John Arnold Smith was born September 14, 1880. According to a self-composed work history in the collection, he went to work in 1890, as a ten year old, with his father in the W.P Rends Mine No. 2 in Reissing, Pa. A charter member of the local miner's union, he walked the picket line for six weeks in McGovern, Pa. during the 1897 Strike. From then until about 1907-1908 he worked in a succession of mines in Western Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arkansas, Colorado and Oklahoma. While in Illinois, he was chosen as a delegate to a United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Convention. During this event, he claims to have had the privilege of escorting Mother Jones on visits to Illinois UMWA locals while she was engaged in raising funds for the defense of IWW organizers Moyer, Haywood and Pettibone.. Already in 1919 he was badly injured in the Moon Run mine in Pennsylvania, the first of several accidents and health complications that would impact his middle and later years. In the 1930's-40's, he was active as an organizer and local officer as well as a miner. In January 1958, Smith was living in Orlando, Florida. The collection does not provide information on him beyond this date.
From the description of Papers of John A. Smith, 1933-1958, bulk 1933-1942. (University of Pittsburgh). WorldCat record id: 53033163