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Truman Smith Papers Finding Aid Now Available Online Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Posted by capittsley in history, updates.

Lawyer, state politician, and United States Senator Truman Smith (1791-1884) was born in Roxbury, Connecticut and graduated from Yale University in 1815.  He was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives (1831-1832, 1834), the United States House of Representatives (1838-1843, 1845-1849), and the United States Senate (1849-1854) as a member of the Whig Party.

Smith organized and was the unofficial leader of Zachary Taylor’s national committee for president in 1847.  At the June 1848 Whig nominating convention he played a pivotal role in guaranteeing the nomination of Zachary Taylor as the party’s candidate for president.  He later declined to serve in Taylor’s administration as the first Secretary of the Interior.

In 1854 Smith resigned from the Senate in disgust over the passage of the Nebraska-Kansas Act which created the two territories, repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and granted settlers the power to decide if slavery would be allowed in their territory.  He returned to his private law practice.  In July 1862, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Smith to the Court of Arbitration in New York.  The court, established by a treaty with Great Britain, was tasked with bringing to trial suspected American and British vessels engaged in the slave trade.  The court was dissolved in 1870 and he again returned to practicing law.  In 1873 he was the successful counsel for the defense in the US Supreme Court case New York Central Railroad v. Charles C. Lockwood in which the railroad argued it was not negligent for injuries sustained to Lockwood during the transport of cattle from Buffalo to Albany, New York.  Truman Smith died in Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut on May 3, 1884.

The Truman Smith papers (RG 069:150) were processed, arranged, and described in March and April 2010.

In addition, the finding aids for the Connecticut Stadium Committee records (RG 002:025), Insurance and Real Estate Committee records (RG 002:025), Henry Whitfield House records (RG 024:001), Orville H. Platt papers (RG 069:011), Joseph S. Longo papers (RG 069:151), McLean Family papers (RG 069:153) are now available.



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