Cover art by Chris Foss (Panther Science Fiction, 1972).
First Lensman covers Virgil Samm's "discovery" of the lens, the founding of the Galactic Patrol and the Galactic Council, and the election for the fate of North America. Also has very nice bits with Samms' initial efforts to recruit non-human lensmen.
First Lensman was written later than the rest of the series, and is a back-story to the Lensman series.
E. E. Smith (1890–1965), also Edward Elmer Smith, Ph.D., E. E. "Doc" Smith, Doc Smith, "Skylark" Smith, and (to family) Ted, was a food engineer (specializing in doughnut and pastry mixes) and early science fiction author who wrote the Lensman series and the Skylark series, among others. He is sometimes referred to as the father of Space Opera.
E. E. Smith. Wikipedia.