George Edson Philip Smith, 1873-1974, graduating in with a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Vermont. He taught at the University of Vermont before coming to Tucson and the University of Arizona. In 1906, he became both Professor of Irrigation Engineering and head of the Agricultural Engineering Department. Smith revolutionized the field of water resources. He was an authority on irrigation and a pioneer in the development of the underground and surface waters of the state of Arizona. Instrumental in Arizona's fight for water supply rights, Smith wrote many argumentative letters to state officials and Arizona Senator Carl Hayden advising against Arizona's involvement in the Colorado River Compact. He was the first to advocate a state water code and wrote the first code, which was enacted by the Arizona legislature in 1919.
The author of over 100 technical bulletins and professional papers in the field of water supply and irrigation, Smith also wrote numerous articles in related fields. In addition to his professional involvements, Smith had a profound influence in civic affairs and politics. Active in the Arizona Pioneers Historical Society, he chaired a committee for preservation of geographic and historic names within the state. When George Edson Philip Smith died in 1975, he was 101.
The Papers in the first subgroup include biographical information as well as a diary, correspondence, articles and addresses, publications and professional notes. The black and white photographs in the second subgroup cover the years 1906-1953. Within those areas, most are grouped according to the labels and dates which Smith had on the original photograph envelopes. The bulk of the photographs deal with Smith's agricultural, irrigation, water supply, and conservation efforts in Arizona. The collection also includes photographs taken by Smith and others in California, Idaho, India, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.