Aaron Smith (1868-1950) was born without arms or hands shortly after the Civil War.
As his descendants, we look back with admiration at the things he accomplished so many decades before the introduction of facilities that accommodated the disabled. He did so as the second of 10 children, born to a poor rural family who made his education a priority.
Smith learned to write and type with his toes as a youngster, and earned an attorney's certificate when he was 20 years old. By the turn of the century he was an accomplished newspaper journalist before founding a printing company and becoming involved with numerous publications.
This website updates a site we built to tell his story many years ago. We’ve lifted highlights from various sources, including newspaper articles from the times, but the centerpiece is still the Autobiography where he shared his history and the attitude that drove him forward.
"Nature made amends for sending Aaron Smith into the world armless by endowing him with high ambition, unfailing patience and a clear brain," a San Francisco newspaper reported. According to Smith's autobiography, these came from a mother and father "whose faith in God's power to do all things was unlimited" and a wife "who helped me to see clearly what Mother had only seen in her dreams."
We hope you'll take a few minutes to explore Aaron Smith's world through these pages. There's plenty to learn from this man born without arms, who shows us all how to thrive in spite of our own shortcomings.
– Descendants of Aaron Smith