Scholar of early Christian art; Princeton University professor and chair of the department. Smith graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1906 and received his A. B. and Bowdoin College in 1911. He moved to Princeton University studying under Charles Rufus Morey and Howard Crosby Butler, where he earned his M. A. in 1912 and his Ph.D. in 1915. His dissertation topic was Early Christian Iconography and the School of Provence. Smith joined the faculty at Princeton the following year and advance rapidly through the academics ranks.