Vera C. Smith, born in Kent, England, earned her PhD in economics at the London School of Economics. Her doctoral dissertaton, directed by Friedrich Hayek, became the 1936 book The Rational of Central Banking and the Free Banking Alternative. This book is considered the foundation of the modern free banking movement. In 1937, she married Friedrich Lutz, also an economist, and traveled with him to the USA on a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship. The couple stayed on in the USA, where Lutz became a professor at Princeton University and Vera worked as an economist at the International Finance Section of Princeton and then for the League of Nations. They co-authored The Theory of Investment of the Firm (1951), among other publications.