Image: Guide to the Dennis A. “Denny” Smith papers
Guide to the Dennis A. “Denny” Smith papers
Dennis A. “Denny” Smith papers
Campaign Files
Legislative Records
Personal/Political Records
Press relations/media activities records

Guide to the Dennis A. “Denny” Smith papers


Guide to the Dennis A. “Denny” Smith papers


The Dennis A. “Denny” Smith papers consist of papers generated and received by the office of Congressman Denny Smith during his five terms in the United States House of Representatives representing the Fifth District of the state of Oregon as well as materials documenting his campaigns.

Source Format

Campaign Photographs

Collection Guide

Political Papers





Willamette University University Archives and Special Collections

Repository Address

900 State Street; Salem, Oregon; 97301 USA; Phone: 503/370/6845; Fax: 503/370/6141; Email:; URL:

Location of Collection

Mark O. Hatfield Library

Collection Number



Materials are in English.


This collection is organized in four series: campaign files, legislative records, personal/political records, and press relations/media activities records.; Specific arrangements for each series and subseries are described in the series descriptions below. Folders maintain original order whenever it can be determined. There is a certain amount of subject overlap between series as well as duplicate materials in various folders. Researchers are encouraged to examine the entire collection in order to cover all material addressing their interest.

Biographical/Historical Note

Dennis Alan (Denny) Smith was born January 19, 1938 in Ontario, Oregon, the son of Elmo and Dorothy Smith. He attended public schools in Oregon, graduating from Grant Union High School in 1956. He graduated with a B.A. from Willamette University in 1961. Smith served in the United States Air Force from 1958 to 1960 and from 1962 to 1967 and in the Oregon Air National Guard from 1960 to 1962. He was awarded the Air Medal with six clusters during his Vietnam service (1965-1966) flying 180 missions. Smith was a co-pilot and flight engineer for Pan American World Airways from 1967 to 1977. He was first elected as a Republican to the Ninety-seventh Congress in 1980 to serve Oregon’s Second District. The 1980 census gave Oregon another congressional district and in 1982 Smith was elected as the first representative from Oregon’s Fifth Congressional District. Smith served in the United States House of Representatives from 1981 to 1991.

While in Congress Smith sat on the Budget Committee, the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee and the Veteran’s Affairs Committee. He also chaired several committees, including the Military Reform Caucus, Oregonians Against Crime and the Republican Task Force on Crime. In the early 1980’s Smith focused on Pentagon spending. In January, 1984 he was successful in forcing further testing of the Aegis guided-missile cruiser. Later that year the Divad (division air defense) program was shut down because of Smith’s investigation into over-spending and poor test results.

After an unsuccessful campaign in 1990, he was succeeded by Democrat Mike Kopetski. In 1994 Smith was the Republican nominee for governor. He lost to Democrat John Kitzhaber. Since leaving Congress, Smith has served as chairman of Eagle Newspapers, a family owned newspaper business and remained active in local and national politics. Smith has six children, including a nephew and two nieces he and his first wife, Kathleen, raised after the death of the children’s parents. Smith lives in the Salem, Oregon area with his wife Deanna.


19 linear feet

Content Description

The Dennis A. “Denny” Smith collection documents Smith’s campaigns from 1979 to 1990 and his legislative and voting record during his time in office, the 97th Congress through the 101st Congress. The collection includes campaign files on Smith’s two campaigns against Mike Kopetski, in 1988 and 1990. The collection also contains materials collected by Friends of Denny Smith (FODS) including pressing clippings from 1979 to 1990. The Daily Schedule file sorters in the Personal/Political series contain a detailed record of appointments, invitations and roll calls for Smith from 1985 to 1990.


Smith, Dennis A. (1938- )

Armey, Dick (1940- )

AuCoin, Les (1942- )

Cheney, Richard B. (1941- )

Dole, Robert J. (1923- )

Ford, Gerald R. (1913-2006)

Gingrich, Newt (1943- )

Goldschmidt, Neil E. (1940- )

Kennedy, Joseph P. (1952- )

Kopetski, Michael (1949- )

McClure, James A. (1924- )

Mosbacher, Robert Adam (1927- )

Packwood, Bob (1932- )

Paulus, Norma (1933- )

Quayle, Dan (1947- )

Reagan, Ronald Wilson (1911-2004)

Roberts, Barbara (1936- )

Wright, Jim (1922- )

Wyden, Ron (1949- )


Legislators – Oregon -- Archives

United State -- Politics and government – 1980-1991 Political Campaigns

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Restrictions on Use

Library acts as “fair use” reproduction agent.; For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.; Copyright Information: Before material from collections at Willamette University Archives and Special Collections may be quoted in print, or otherwise reproduced, in whole or in part, in any publication, permission must be obtained from (1) the owner of the physical property, and (2) the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permission. Persons wishing to quote from materials in any collections held by University Archives and Special Collections should consult the University Archivist. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.


Finding Aids


Dennis A. “Denny” Smith papers