Leroy Smith Papers
Scope and Contents
The Leroy Smith Collection dates between 1919 and 2000 (bulk dates = 1940s–1960s) and contains a scrapbook of activities with which Smith was involved during his lifetime as a promoter of sports, music, and entertainment. Evidence suggests that one of Smith’s family members assembled the scrapbook. In addition to newspaper clippings, researchers will discover correspondence, telegrams, contracts, a liquor license, and photographs. Famed photographer Burnis McCloud took many of the images. There exist many loose pages from the scrapbook that fell out. These stray pages reside in a separate acid-free folder – no attempt has been made to place them back in the scrapbook. A significant amount of material that pertains to the Shriners, specifically, the Syrian Temple No.49, appears in the Smith Collection. Smith was a high-ranking member. Also of note are loose photographs (many of them signed) of beauty contests and acts he sponsored. Some of these pictures include, but are not limited to, Cassius Clay, The Delfonics, Count Basie, Muddy Waters, Nancy Wilson, and Fats Domino. Licenses and tax documents related to Smith's Negro Voters Club nightclub are also in the collection.
- 1919-2000, undated
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.
Biographical / Historical
Leroy Smith was born on July 11, 1911 in Eufala, Oklahoma. Abandoned first job (picking cotton) in Poteau, Oklahoma, at age 14. Moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he graduated from high school and worked as a bus boy. Worked as a Pullman car porter in Ogden, Utah. Married Lulu Green on 16 October 1935..Made permanent move to Denver on 01 June 1936. Opened record shop in 1939 at East 22nd Avenue. Business grew rapidly, so he expanded the Rhythm Record Shop to the Five Points area. Eventually, it became the Rhythm Record and Sporting Goods Shop. In 1943, gave up job with the railroad and started traveling with big name black entertainers of the era. Became a disc jockey at radio stations KFEL and KIMN, in 1948. Hosted the “Rockin’ with Leroy Show,” which aired nightly at midnight. Candidate for 1955 City Council (District Eight). In 1956, received a certificate as Dance Promoter for Jazz, Rhythm and Blues within the Rocky Mountain region. Booked top entertainment at his Voters Club (2617 Welton Street) and the Rainbow Ballroom. First black Deputy Game Warden for State of Colorado – 1958. First black member of Denver Chamber of Commerce. 33rd degree Mason of the Shriners of Syrian Temple No.49. Died on 26 March 1989 at the age of 77.
2 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
1 Oversize file folder
1 oversize box
1 oversize folio
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift, Leroy O. Smith, Jr., 2003.
Items from the collection are avaiable online at https://digital.denverlibrary.org/digital/search/searchterm/arl69/order/nosort
- Language of description
- Script of description