SMITH, Willis (1887-1953)
Senate Years of Service: 1950-1953

SMITH, WILLIS, a Senator from North Carolina; born in Norfolk, Va., December 19, 1887; at the death of his father, moved with his mother to North Carolina in 1889 and attended the public schools in Elizabeth City; graduated from Atlantic Collegiate Institute, Elizabeth City, N.C., in 1905, Trinity College (now Duke University), Durham, N.C., in 1910, and from the law school of Duke University in 1912; admitted to the bar in 1912 and commenced the practice of law in Raleigh, N.C.; during the First World War served in the United States Army at Fort Monroe, Va.; inheritance tax attorney of North Carolina 1915-1920; member, State house of Representatives 1928-1932, serving as speaker 1931; member of commission preparing rules for federal courts in North Carolina in 1933; observer at Nuremburg Trials in 1946; United States delegate to the Interparliamentary Union in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1951, and served as chairman of the American delegation to the Interparliamentary Union in Bern, Switzerland, in 1952; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate on November 7, 1950, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of J. Melville Broughton and served from November 27, 1950, until his death in the naval hospital at Bethesda, Md., June 26, 1953; interment in Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, N.C.

Duke University
Special Collections Library
Durham, NC
Papers: Ca. 1887-1954. Ca. 50,000 items. Personal, political and professional correspondence; speeches; and printed material. Restricted.

North Carolina Department of Archives and History
Raleigh, NC
Papers: Miscellaneous items and correspondence in various collections.

Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, NC
Papers: Letter and clippings.

Yale University Libraries
Manuscripts and Archives
New Haven, CT
Papers: In James William Fesler papers, 1918-1991.

  • U.S. Congress. Memorial Services Held in the House of Representatives and Senate of the United States, Together with Remarks Presented in Eulogy of Willis Smith, Late a Senator from North Carolina. 83d Congress, 2d sess., 1954. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1954.