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Smith, Walter F. (Walter Forrest), 1890-1980



  • Existence: 1890 - 1979


Walter Forrest Smith was born on October 31, 1890 in Gardner, Illinois. His parents were William L. and Harriet Martin Smith.

Smith attended elementary and high school in Gardner, Illinois. In 1914 he received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Knox College. During the next two summers, he was engaged in graduate study at the University of Wisconsin. In 1963 Knox College awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

After his graduation from Knox College, Smith began his career as a teacher of physics and mathematics at Marshfield, Wisconsin. In 1916 he left Marshfield to teach chemistry at Steven's Point Normal at Steven's Point, Wisconsin. In 1917 Smith ended his career in education and entered the industrial field. From 1917 until 1922, he worked as a chemist for E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. While at du Pont, Smith worked on a project to develop smokeless powder. Due to this work he was exempt from military service during World War I.

In 1923 Smith moved to Kingsport, Tennessee and was employed as a chemist for Clinchfield Paper Company, which made bindings for the Kingsport Press, Inc. When the two companies merged, he became the General Superintendent. After that time he served the company as Vice-president, Treasurer, President, Chairman of the Board, and Chief Executive Officer.

While living in Kingsport, Smith was active in community groups including the Kingsport Housing Authority, the Community Chest, the Kiwanis Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Holston Valley Community Hospital. He was also a member of a number of state and national associations. Smith remained in Kingsport until his death in 1979.

Walter F. Smith met Isla G. Stockley while he was teaching at Steven's Point. They were married on November 29, 1917 and had two children, Charlotte Smith Shouse and George A. Smith.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Walter F. Smith Papers

Identifier: AppMs-0119
Scope and Contents The Walter F. Smith Papers contain agreements, meeting minutes, financial statements, correspondence, news clippings, and memorabilia reflecting Mr. Smith's studies at Knox College, early career and activities during World War I, civic activities in Kingsport, and career with Kingsport Press, Inc. Most of the papers were created by Mr. Smith and his interaction with his business associates. Some material concerning his wife Isla and his children, George and Charlotte, are included in the...
Dates: 1842-1976; Majority of material found within 1944 - 1960