S. Foreign Economic Administration in 1945. In addition, glass slides and an accompanying 1955 sound recording detailing Smith's life and career are prominent items in this collection. The remainder of the collection consists largely of Smith, Munro, and Bemis genealogy records, and school memorabilia of Smith's daughter, Laura Jessie Smith Bemis.
Acquisition Information: This collection contains items given to the Special Collections and Archives department by Roy H. Smith's granddaughter, Martha Bemis Rogers.
Folder -- Contents
Roy H. Smith
Laura Jessie Smith [Bemis]
Box of glass slides [descriptions based on accompanying sound recording; see items 16 & 17 above]