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(0.66 cubic feet: 1 F/O)

by: Robert S. Harding, 1991


James J. Hill was born near Guelph, Ontario on September 16, 1838 of parents of Scottish and Northern Ireland background. He moved to St. Paul, Minnesota when he was 18 and began his career in railroad building.

His major accomplishment was to discover the "bread-basket of the world" in the Northwest United States and led in the development of its 6 states from wilderness. Along the 6,000 miles of track he created wealth of $5 billion in land values, having provided for 400,000 farms on 65 million acres. This was done between 1880-1893 with no Federal or State money. He introduced livestock to these farms and imported blood stock. He had men show the farmers how to raise more wheat, and established cheap rates for rail and steamship for the transport of the grain. Hill organized a fleet of steamships for the commercial invasion of Japan and China and made possible trade between Buffalo, NY to the Far East.

Hill was known to believe in low grades, heavy power, large capacity cars and big trainloads. Besides being president of the Great Northern Railway form 1889-1912, he controlled the First National Bank and the Northwestern Trust Company. He also helped to get Armour and Company to locate in south St. Paul. He arranged for Wall Street to purchase $500,000,000 of foreign bonds to help the allies in 1915. He also personally gave money to King Albert of Belgium to help the country after the Germans invaded it.

Hill was worth an estimated $200 to $250 million when he died.

Scope and Content

The 151 scrapbook pages (13" x 15") contain newspaper clippings of the news stories and obituaries of the death of James Jerome Hill on May 29, 1916 at age 78. The clippings dated May 29 and 30, 1916 are from throughout the United States and Canada and report on the life and death of the man known as "Railroad Builder" and "Empire Builder".


This scrapbook, presumably part of the Warshaw Collection, was found in the vault, Spring, 1989.

Container List

Box      Folder



James J. Hill Scrapbook, 1916


Revised: June 6, 2002