Elden Smith Papers
Finding aid prepared by Sara Chetney, MA
Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library
800 North Dartmouth Ave
Claremont University Consortium. All rights reserved.
Title: Smith (Elden) Papers
Dates: 1927-1967 and undated
Collection number: H.Mss.0854
2 linear feet
(2 document boxes)
Claremont Colleges. Library. Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library. Claremont, CA 91711
Abstract: This collection contains the papers of Elden Smith, a prominent Los Angeles banker and community leader
in the City of Riverside. Smith emphasized leadership, mentorship, and good citizenship, and gained great respect from his
colleagues and community. Elden's
wife Harriet donated his papers, which include his speeches, administrative papers, notes, and correspondence, to provide
students of business and banking
access to his business philosophy.
Physical Location: Please consult repository.
Language of Material: Languages represented in the collection: English.
Collection open for research.
All requests for permission to reproduce or to publish must be submitted in writing to Special Collections.
[Identification of item], Elden Smith Papers (H.Mss.0854). Special Collections, The Claremont Colleges Library, Claremont,
Provenance / Source of Acquisition
Gift of Harriet Smith, 1987.
No additions to the collection are anticipated.
Original order of the materials was maintained, and kept in the files as Smith had them. Files were then reversed to put them
in chronological order. Occasionally,
this order is broken when several letters are clipped together in which case the top letter determines the order in the listing
of the group, but the earliest letter in the group
is listed first in the group.
Biography / Administrative History
Lewis Elden Smith (1906 – 1964) was a prominent Los Angeles banker who became known for his leadership and emphasis on mentoring
new professionals. His concern for
matters of public interest, such as the creation of a new library and mall in Riverside, as well as long range water and industrial
development projects, earned him
the respect and admiration of his community.
Born in Selma, Ohio, Smith and his family moved to California in 1918. He graduated from Whittier College in 1928,and earned
an MA from Stanford. In 1961, Whittier
College awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Smith began his banking career in 1931 with Security First National Bank in Los Angeles, where he quickly rose to become Vice
President. His career was interrupted
by World War II, when he served in the Maritime Commission. He was subsequently associated with the construction firm of William
A. Johnson, serving as President of
Sun Gold, Inc. Smith returned to banking in 1950 as the Executive Vice President of the Citizens National Trust and Savings
Bank of Riverside, and in 1951 he was
elected its President and Chairman of the Board. The bank expanded rapidly under his leadership, opening many new branches
and merging with the Security First National
Bank in 1957. Rejoining Security First National Bank as Chairman of the Executive Committee and later as Vice Chairman of
the Board, Smith remained with them until his
retirement in 1963. Despite his retirement, Smith continued as an active participant in the bank as a member of the board
of directors and executive committee, as well
as remaining a member of the Inland Division Board and Executive Committee.
Elden Smith's wife Harriet donated her husband's papers to The Claremont Colleges
Library in order to make her husband's philosophy of banking to students of business and banking. Smith believed in recruiting
both those with proven banking abilities
as well as the promising college graduate. His leadership, mentorship, and work for his community led the City of Riverside
to dedicate a fountain in his honor in the
Downtown Pedestrian Mall on September 9, 1967.
Drake, Frances B. The Elden Smith Papers, 1927 – 1966. May 27, 1987. Special Collections, The Claremont Colleges Library,
Elden Smith Memorial Fountain pamphlet, Elden Smith Papers (H.Mss.0854). Special Collections, The Claremont Colleges Library,
Scope and Contents
The materials contained in this collection are the speeches, papers, correspondence, and notes of Los Angeles banker Elden
Smith. Many of these materials contain and reflect
Smith's banking and management philosophy. Also contains materials relating to Smith's time at Whittier College and Stanford
Organization and Arrangement
Items are arranged on a file level.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library’s online public access catalog.
Banks and banking
Los Angeles (Calif.)
Genre and Form of Materials
Speeches, addresses, etc.
Box 1, Folder 1
Finding aid written by Frances Bernard Drake
1987 May 27
Four leaves of preliminaries including "Index of Folder Titles." Contains 62 pages.
Box 1, Folder 2
Memorial Fountain-Riverside, CA
Box 1, Folder 4
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Box 1, Folder 6
Speeches, Speech outlines, Reports
Box 2, Folder 2
Box 2, Folder 3
Whittier College, Draft of Laws
Box 2, Folder 4
Box 2, Folder 6
Special VIP Invitations
Box 2, Folder 7
Pacific Coast Banking
Box 2, Folder 8
General Yee (S.K.) United Chinese Bank, Ltd.
Box 2, Folder 9
Miscellaneous-clippings, correspondence, reports, programs; international and U.S. businessmen, Pomona College