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HomeContents > People > Photographers > James Ford Bell Jr.

Dates:  1903, 27 November - 1981, 20 September
Born:  US, MN, Minneapolis

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for James Ford Bell Jr.
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Bell joined the Minneapolis Camera Club in 1933 and exhibited in the Minneapolis Salon of Photography from 1932 to 1935. Among his three pictures accepted in the 1935 salon was The Lariat, an image showing a man twirling rope atop a large rock, reproduced in the show’s catalog. Charles H. Bell, James’s brother, also was a club member and salon exhibitor.
In addition to amateur photography, Bell was interested in conservation and filmmaking. He created a sanctuary for waterfowl at Lake Minnetonka, outside of the Twin Cities, and raised funds for a Manitoba waterfowl research station. In 1931, he wrote and directed the critically acclaimed silent film The Last Entry, which won an international award from a cinematography magazine.
James Ford Bell, Jr., was born on November 27, 1903, in Minneapolis, where he rose to become a prominent businessman. The son of the founder of General Mills, Bell made his name by transforming Red Owl Stores from a group of country grocery shops into one of the nation’s largest wholesale and retail food chains. He became president of it in 1936 and retired in 1969, after selling it to another company. He wrote a book in 1967 for the rising executive called You’re in Charge, and died on September 20, 1981, after a long illness. 
Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012) 
This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission. 
Date last updated: 1 June 2013. 
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
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