Peter J. Smith was born May 25, 1886 in Walhalla, North Dakota. In 1914 he moved to Mitchell, Indiana where he operated a photography studio. There he married Dottie Woner in 1917, and they had three children, Robert, Ernest, and Wilma.
In 1936 he moved to Fargo and opened a studio at 602 1/2 Front Street. In 1950 he changed occupations and became the night auditor at the Gardner Hotel. Fred W. Rider worked as an employee of Peter J. Smith from 1947 to 1951.
Mr. Smith was the president of the North Dakota Photographers Association. Peter J. Smith died January 17, 1965 at the age of 78.