biography of Benjamin F. SMITH (1830-1927)

Birth place: South Freedom, ME

Death place: Maine

Profession: Lithographer

Comments: From 1848-57 he and his brothers, George Warren, Francis, and David Clifford Smith, were in the print publishing business in Boston and NYC. Benjamin did some of the art work, though most of it was done by John W. Hill, Fanny Palmer, and Charles Parsons (see entries). Both George and Francis had served as agents for E. Whitefield (see entry), so their involvement was more on the production and distribution side of the business. Benjamin, who also worked for Whitefield, worked more as an apprentice and assistant and Whitefield and Smith published together from 1848-52. Upon some disagreement relations were broken and the Smith Brothers went their own way. Some scholars believe that the breakup was over competition (see Reps). In 1858 Francis went to Omaha (NE) where he established a bank and Benjamin joined him in 1860. They also bought a mine and became very wealthy. In the 1880's he and his brothers retired to Maine and when Benjamin died, he was supposedly the richest man in Maine.

Sources: G&W; Portfolio (Jan. 1954), 99-102; Stokes, Historical Prints; Stokes, Iconography, pl. 145. More recently, see Reps, 206-208.