Bell, James Ford, 1879-1961Variant names
American business executive; chairman, Milling Division, United States Food Administration, 1917-1918.
From the description of James Ford Bell papers, 1917-1930. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754868948
American business executive; chairman, Milling Division, U.S. Food Administration, 1917-1918.
From the guide to the James Ford Bell Papers, 1917-1930, (Hoover Institution Archives)
James Ford Bell was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1879. His father, James S. Bell, was a miller and was hired to head the Washburn Crosby Company in Minneapolis in 1888. James Ford Bell graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1901 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and joined the Washburn Crosby Company that same year. In 1915, with the death of his father, he became vice president of the company. From 1916-1918, he was chairman of the milling division of the United States Food Administration under Herbert Hoover and from 1918-1919 he was named treasurer and general manager of the Sugar Equalization Board. He was awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor by the French Government and was also made a member of the Belgian Order of the Crown for his contributions during World War I.
When he returned home, he resumed his duties at Washburn Crosby and in 1925 became president of the company. At that time he began a plan to consolidate the milling industry by merging several mills into one company, which was named General Mills. He was president of General Mills from its inception until 1934. Upon his retirement from president, he became Chairman of the Board until 1948. From 1948 to 1959, James Ford Bell served as a director of the Board and chairman of the Committee on Finance and Technological Progress at General Mills. He died on May 7, 1961 at the age of 81.
James Ford Bell was a great benefactor of the University of Minnesota to which he contributed a great deal of his time, monetary resources and possessions, believing that he could never repay the University for what it had given to him. He financed a major portion of the Minnesota Museum of Natural History, which opened in 1940, as well as the exhibits housed there. The museum was renamed the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History in 1966. In 1953 he donated his personal collection of rare books dealing with early trade and exploration to be housed in a Treasure Room called the James Ford Bell Room, located in Walter Library. The collection was later moved to Wilson Library and renamed the James Ford Bell Library. Upon his death he gave the remainder of his rare book collection to the University and established a trust fund consisting of $200,000 to maintain it. James Ford Bell also served as a University Regent from 1939-1960 and in 1961 received a Regents Award "in special recognition of the qualities of benefaction, fidelity and leadership."
From the guide to the James Ford Bell papers, 1917-1960, (University of Minnesota Libraries. University Archives [uarc])
James Ford Bell was born August 16, 1879, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to James Stroud and Sallie M. (Ford) Bell. He was educated in Minneapolis public schools and the Lawrenceville (New Jersey) School and received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Minnesota. At the Washburn Crosby Company, Bell worked as a salesman (1901), vice president (1915), and president (1925). In 1928, under his leadership, Washburn Crosby Company merged with other milling companies to form General Mills, Inc. He served as its president (1928-1934) and board chairman (1934-1947).
Bell married Louise Heffelfinger, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, in December 1902. They died in 1961.
From the guide to the James Ford Bell and family papers., 1861-1978., (Minnesota Historical Society)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Saint Lawrence Seaway.|
|Saint Lawrence Seaway|
|World War, 1939-1945|
|Agricultural laws and legislation|
|World War, 1914-1918--United States|
|World War, 1914-1918--War work--Red Cross|
|World War, 1914-1918--Food question|
|Agriculture--Economic aspects--United States|
|Conservation of natural resources--Minnesota|
|Sino--Japanese War, 1937-1945|
|World War, 1914-1918--Food supply|
|Conservation of natural resources|
|World War, 1914-1918|
|Korean War, 1950-1953|
|Railroads--Cost of operation|
|Agricultural laws and legislation--United States|