Robert Sidney Smith was the creator of the great American family epic 'The Gumps'. Smith was already almost forty years old when the first panel of this strip was published, in 1917. In 1908, he published his first comic, 'Buck Nix'. When he was hired by the Chicago Tribune the strip's name changed to 'Old Doc Yak'. In 1919, Smith was forced to abandon this strip due to the immense popularity of 'The Gumps', which had greatly boosted the Tribune's circulation.
The Gump family brought Smith fame and riches, which he spent on several houses and cars. The depression of the 1930s did not affect him, for he was able to sign a new contract with the Tribune that paid him a million dollars over the next three years, plus a brand new Rolls Royce as a bonus. Driving home after having closed the deal, Sidney Smith collided with another car and was killed instantly. After that 'The Gumps' were taken over by Gus Edson.