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Samuel E. Smith papers

Identifier: M167

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Scope and Content

The collection contains letters (1810-1880 and undated), documents (1786-1880), financial records (1830-1880), and other ephemeral material.

The letters include many relating to the northeast boundary dispute, written to or by principals such as Sir Archibald Campbell, Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick; John G. Deane of Ellsworth, Maine; Levi Lincoln, Governor of Massachusetts; Edward Kavanagh, who negotiated the settlement; William Pitt Preble, who had been instrumental in achieving the separation of Maine and Massachusetts; and Ashur Ware, Portland judge.


  • Creation: 1786-1880


Biographical/Historical Note

Samuel Emerson Smith was born in Hollis, New Hampshire, on March 12, 1788, the seventh child of Manasseh Smith, originally of Leominster, Massachusetts, and Hannah Emerson of Hollis. He attended Groton Academy, and was graduated from Harvard College in 1808. He studied law with Samuel Dana of Groton, Massachusetts, and with his brothers Manasseh and Joseph, and was admitted to the bar in 1812.

Smith entered the practice of law in Wiscasset, Maine, and became interested in politics. He served as a representative to the Massachusetts General Court (1819) and in the Maine legislature (1820-1821). He was appointed chief justice of the Circuit Court of Common Pleas of the Second District (1821) and, upon the reorganization of the court system, became an associate judge of its replacement court (1822-1830).

Smith was elected governor of Maine in 1832. He served three terms and oversaw the move of the state capitol from Portland to Augusta (1832). During his administration issues relating to the controversy over the northeast boundary of the United States (principally the border between Maine and New Brunswick) came to a head. The issue was not settled until 1842, when the current boundary was agreed upon. Soon after leaving office, Smith was reappointed to the Court of Common Pleas (1835) from which he retired in 1837.

While governor, Smith was trustee ex-officio of Bowdoin (1831-1834). He married Louisa Sophia Fuller in 1832 and had nine sons. Smith died at Wiscasset, Maine, on March 3, 1860.


0.6 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection contains letters (1810-1880 and undated), many relating to the northeast boundary dispute; documents (1786-1880); financial records (1830-1880); and other ephemeral material.

General Note

Finding aid available online; folder level control.

Unpublished chronological lists of correspondents available in library; item level control.

Guide to the Samuel E. Smith Papers
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011 Repository

3000 College Station
Brunswick Maine 04011 USA
(207) 725-3288