R.A.C. Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Robert Alexander Conrad Smith
Robert A.C. Smith in 1900.jpg
Robert A.C. Smith in 1900
Commissioner of Docks and Ferries
In office
1913 – ?
Appointed by William Jay Gaynor
Preceded by Calvin Tomkins
Personal details
Born (1857-02-22)February 22, 1857
Died July 27, 1933(1933-07-27) (aged 76)
Southampton, England
Spouse(s) Alice Williams

Robert Alexander Conrad Smith (February 22, 1857 - July 27, 1933) was the Commissioner of Docks and Ferries in New York City and a member of the Port and Terminal Committee of the New York City Board of Estimate.[1][2][3][4] He was also an entrepreneur in Cuba, where he developed and operated railroads and utilities.


Robert Alexander Conrad Smith was born in Dover, England on February 22, 1857 and then his family moved to Spain, where he spent the next twelve years of his life, until 1869.[5] He returned to England for his education. Three years after his return to England, he made trip to the United States.[5]

He began work on construction of railroads in Cuba, prior to the Spanish American War. He also operated the gas and electric lighting system of Havana. He consolidated smaller companies into a single corporation. He also built the waterworks for Havana.[5]

After moving to the United States he became Commissioner of Docks and Ferries in New York City succeeding Calvin Tomkins.[4] In 1915 he asked the city to cut his salary by $2,500, with the saved money to go to his assistants in his department. He reduced the departmental budget by $184,000 and wanted to trim the head count.[6]

Smith died in Southampton, England on July 27, 1933, after cerebrovascular accident while on an ocean voyage.[1]


  1. ^ a b "R. A. C. Smith Dies in England at 76. Suffering Stroke in Mid-Ocean, Ex-Commissioner of Docks Succumbs at Southampton. Shipping Aide In 2 Wars. Long Prominent in Finance in This City and Spanish America and Active In Charities.". The New York Times. July 28, 1933. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  2. ^ "R.A.C. Smith Calls Borough Head's Track Plan Objections Inconsistent." (PDF). New York Times. May 22, 1916. Retrieved 2009-07-28. Dock Commissioner R.A.C. Smith, who is a member of the Port and Terminal Committee of the Board of Estimate, has written a letter to Mayor Mitchel ... 
  3. ^ "R.A.C. Smith, Sailing, Tells Of Dock Work. Merchants, Shippers, and Truckmen Will Get Immediate Results of Betterments." (PDF). New York Times. July 20, 1913. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  4. ^ a b "Tomkins Put Out. Smith in his Place. Mayor Makes a Quick Shift of Dock Commissioner to Get 'Full Co-operation'". New York Times. April 3, 1913. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-07-27. Calvin Tomkins ceased to be Dock Commissioner yesterday and Mayor Gaynor appointed Robert A.C. Smith in his place. It was given out at the Mayor's office that Mr. Tomkins had resigned, but Mr. Tomkins denied this. 
  5. ^ a b c Prominent and Progressive Americans. 1904. The ancient town of Dover, England, was the native place of R. A. C. Smith, who has now become so prominent and forceful a figure in the financial operations of New York and the island of Cuba. He was born there on February 22, 1857 and soon thereafter was taken to Spain, where twelve years of his early life were spent. After that he returned to England and there began to devote himself to study. ..." 
  6. ^ "Smith Asks $2,500 Cut In His Salary. Commissioner of Docks and Ferries Wants That Sum Added to Assistant's Pay. Reduces Budget. $184,000 Springs Another Surprise by Proposing to Dismiss a Large Number of Useless Employes." (PDF). The New York Times. July 25, 1915. Retrieved 2009-07-26. R. A. C. Smith, Commissioner of Docks and Ferries, in presenting the needs and economies of his department to the Budget Committee of the Board of Estimate yesterday, made the unusual request that his salary of $7,500 be decreased to $5,000 and the difference added to the salary of his assistant, Deputy Commissioner Richard C. Harrison, whose present salary is $5,000.