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C.F. & Hortense Smith Collection

Identifier: MSS 0003

Scope and Content

The collection houses the personal papers of C.F. Smith and Eve Hortense Smith. This collection, which dates from 1922 to 2008, consists of printed materials, photos, news clippings, personal ephemera, and awards related to their life. These materials provide a glimpse into their early lives together and Smith family history.


  • Creation: 1922 - 2008


Materials are in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the C.F. and Hortense Smith Collection must be obtained from The African American Library at the Gregory School or the appropriate copyright holder.

Biographical note

Clifford Farrell Smith, Jr. was the first African Americans in Houston to pass the electrician exam and one of the first African Americans to receive a master electricians license in Texas. Born on August 3, 1916, to Clifford F. Smith Sr., and Elsie (Blunt) Smith, he grew up in Houston’ fifth ward community. He attended Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where in 1938 he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Commercial Industries with an emphasis in electrical engineering. After a brief period working as the first black movie projectionist in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Smith served in the Navy Seabees during World War II. He returned to Houston after his discharge from service, and in 1943 became the first African American to pass the City of Houston Electrician’s exam. In 1945, Smith opened the C. F. Smith Electric Co. where the company wired most of the buildings in the Fifth Ward community.

Smith was involved in various organizations as chairman of the City of Houston Electrical Board, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors, board member of Independent Electrical Contractors, Boy Scouts of the Houston Chapter, and as president of both the Houston chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and the Tuskegee Alumni Association. In 1942, Smith married Hortense Dugar and they have two daughters. Clifford F.Smith died on November 28, 1989.

Taken from collection materials and Handbook of Texas Online, Patricia S. Prather, "SMITH, CLIFFORD FARRELL, JR.

Eva Hortense Dugar was born September 19, 1916 to Richard and Adeline Dugar of Houston, Texas. She attended Crawford Elementary School and graduated from Phyllis Wheatley High School in 1933. She went on to study at Xavier University in New Orleans where she graduated in 1937. In 1942 she was married to C.F. Smith. They had 2 daughters, Patricia Smith Prather and Brenda Smith Long. An active member of her community and church, she served as a leader of the Girl Scouts in Houston, Texas. She was a member of Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church. She also served as a National Officer for the Ladies Auxiliary of Knights of Peter Claver, a Catholic organization, and as a volunteer for the March of Dimes. She was a member of the school of Ikebana of Houston, which is the Japanese art form of arranging flowers that brings nature and humanity into harmony. Despite being a mother and housewife she returned to pursue her graduate studies at Prairie View A&M University. She preceded her husband in death in 1983 and is buried at Paradise Cemetery in Houston, Texas.


0.75 Linear Feet (1)

Arrangement note

This collection is arranged by material type.

Acquisition Information

Donated by: Brenda Smith Long. February, 2009.

Related Collections

PH 0006 C.F. & Hortense Smith Photo Collection

PH 0005 Patricia Smith Prather Photograph Collection

MSS 0005 Patricia Smith Prather Collection

(HMRC) MSS 249 C.F. Smith Collection

Processing Information

Processed by: Vince Lee, June 2009.

C.F. & Hortense Smith Collection
An Inventory of Records at the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library
June, 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the African American History Research Center Repository


African American History Research Center
Houston Public Library
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston History Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002