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Business Records of William Hinckle Smith

Call Number: RH MS P921


William Hinckle Smith (1861-1943) was a wealthy Philadelphia capitalist who directed and operated the shares of many companies across Pennsylvania, New York, North Dakota, Colorado, and Nevada. This collection contains business and personal ledgers from Smith's corporations and estate.


  • Creation: 1881 - 1945


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of William Hinckle Smith

William Hinckle Smith was born on June 16, 1861 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended the University of Pennsylvania's Towne Scientific School (now the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences) from 1881-1882. Smith married Jacqueline Harrison on November 28, 1882 and the couple had one son, Hoxie Harrison Smith (b. 1887), a veteran of the First World War.

Smith was the owner of the Wanotan Ranch, a 6,000 acre farmstead in Amenia, North Dakota. The wealthy broker and financier also had a close association with the Guggenheim copper interests, where he derived most of his wealth. Smith also directed the Girard Trust, Penn Mutual Life, Baldwin Locomotive, Midvale Steel, Mack Truck, and the Curtiss-Write Corporation. Outside of Pennsylvania, Smith operated shares with other companies, including L.E. Newport Incorporation (New York City, NY), International Bitumenoil Corporation (New York City, NY), and the Tonopah-Aspen Mining Company (Tonopah, NV/Aspen, CO). The capitalist was also a charitable man; he was a patron of the University of Pennsylvania's University Museum, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and the Bryn Mawr Hospital (which he served on the board from 1906-1943, longer than any other board president), as well as a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and Fairmount Park Art Association.

In 1907, Smith enlisted architect Charles A. Platt to design his home, a massive 60-room mansion called Timberline, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Here, Smith maintained meticulously groomed landscapes (designed by the Olmsted Brothers) and stables, as he was an enthusiastic horseman. Upon Smith's death on January 28, 1943, Timberline passed to his heirs, who, after only three years, lost interest in the mansion. The home succumbed to deterioration and was eventually demolished in 1977.


15 Volumes (+ 6 folders) ; 22 cm. x 37 cm. (folders)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS P921

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RH MS D288

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RH MS E173

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RH MS E202

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Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Carmen D. Valentino Rare Books, 1990.

Guide to the William Hinckle Smith Collection
Business Records of William Hinckle Smith
Finding aid prepared by amc, 2007 and aam, 2014; revised by eear, 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
William Hinckle Smith Collection, RH MS P921, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States