Hill was the son of a farmer in Ontario, Canada. At 18 he moved to St. Paul, Minn., and took a job as a clerk with a steamship company. In 1873 he and a partner took over the bankrupt St. Louis and Pacific Railway. This line was reorganized in 1879 as the St. Paul, Minnesota and Manitoba Railway, with Hill as General Manager; in 1883 he became its President. Hill extended his rail line into the Great Northwest and opened it up to commerce. He amassed a fortune, estimated at between 200 to 250 million dollars at his death.
Scrapbook contains clippings of the news stories and obituaries printed after the death of James J. Hill on May 29, 1916, drawn from newspapers throughout the United States and Canada.
James J. Hill Scrapbook, 1916, Archives Center, National Museum of American History