Born: November 30, 1904
Ohio connection: Birth
Charles Allen Smart, son of George and Lucy (Allen) Smart, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1904. He received an A.B. degree from Harvard University in 1926. He worked for Doubleday, Page & Co. and Doubleday Doran (publishers) as an editorial assistant from 1927 until 1930. He began his lifelong writing career in 1930, and two years later became an English instructor at Choate School in Connecticut. His life changed when his aunt died in 1934 and left him her farm in Chillicothe, Ohio. Smart married Margaret Warren Hussey in 1935 and they moved to the farm, adding the life of working farmers to their intellectual pursuits. RFD, published in 1938, was written about their farming experiences and was also a commentary on issues such as materialism, the rise of industrial agriculture, the growth of chain stores, and divided communities. After serving in the United States Navy during World War II, Smart returned to continue his farming, become writer-in-residence at Ohio University and do more writing. His biography of Zapotec Indian Benito Juarez, Viva Juarez!, won the Ohioana Book Award in 1964. Towards the end of his life, he wrote The Long Watch, an autobiography which traced his passion for an active intellectual life from childhood through his later years. He wrote a total of eleven books, but RFD was the one for which he was best known. Charles Allen Smart died in Chillicothe on Saturday, March 11, 1967.
Ohioana Library Association medal for best biography of the year by an Ohio writer, 1964, for Viva Juarez!