Smith, Grafton Elliot (1871–1937)
The story of Grafton Elliot Smith is the story of the brilliant colonial boy who did well for himself. He was born on August 15, 1871 in Grafton, New South Wales, the son of Stephen Sheldrick Smith, a teacher, and his wife, Mary Jane Evens. Smith soon showed his precocious intelligence, developing an interest in anatomy after dissecting a shark. He was able to attend the University of Sydney, graduating with an MD in 1895 and winning a gold medal for his thesis on the anatomy of the brain in non-placental mammals. The following year, Smith was awarded a traveling scholarship to study for his PhD at Cambridge University, and in 1899 he completed his extraordinary ascent by being elected a Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge. While Smith's rise was rapid, his colonial origins meant he was at a disadvantage for the best appointments in Britain, so in 1900 ...