Smith-McGill family papers
Collection : Smith-McGill family papers
Date/Extent : 1897-1978, 9.25 linear ft.
Description : James Edward Smith (1883-1969) and his family were influential members of Louisville’s African American community. James Edward, also known as JE, cofounded the Domestic Life and Accident Company in 1920 and served as president of the National Negro Insurance Association. Upon retiring in 1962, he founded a loan company, the Fidelity Industrial Plan. He was a member of the Falls City Chamber of Commerce, the Urban League, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Politically active, he served on the Jefferson County Kentucky Democratic Executive Committee, as a delegate to the 1964 Democratic National Convention, and as state representative from Louisville, Kentucky’s forty-second district from 1964 to 1968.
Like her husband, Verna Smith (1889-1966), was an active member of the Louisville community. She served in the Democratic Party on the local and national levels as an alternate delegate to the 1944 presidential convention, as the first black president of a local Democratic club, and the first black woman co-captain of a precinct.
Charlotte Smith McGill ( -1988) shared her parents participation in government and politics. She graduated from Howard University and earned a master’s degree from Indiana State University. Her husband Hughes McGill served in the Kentucky State Legislature. Upon his death in 1970, Charlotte agreed to serve out his unexpired term. In 1971, she was elected to the first of her own three full terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives. For many years she was vice-chair of the Louisville-Jefferson County Democratic executive committee.
This collection of family papers includes personal and business correspondence, financial and legal documents, printed material, scrapbooks, and photographs dating from 1879 to 1978 that document the family’s commitment to their church and community. James Edward Smith’s papers are the strongest portion of the collection, with information about his personal and business interests.
Repository : University Archives
1920 photograph calendar of an unidentified young woman from the Smith-McGill family papers.