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ca. 1961 2004

bulk dates 1970-1986


Manuscript Collection Number:  MSS 528
     Boxes 1-23 are housed in Library Annex
     Oversize material housed in the Special Collections Department

Extent:  23 linear ft and oversize maps

Contents:  correspondence, notes, notebooks, logs, state documents, reports, bills of legislation, drafts of legislation, voter registration lists, district maps, news clippings, newsletters, publications, brochures, campaign ephemera, video and audio recordings, maps, photographs

Access: Access limited pending completion of processing. Material in annex requires 24-hour notice for retrieval.

Biographical Note

Gwynne P. Smith was elected a state representative to the Delaware General Assembly in 1974 and served eight terms until 1990. Her pursuit of public office was an outgrowth of earlier neighborhood civic involvement in Brookside in Newark and Green Acres in Wilmington, where she moved with her family in 1958. From 1968-1973, Smith served on the state board of the Delaware Federation of Garden Clubs as chair for environmental legislation. During the same period, she served on the environmental committee of the League of Women Voters, and in 1969 she helped organize Delaware Citizens for Clean Air. Mrs. Smith testified at numerous public hearings on clean air, coastal zone, and water resources, and she helped consolidate support for the Coastal Zone Act, the Wetlands Act, the Delaware Environmental Protection Act, the Beachland Presevation Act, and other environmental bills. With Tom Doherty, she helped write the first piece of legislation in Delaware by citizen volunteers that was enacted into law, the Environmental Protection Act of 1970.

In office, Mrs. Smith served on the Governor's Select Committe on Energy Conservation, as chair of the House Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee, as a member of the Joint Sunset Committee (on Agency Review), and as co-chair of the State Advisory Committee on Water Resources Management. As co-chair of the House Ad-hoc Grant-in-Aid Committee, she began a review of the entire legislative grant process. Mrs. Smith worked to verify state land boundaries and got money appropriated for statewide updates of the Delaware Geological Survey topographical maps. She sponsored the Bottle Bill, Drought Emergency Powers, Efficiency Lighting Standards in Public Buildings, Preservation of Natural Areas, and the Delaware Food Ban, Leaking Underground Storage Tank Bill, Natural Areas and Non-Game Check-off Bill, handicapped permits for people 85 or older, and other bills.

Mrs. Smith served on the Sea Grant Board of the College of Marine Affairs at the University of Delaware and has frequently lectured at the University on the Coastal Zone Act and other environmental matters. In 1987, she received a grant and served on the Task Force on Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS), which produced recommendations for action in Delaware classrooms that were accepted and supported by the State School Board. Her final committee assignments in the House were on Finance and Human Resources. After retiring from politics, Mrs. Smith served as legislative liaison on the board of the State Federation of Womens' Clubs.

A Legacy from Delaware Women sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Girl Scout Council and the Women's Center of Delaware Technical and Community College and the University of Delaware. Middle Atlantic Press, 1987.

Scope and Contents Note

The Gwynne P. Smith Papers documents the civic activities and legislative career of a woman committed to protecting the environment and improving the quality of life in Delaware. Her papers include "phone logs" of issue notes and calling networks that document the grass roots organization behind Delaware Citizens for Clean Air and other groups in the early 1970s. The Green Acres Newsletter also reflect community communication on social as well as civic issues. Mrs. Smith kept extensive clipping files from Delaware newspapers and collected reports and other research materials related to clean air, water resources, Delaware's coast, and land use. A good amount of the material relates to the Bottle Bill, which Mrs. Smith sponsored, and the Coastal Zone Act, which she successfully defended many times. She worked with Russ Peterson on many issues and her files include correspondence with other Delaware politicians and leaders. Her papers include campaign materials and some papers related to Republican Party leadership in the state and elected women officials.


Contents List

1          Campaign and elections

            Print outs of registered voters, literature, newsletters, brochures, stickers


2          Logs, 1970 – 1994


3          Correspondence

            1969 – 1981

            VIP Republican party invitations, Women Elected Officials




4          Correspondence, American Leadership, etc.


            House Calendars, 1974 - 1986 (not comprehensive)

            Senate Calendars, 1974 – 1984 (not all)


5          Roll Calls, 1977 – 1989 (not all)

            Digests of Legislation, 1975 – 1982

            Other State pubs


6          Files – Campaign, Bio, Press, Talks

            Delaware Tomorrow Commission, 1976


7          Files - Legislative issues – land tax, eminent domain

            lobbying, living will, charitable solicitation, school bus reimbursement, etc.


8          Files – Dog bill, possible legislation, Smith bills, privacy

            geological survey results, state boundary commission, etc.


9          Bottle Bill, ca. 1974 - 1987

            files, clippings, correspondence, background material


10        Bottle Bill – cont’d

            Hearings, 1977, files, etc.

            HB 77 – mark-ups, press release, litter control, etc.


11        Bottle Bill, 1971 - 1983

            Environment / Coastal Zone

            Russ Peterson, 1969 – 1991 – election, environmental, clippings, correspondence,



12        Coastal Zone – files, clippings, background

            Supporters, 1971-1972, NJ Oil Spill Law, SB 449, oil, gas, mineral

            SB 219, HB 274, 1973, Off shore

            CZ amend. 129th HB 275


13        Environment / Energy, 1966, 1980 – 1987, 1990 etc.


            State Resources, nature, state travel lit, Water News, Delmarva Ornithologist

            Port Oil & Coal, Bill 1039, CZ reports, Wilmington Port, 1979, 1984, etc.


14        Misc Environmental / CZ news clipping

            Notebook – Del Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, 1976


            DE zoning maps, Ag maps, Mid-Atlantic historic maps


15        Mixed topics

            Parks & Recreation, Forwood School Playground

            Delaware Citizens for Clear Air

            130th – gender identification

            Wilm. Med Center, Women’s correct’l Inst., Terry Child Psychiatric Center


16        Economic Development

            Joint Finance Committee, Div of Revenue

            132 GA – HB 84

            Superior Court report, 1987


17        Sinkholes, Hockessin, 1981,

            HB/SB 217 – Wetlands, Quality of Life in DE, 1975; EPA 1971,

            Div of Env Control Strengthened HB298/SB218, 1973

            HB 256, 1971 Env Protection Bill; Pollution

            Program for Exceptional Children


18        Grant in Aid, ca. 1984 - 1990

            United Way, Food Bank, etc.



19        White Clay Creek Historical “stuff”

            Kathy Dahl, Women at UD, 1971

            CZ Land Use / William Cohen report, 1980

            Cartoon for DCCA

            Neighborhood Gardens

            Political ephemera


20        Energy Conservation, Special Energy Committee, 1977

            Defining Death

            Procurement Committee, Fiscal Notebook, 1977


21        Misc loose files and papers – env, districting, news, pollution, etc.



            Community Supported Agriculture, 1998

            HOTS – Higher Order Thinking Skills, 1987


22        News clippings – environment, leg issues, social issues, Wilm, etc.


23        (mss box)

            Green Acres Civic Association – file and newsletters

UD Special Collections > Finding Aids

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