University of Texas, Tarlton Law Library

Guide to the J. Edwin Smith Papers, 1937-1995

Collection Summary

Creator Smith, J. Edwin, 1911-2001
Title J. Edwin Smith Papers
Dates: 1937-1995
Abstract J. Edwin Smith was a UT Law grad, Houston attorney who was active in civil rights litigation and the liberal wing of the Democratic party. His collection includes legal records and other materials from Terry v. Adams, as well as legal briefs filed by Smith in Texas and federal appellate courts.
Size 2.75 linear ft.
Repository Special Collections, Tarlton Law Library, The University of Texas at Austin,
727 E. Dean Keeton St., Austin, TX 78705-3224, (512) 471-7263

Historical Background

A 1937 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, J. Edwin Smith began practicing law in the Marshall-Longview area in 1937 in the law firm of Franklin "Soupy" Jones, and in 1942 moved to Houston where he was a general practitioner for close to 50 years. The most notable cases Smith handled included civil rights, criminal defense, torts, and estates, several of which went as far as the supreme courts of Texas and the United States. These cases included Terry v. Adams (1953), where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Smith's African-American clients and ordered a stop to the whites-only "Jaybird Primary" in Fort Bend County, Texas; and McClelland v. Texas (1966), where the Supreme Court outlawed a court of inquiry procedure in Texas as a violation of due process. Smith was also active in the liberal wing of the Texas Democratic Party, and was an unsuccessful candidate for the Texas Supreme Court in the 1958 Democratic primary. He frequently contributed articles to the Houston Post and the legal press on the legal profession, civil liberties, and personal reminiscences.

Contents of the Collection

Terry v. Adams Files, 1950-1954, 1977-1981 (5 in.), contain briefs, petitions, affidavits, transcripts, slip opinions and other legal records created and gathered by J. Edwin Smith in his capacity as attorney for plaintiffs in Terry v. Adams (345 U.S. 461); news clippings on the case; and speeches by Smith, ephemera, correspondence, and a master's thesis relating to commemorations and historical studies of Terry v. Adams. Legal Briefs, 1937-1990 (2.25 linear ft.) make up the bulk of the collection, and are mainly appellate briefs filed by Smith in Texas and federal appellate courts for a wide variety of cases, including McClelland v. Texas. The General series (1976-1994) includes articles by Smith on a variety of legal, political, and personal topics; legal memoranda Smith wrote for other attorneys; and correspondence containing reminiscences.

Arrangement of the Collection

Organized in three series: General, 1976-1994 (1 in.); Legal Briefs, 1937-1990 (2.25 linear ft.), arranged alphabetically by case name; Terry v. Adams Files, 1950-1954, 1977-1981 (5 in.), arranged chronologically.


Use Restrictions

The collection and any reproductions of the collection are made available for the purposes of private study, scholarship, and research only.

Tarlton Law Library does not hold the copyright to the materials, unless it has been transferred to the library by the creator. It is the researcher's responsibility to determine the copyright status and to obtain permission from the copyright holder before publishing any materials from the collection.

Some collections may contain sensitive or confidential information protected under federal and state privacy laws. The researchers are encouraged to report any such information to staff.

The University of Texas at Austin is not responsible for violations of intellectual property rights and any other laws or for liability to any person for defamation or invasion of privacy that result from unauthorized use of the collection by the researcher.

Index Terms

Major Subjects
Smith, J. Edwin, 1911-2001--Archives.
Jay Bird Democratic Association of Fort Bend County.
African Americans--Suffrage.
Fort Bend County (Tex.)--Politics and government.

Administrative Information

Cite As

J. Edwin Smith Papers, Tarlton Law Library, The University of Texas at Austin.

Acquisition Information

Gift of J. Edwin Smith.

Detailed Description of the Collection

General, 1976-1995

box folder
M121 6 Will Contest Litigation / J. Edwin Smith, 1978
7 Liz Faulk to J. Edwin Smith : letter, 1987 Oct. 25
NOTE: Discusses John Henry Faulk's illness, loan of apartment by attorney Dick DeGuerin to Faulks.
8 Memorandum to W. T. Bennett, Huntsville, Tex., re Mexican Divorces, 1976 Sept. 1
9 Creative Works of J. Edwin Smith, 1933-1995
NOTE: Topics include judicial elections, politics, civil liberties, law practice, Judge John R. Brown, Justice Thurgood Marshall, and personal reminiscences.
10 Correspondence re: personal reminiscences of J. Edwin Smith, 1994-1995

Legal Briefs, 1937-1990

box folder
M116 1 A general, 1942-1971 & undated
2 B general, 1947-1961 & undated
3 Bellefonte Underwriters Insurance Company et al v. Leon Brown et al, 1982
4 Bellefonte Underwriters Insurance Company v. Leon Brown et al, 1982
5 Bellefonte Underwriters Insurance Company v. Leon Brown et al, 1983-1984
6 Bellefonte Underwriters Insurance Company v. Leon Brown et al, 1984
7 B. S. Brown v. M. E. S. Scherck, 1963-1964
box folder
M117 1 R. J. Butler v. R. L. Phinney, 1971
2 Buxkemper v. Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company of Texas, 1954-1955
3 C general, 1939-1973 & undated
4 P. L. Cochran v. J. Cochran, 1958-1959
5 D general, 1974
6 E general, 1952-1964
7 J. Escobar v. United States of America, 1967-1968 & undated
8 F general, 1951-1957
9 G general, 1938-1984
box folder
M118 1 D. R. Gerinson v. United States of America, 1965-1966 & undated
2 H general, 1942-1973 & undated
3 H general (cont'd), 1942-1990 & undated
4 A. L. Huckaby v. L. M. Huckaby, 1968-1969
5 I-J general, 1969-1974
6 K general, 1944-1953
7 M. Kay v. S. K. Sandler, 1985-1986
8 L. L. Kinsel v. Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company of Texas, 1946 & undated
9 L general, 1939-1958
10 M general, 1942-1976 & undated
box folder
M119 1 C. B. McClelland v. F. Briscoe, 1962 & undated
2 C. B. McClelland (cont'd) v. State of Texas, 1964-1966
3 K. L. Musgrave et al v. United States of America, 1973 & undated
4 N general, 1947
5 W. A. Nichols v. Red Arrow Freight Lines, 1956-1957
6 P general, 1937-1973 & undated
7 P general (cont'd), 1955 & undated
8 D. R. Potter et al v. Southwestern Associated Telephone Company et al, 1952 & undated
9 R general, 1939-1965 & undated
box folder
M120 1 S general, 1939-1957 & undated
2 S general (cont'd), 1951-1974 & undated
3 T general, 1939-1948 & undated
4 T general (cont'd), 1955 & undated
5 J. Terry et al v. A. J. Adams et al, 1950-1952
6 U general, 1964-1976 & undated
7 V general, 1962-1976 & undated
box folder
M121 1 W general, 1967-1974
2 J. W. Williams v. United States of America et al, 1966-1972
3 Y-Z general, 1975 & undated
4 Loose pages from briefs, undated
5 Federal Diversity Jurisdiction Over Certain Proceedings Related to Decedents Estates : memorandum prepared for William T. Bennett / by J. Edwin Smith, 1976

Terry v. Adams Files, 1950-1954, 1977-1981

box folder
I207 1 U.S. District Court case file, 1950
2 U.S. Court of Appeals case file, 1950, 1952, & undated
3 U.S. Supreme Court case file, 1951-1953
4 Clippings on Jaybird case, 1950-1952
5 Correspondence, clippings, speeches & ephemera, 1954, 1977-1981
6 The Jaybird Democratic Association of Fort Bend County -- A White Man's Union / by Nina Benware Margraves : unpublished master's thesis, University of Houston, 1955
NOTE: Permission for extensive copying or publication must be obtained from the Dean of Graduate Studies, University of Houston.
7 Duplicate items