Writing and Typing

One of our most-treasured photographs of Aaron Smith shows him sitting in coat and tie at a desk – barefoot and using his toes to operate a typewriter. His ability to communicate through the written word both defined and facilitated many of his accomplishments as a law student, politician, and publisher.

"It was easy enough to understand that if there was to be any future, it would have to come through training of the head since there were no hands to train,” he wrote. “From the time I was 12 I had been giving serious consideration to a life of self-support."

"I used to go to school the same as the other boys,” he told a newspaper reporter years later. “I had a separate desk my father made for me, and I worked my sums on my slate with a pencil between my toes and then erased them just as the other boys and girls did.

"When I got into office work and the business world, I learned to write with a pen in my teeth, but my right foot is still my hand and I can use a pencil better with it than in my teeth. I have two distinct 'handwritings,' I sometimes tell people."

While Smith may have had two “handwritings,” his grandson noted that Smith’s signature appeared identical no matter what technique he used to write it.