Horace Smith, a successful manufacturer and generous philanthropist was born in Chester, MA October 28, 1808. In his boyhood his family moved to Springfield. He became a close student of mechanical principles and received his early training at the United States Armory. Later he joined his shopmate, Daniel B. Wesson, to form the firm of Smith & Wesson. Together, they began the manufacture of revolvers which made a name for themselves and a fortune for each.
Mr. Smith died in 1893 leaving a large estate. His will, after several bequests to relatives and institutions, provided that the residue of his estate be used for public purposes at the discretion of his executors.
The Horace Smith Fund was established in 1899 to help deserving students finance their education. Scholarship applicants must be graduates of Hampden County, Massachusetts secondary schools. Fellowship applicants must be residents of Hampden County or qualified former residents.
Elizabeth Barr, widow of West Springfield businessman Walter S. Barr, passed away in 1950 and left a portion of the family estate to the Horace Smith Fund. The Barrs wanted to assist young people from this area in the pursuit of a higher education, and to memorialize this generosity the Fund named its Scholarships and Fellowships after Walter S. Barr.