Bell, James Ford, 1879-1961

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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

Biography

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)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Bell, James Ford, 1879-1961. James Ford Bell and family papers, 1861-1961. Minnesota Historical Society Library
referencedIn Washburn, Stanley, 1878-1950. Stanley Washburn papers, [ca. 1890]-1977. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Fred Beal Snyder papers, 1912-1950 University of Minnesota Libraries. University Archives [uarc]
referencedIn Walter, Frank Keller, 1874-1945. Papers, 1900-1945. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
referencedIn University of Minnesota. Dept. of Surgery. Papers of the University of Minnesota Department of Surgery, 1927-1968. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
creatorOf Ayala, Juan de. A letter to Ferdinand and Isabella : Spain : 1503. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
creatorOf Ayala, Juan de. A letter to Ferdinand and Isabella : Spain : 1503. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
referencedIn Walter, Frank Keller, 1874-1945. Papers, 1900-1945. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
creatorOf Newcastle, William Cavendish, Duke of, 1592-1676. Autograph letter signed : Welbeck, to Thomas, Lord Fairfax, 1631 Jul. 6. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf James Ford Bell and family papers., 1861-1978. Minnesota Historical Society.
creatorOf James Ford Bell Papers, 1917-1930 Hoover Institution Archives.
creatorOf University of Minnesota. Museum of Natural History. Records, 1872-1947. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
referencedIn Oswald Garrison Villard papers, 1872-1949 Houghton Library
creatorOf James Ford Bell papers, 1917-1960 University of Minnesota Libraries. University Archives [uarc]
referencedIn Frank Keller Walter papers, 1851-1945 University of Minnesota Libraries. University of Minnesota Archives. [uarc]
creatorOf Bell, James Ford, 1879-1961. James Ford Bell papers, 1917-1930. Stanford University, Hoover Institution Library
creatorOf Edgar, William C. (William Crowell), 1856-1932. William C. Edgar and family papers, 1832-1949. Minnesota Historical Society Library
referencedIn Office of the Vice President for Business Administration papers, 1900-1970, (bulk 1938-1963) University of Minnesota Libraries. University Archives [uarc]
referencedIn Papers of the University of Minnesota Department of Surgery, 1927-1968 University of Minnesota Libraries. University of Minnesota Archives. [uarc]
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Anderson, Sydney, 1881-1948. person
associatedWith Andresen, August H. (August Herman), b. 1890. person
associatedWith Archibald, Allice, 1880-1964. person
associatedWith Astor, John Jacob, 1763-1848. person
associatedWith Ayala, Juan de. person
associatedWith Ball, Joseph H. (Joseph Hurst), 1905-1993. person
associatedWith Barnes, Julius H. (Julius Howland), 1873-1959. person
associatedWith Baruch, Bernard M. (Bernard Mannes), 1870-1965. person
associatedWith Bell, Ann Louise, 1879-1961. person
associatedWith Bell Museum of Natural History corporateBody
associatedWith Benson, Ezra Taft. person
associatedWith Black, Hugo LaFayette, 1886-1971. person
associatedWith Bullis, Harry A. (Harry Amos), 1890-1963. person
associatedWith Bush, Vannevar, 1890-1974. person
associatedWith Butterworth, William, 1864-1936. person
associatedWith Canada. Agriculture Canada. corporateBody
associatedWith Carnegie Institution of Washington. corporateBody
associatedWith Churchill, Winston, 1874-1965. person
associatedWith Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933. person
associatedWith Crosby, Franklin Muzzy, 1875-1947. person
associatedWith Crosby, John, 1867-1962. person
associatedWith Davis, Donald D., 1888-1950. person
associatedWith Dewey, Thomas E. (Thomas Edmund), 1902-1971. person
associatedWith Edgar, William C. (William Crowell), 1856-1932. person
associatedWith Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969. person
associatedWith Gannon, E. H. person
associatedWith Gannon, E. H. person
associatedWith General Mills, inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Gorrie, John, 1803-1855. person
associatedWith Heinz, Howard J. person
associatedWith Heinz, Howard J. person
associatedWith Henry, Frank F. person
associatedWith Henry, Frank F. person
associatedWith Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964. person
associatedWith Inter-American Development Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith International Board for Plant Genetic Resources. Wheat Programme. corporateBody
associatedWith James Ford Bell Library corporateBody
associatedWith Johnson, Hugh S. (Hugh Samuel), 1882-1942. person
associatedWith Kellogg, W. K. (Will Keith), 1860-1951. person
associatedWith Kenny, Elizabeth, 1886-1952. person
associatedWith Landon, Alfred M. (Alfred Mossman), 1887-1987. person
associatedWith Lee, Rudolph. person
associatedWith Lee, Rudolph. person
associatedWith Lingham, Fred J. person
associatedWith Lingham, Fred J. person
associatedWith Loomis, E. E. (Edward Eugene), 1865?-1937. person
associatedWith Marshall Plan. corporateBody
associatedWith Minnesota Resources Commission (1939-1947) corporateBody
associatedWith Monetary and Economic Conference. corporateBody
associatedWith Morrill, J. L. (James Lewis), 1891-1979. person
associatedWith National Association of Manufacturers (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. corporateBody
associatedWith Newcastle, William Cavendish, Duke of, 1592-1676. person
associatedWith Newton, Walter H., 1880-1941. person
associatedWith Pearl, Raymond, 1879-1940. person
associatedWith Pillsbury, John Sargent, 1878-1968. person
associatedWith Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ) corporateBody
associatedWith Robson, Herbert. person
associatedWith Shipstead, Henrik, 1881-1960. person
associatedWith Smith, Alfred Emanuel, 1873-1944. person
associatedWith Snyder, Fred Beal, 1859-1951 person
associatedWith Stassen, Harold Edward, 1907-2001. person
associatedWith Taussig, F. W. (Frank William), 1859-1940. person
associatedWith Taylor, Alonzo Englebert, 1871-1949. person
associatedWith United States. Agricultural Adjustment Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Dept. of Commerce. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Federal Farm Board. corporateBody
associatedWith United States Food Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. National Recovery Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Supreme Court. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Minnesota. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Minnesota. Dept. of Surgery. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Minnesota. Museum of Natural History. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Minnesota. Office of the Vice President. Business Administration corporateBody
associatedWith Vandenburg, Arthur H. (Arthur Hendrick), 1884-1951. person
associatedWith Van Derlip, John Russell, 1860-1935. person
associatedWith Vilgrain, Ernest. person
associatedWith Vilgrain, Ernest. person
associatedWith Vilgrain, Jean. person
associatedWith Vilgrain, Jean. person
correspondedWith Villard, Oswald Garrison, 1872-1949 person
associatedWith Walter, Frank Keller, 1874-1945. person
associatedWith Washburn-Crosby Co. corporateBody
associatedWith Washburn, Stanley, 1878-1950. person
associatedWith Whitney, Richard. person
associatedWith Whitney, Richard. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Minnesota
Minnesota
Saint Lawrence Seaway.
Minnesota
United States
Saint Lawrence Seaway
United States
Europe
Europe
United States
China
Minnesota
United States
Norway
Russia
Subject
Communism--Russia
World War, 1939-1945
Agricultural laws and legislation
World War, 1914-1918--United States
Communism--Norway
Stock exchanges
Money--United States
Agriculture--Europe
Presidents--United States--Election--1928
Philanthropists--Minnesota
Agriculture--Economic aspects
Communism
Grain--Milling
Communism--China
International trade
World War, 1914-1918--War work--Red Cross
Depressions--1929
World War, 1914-1918--Food question
Agriculture--Economic aspects--United States
Conservation of natural resources--Minnesota
Agriculture--United States
Depressions--1929--United States
Agriculture
Money
Sino--Japanese War, 1937-1945
World War, 1914-1918--Food supply
Tariff--United States
Wheat trade
Conservation of natural resources
World War, 1914-1918
Korean War, 1950-1953
Presidents--Election--1928
Poliomyelitis--Treatment
Railroads--Cost of operation
Tariff
Agricultural laws and legislation--United States
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1879-08-16

Death 1961-05-07

Information

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SNAC ID: 5411328