Karl J. Smith (August 28, 1895 - August 7, 1986) was an American cartographer and illustrator best known for his pictorial maps. Smith was born in Louisville, Kentucky. His first job was at Louisville Paper Company - where he apparently fell into a barrel of ink. He served in World War I (1914 - 1918). His earliest work dates to about 1934, when he was commissioned by the Speed Art Museum of Louisville, Kentucky to make pictorial maps of the states. It is unclear if he completed this project, but known maps include Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, and California. There are likely others. Around 1950, he relocated to Greensboro, North Carolina, where he worked as advertising director for the Dillard Paper Company. Later, in the late 1950s, he issued a series of historical maps of the United States for Linweave Paper Company. Smith's style resembles that of Ernest Dudley Chase but is more playful and humorous. In addition to cartographic work, he was also considered an expert on heraldic painting. He was also an amateur historian and well-known expert on Benjamin Franklin. Smith died in Louisville, Kentucky, at 90.

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