An American writer of fantasy fiction, he is best known for the Topper novels, which follow the misadventures of banker Cosmo Topper. His other works include Haunts and Bypaths (poems) and The Stray Lamb (novel).
He lived in New York City and worked part-time as an advertising agent. He published his first work, Biltmore Oswald: The Diary of a Hapless Recruit, in 1918.
He drank as heavily as his characters did.
He was the son of a Navy Commodore. Smith suffered a fatal heart attack while on vacation in Florida in 1934.
He appeared in James Thurber's The Years with Russ.