Archive | November, 2015

Collection Spotlight: Hoval A. Smith

30 Nov

Click into the gallery to view these images.


One of the newest collections at AHS-Tucson is the Hoval A. and Nina R. Smith Collection, which was donated by their grandchildren: Leslie, Lindsay, and Morgan Smith. The collection consists of 39 panoramic photographs of places like Nogales, Tombstone, Douglas, and Globe, as well as various mining operations including the New Cornelia mine near Ajo, Arizona. The collection also contains assay maps, and mining data compiled by Hoval Smith. In addition to his involvement in the mining industry, Smith also ran for political office. Nina Smith was an active member of the DAR. The collection reflects these activities as well. Below is a brief biography of Hoval Arnold Smith written by his granddaughter, Leslie Cantrell Smith.

Hoval Arnold Smith was born in St. Ansgar, Iowa in 1876 to Norwegian parents.  He was one of six children and he lost his beloved mother when he was only ten years old.  He promised his mother on her death bed that he would never drink or smoke, and he never did. 

Hoval worked his way through the School of Mining at the University of Minnesota where he graduated in 1901.  Before graduating, he went to Mexico to work as a miner and, after graduating, he went to the Arizona Territory to work for the Calumet and Arizona Mining Company where he became Chief Mining Engineer from 1902-1905.  Copper was of particular interest to Hoval and he soon branched out to become a successful independent miner, including as a principal founder of the Anaconda Copper Company. 

Almost from the outset of his time in Arizona, Hoval was interested in politics and, in 1909, he became Chairman of the Republican Party of the Arizona Territory.   In those days, the Republicans were regarded as the “progressives” and the Democratic Party was more closely identified with big business.

Although Arizona would not officially be a state until 1912, by 1911 the race for a U.S. Senate seat was in full force, and Hoval was running as the Republican candidate.   The majority of big copper businesses were for Mark Smith, the Democratic candidate, in large part because Hoval had insisted in having a mandatory workers’ arbitration plank in the Republican platform.  According to the Weekly Journal-Miner,   Wed. morning, Dec. 6, 1911, p.4,  (“Journal-Miner”)     the Copper Queen Press  had endorsed Mark Smith in an editorial entitled, ”Who is Hoval A. Smith that he should aspire to be a United States senator from Arizona?”  The Journal-Miner  wrote its own editorial entitled, “Sneering at Hoval Smith” and answered the question posed by the Copper Queen.  Describing Hoval as an idealist, the editorial pointed out that he was a successful self-made man who had worked hard to secure his education and who came to Arizona with only $3.50 to his name.

The editorial quoted Hoval’s opponent, Mark Smith, as follows: “ Hoval Smith is the man that waged Republican victory in this territory three years ago by his able management of the campaign as state chairman.  He is a man big of heart, big of mind, a courteous, kindly gentleman.  His chief offending is his Republicanism.”

The editorial went on to point out that whereas the workers, farmers and ordinary townspeople all were for Hoval, big business was for Mark Smith.   The Journal-Miner quoted a corporate president as representative of big business’s view of Hoval:  “Yes, Hoval Smith is a very able fellow; I like him personally, but he is pretty radical in his views; he is a good deal of idealist when it comes to dealing with labor problems.  He lets his sympathies run away with him.  He is responsible for the ridiculous compulsory arbitration plank in the Republican platform.  Some of the Southern Pacific strikers he used to work with when he was an ordinary miner got him to force that plank in the platform, and the funny thing is he really believes it [emphasis added.]”

Hoval lost the election to Mark Smith  43.84% to 50.35% with the Socialist candidate polling 5.8%.   He continued to be involved in copper mining and Arizona Republican politics, however, and when President Taft signed the declaration making Arizona a state, Hoval can be seen standing in the back left of the official photograph.  In about 1914 he married Nina Roberts Smith, a teacher from an old Maryland family, and they settled in Warren and Bisbee.  (Hoval had been one of the founders of Warren.)  They had one child, Hugh Roberts Hoval Smith.

Nina Roberts Smith had long been involved in the Daughters of the American Revolution and she became Arizona State Regent of the DAR.  As such and as the representative of AZ Governor Hunt, she stood next to President Coolidge on April 15, 1924 at the dedication ceremony at which the Arizona stone (actually petrified wood) was presented at the Washington Monument.

In 1933, Hoval authored the Copper  Brief,  a treatise which argued for the imposition of tariffs on imported copper.   In 1934, Hoval ran for the House of Representatives and lost to Isabella Greenway who was re-elected with 68.6% of the vote.  Ms. Greenway was a good friend of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Several years after World War II, Nina and Hoval Smith moved to Washington, D.C. to be closer to their son and his family.  Their son, Hugh, had graduated from Yale Law School and had been in the Navy during World War II.  Hugh practiced law his entire professional life with Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now Wilmer Hale,) while Nina and Hoval became beloved grandparents to five grandchildren who continue to benefit from their love and generosity.

If you’d like to view materials from the Hoval A. and Nina R. Smith Collection, please contact the archives at to make an appointment.



Flashback Friday in Patagonia

20 Nov

Today we are flashing back to the Patagonia Commercial Co. circa 1918 with Vivian May at three years old standing by an automobile.


Photo Identifier #63728

Isabella Greenway: Single Mother, Congresswoman, Tucsonan

19 Nov

“I wonder if you have ever been in the position I am . . . .”

At the height of the Great Depression, Isabella Greenway was serving as Arizona’s first female congresswoman and the state’s only representative in Washington. The twice-widowed mother of three was a staunch supporter and friend of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a confidant of Eleanor Roosevelt, and had been close to Theodore Roosevelt and his family throughout her life. Her platform as a U.S. Representative for Arizona included work on behalf of cattle ranching, mining, and conservation.


Isabella Greenway circa 1930. B#205809

Greenway also demonstrated a passionate dedication to assisting veterans. During the First World War, Greenway had led the Women’s Land Army in New Mexico, organizing women in the difficult work of tending farms and harvesting crops while the majority of men were fighting in Europe. As a widow of two veterans of the Spanish-American war, Greenway would continue to make supporting servicemen part of her life’s work. In the 1920s, Greenway founded the Arizona Hut, a Tucson furniture workshop, to employ disabled WWI veterans and their immediate families. When the Great Depression forced the Hut’s closure, Greenway built the Arizona Inn in Tucson, claiming that it gave her a means of providing a permanent home to the surplus handiwork of the veterans. The now world-renowned Arizona Inn still features a woodworking shop that continues the tradition of the Arizona Hut.


First row, l-r: Betsy and James Roosevelt, John Selmes Greenway, Jr., Isabella Greenway, Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Anna Roosevelt Dall, Martha Ferguson Breasted. Williams, Arizona; September 1932. MS0311 (b214 f3058b)

The John and Isabella Greenway papers at the Arizona Historical Society chronicle the work and life of this remarkable woman, along with the lives and careers of her husbands, Robert Munro Ferguson and John Campbell Greenway, both members of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. The collection spans the 19th and 20th centuries and a myriad of phases in each of their lives.  In these two featured letters from 1934, Greenway articulates her struggle to maintain a work/family life balance, a matter that continues to be of importance (and a topic of national discussion) for politicians and private citizens alike.

Left to right, Isabella Greenway and her sons, Robert Ferguson, Jr., John (Jack) Selmes Greenway, daughter Martha Ferguson Breasted, and Martha’s husband, Charles Breasted, 1933. Photo courtesy Arizona Historical Society, AHS #72380

Left to right, Isabella Greenway and her sons, Robert Ferguson, Jr., John (Jack) Selmes Greenway, daughter Martha Ferguson Breasted, and Martha’s husband, Charles Breasted, June 1933. AHS#72380

As a respected associate of the Roosevelts and an influential stateswoman, Greenway was nominated to join the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Commission in 1934.  Greenway had developed a close professional relationship with Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum in 1927, when a sculpture of her recently deceased husband, John Greenway, was placed in Statuary Hall at the U. S. Congress. Greenway had successfully lobbied for the State of Arizona to bestow the honor on her husband, and chose Borglum personally to sculpt the statue of Greenway.

In response to her nomination to the Mount Rushmore Commission, Greenway attempted to decline, citing her already full plate of responsibilities as both the sole representative for the state of Arizona and a busy single mother. The letters make clear how important it was to Greenway to be available in the evenings for her young son, Jack, and how seriously she took her responsibilities as a U.S. Representative during a time of extreme economic hardship.

On June 7th, 1934, Greenway wrote to John Boland, Secretary for the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Commission:


“It has been a great honor to have been appointed on the Rushmore National Memorial Commission. Until I know what the obligations and work are, I will not be able to accept.

Would you be courteous enough to give me an idea of what this service entails? Having the responsibility of the State of Arizona in the House of Representatives is very exacting in these distressing times and allows little margin for outside privileges.

May I hear from you? – and thank you for the trouble of giving me, in detail, what responsibilities fall to the members of the Rushmore National Memorial Commission.”

Over a month later on July 20th, after additional letters from Boland, Greenway was more pointed:


“I wonder if you have ever been in the position I am. I cannot take on one bit more responsibility and do not wish to accept the position on the Mount Rushmore Commission under these circumstances and obligate someone else to do the work. I cannot go to meetings, etc. on account of my small son, who I hardly ever am away from at night.

If you have members who are purely nominal and who really don’t do anything and if I could be one of these I would be glad to accept with pleasure and will depend on your being perfectly frank with me.

These letters serve to humanize a gifted, ambitious woman who gracefully weathered grief, illness, loss, and war, and dedicated her life to the public good. Greenway’s biographer, Kristie Miller, observes that Greenway’s “strength of character in the face of adversity” impressed people of all walks of life in Arizona, from state leaders to disabled veterans to students. In her correspondence, we see a woman who knew her own limits, who had a strong sense of her priorities, and who did not believe in committing herself to a job that she could not finish.  In a few lines, that strength of character and commitment to a greater purpose is palpable.

In the end, Greenway did accept the position on the Mount Rushmore National Commission after all, serving through the remainder of the 1930s, and the completion of the final figure: Greenway’s friend, Theodore Roosevelt, in 1939.

For a closer look at the photos and documents featured in this blog, browse the image gallery below.


The Arizona Historical Society’s library and archives recently collaborated with Dickinson State University’s Theodore Roosevelt Center Digital Library in North Dakota to curate and digitize over 1,100 pages of materials from the John and Isabella Greenway papers. Decades of correspondence between the Roosevelt and Greenway families, as well as other important historical documents, are now publicly available on the Roosevelt Center’s Digital Library website. To learn more about the digitization effort undertaken by the Theodore Roosevelt Center and to see the over 700 documents from the Arizona Historical Society library and archives collections, please visit:

Additionally, be sure to visit the newly opened Medal of Honor exhibit at the Arizona History Museum in Tucson. The exhibit includes a letter written by then Rough Rider Theodore Roosevelt to Patty Selmes, mother of Isabella Greenway. For details about the exhibit, please visit:


Miller, K. (2004). Isabella Greenway: An enterprising woman. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.


10 Nov

The Library and Archives in Tucson will be closed for the following holidays:

Veterans Day – November 11th

Thanksgiving – November 26th and 27th

We will also be closed for the entire month of December to work on projects in Tucson and Tempe. We will be open for a limited number of appointments on December 4th, 11th, and 22nd. If you’d like to make an appointment, please email us at

The regular hours of Tuesday through Friday from 9am to 4pm will resume on January 5th, 2016.


Thank you for your patience as we work to make more collections accessible.