Eli Smith, an American missionary, born at Northford, Conn., Sept. 15, 1801, died in Beyrout, Syria, Jan. 11, 1857. He graduated at Yale college in 1821, and at Andover theological seminary in 1826, and on May 23 of the latter year sailed as a missionary of the American board for Malta, where he took charge of the missionary printing establishment. In 1827 he went to Beyrout to study Arabic, and in 1828 returned to his work at Malta. In 1829 ho made a tour with Dr. Anderson through Greece, and in 1830-'31 with Dr. Dwight of Constantinople through Armenia and Georgia to Persia, opening the way for the Nestorian mission at Urumiah. In 1832 ho visited the United States, and published a work by himself and Dr. Dwight entitled " Missionary Researches in Armenia." Ho returned to Beyrout in 1833. In 1838 and again in 1852 he was the travelling companion and coadjutor of Dr. Edward Robinson in his explorations in Palestine. After the journey of 1838 he went to Leipsic to superintend the casting of a new font of Arabic type, in which he improved the form of the letters, making them more distinct and nearer the style of the written letters.
He revisited the United States in 1839, and again, on account of severe illness, in 1845. From 1847 he was engaged upon a translation of the Bible into modern Arabic, which has been completed since his death by Dr. C. C. Van Dyke. He published a volume of sermons and addresses (1834).