Cora Smith was born on September 7, 1867, in Rockford, Illinois; she was the daughter of Eliphaz and Sara Smith. She was a member of the first graduating class of the University of North Dakota in 1889, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree. While a student, she assisted in the teaching of arithmetic, geography, spelling and handwriting, in addition to finishing a four year degree in three years.
She next attended Boston University, where she graduated in 1892 with a degree in medicine. She was the first woman to take and pass the North Dakota medical board examination, and was licensed to practice on October 13, 1892. She practiced in Grand Forks from 1892 until 1896. After moving from Grand Forks, she practiced medicine in Minneapolis, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Hollywood, California. She also became known as a prominent suffragette in each of these communities. Her suffragette activity began in North Dakota, where she lobbied for women's suffrage at the 1889 Constitutional Convention. Along with Carrie Chapman Catt, she led a suffrage parade and picket line through Washington D.C., during in the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. In her later years, she was chair of the Congressional Committee of the National Council of Women Voters.
In 1912, Cora Smith married Judson King, a native of Toledo, Ohio. The ceremony took place in Seattle, Washington. The couple had one daughter, Sylvia, before divorcing in 1925. In 1933, she published A Course in Physiotherapy. Dr. Cora Smith King died on November 24, 1939 in Hollywood. On May 30, 1964, Cora Smith Hall, a women's dormitory on the UND campus, was dedicated in her honor.
Transfer from the UND Biographical File; Acc.#81-878