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John A. Hill

AKA John Alexander Hill

Born: 22-Feb-1858
Birthplace: Sandgate, VT
Died: 24-Jan-1916
Location of death: East Orange, NJ
Cause of death: Heart Failure

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Publisher

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Co-Founder of the McGraw-Hill Companies

John A. Hill was raised in poverty in a small Wisconsin town, and went to work at a print shop when he was 14. As a young man he worked as a railroad engineer, silver prospector, and typesetter, and founded the Pueblo Daily Press in Pueblo, Colorado. Almost entirely self-educated, he was always intrigued with mechanical matters, and began submitting articles to technical journals, eventually becoming an editor at American Machinist and Locomotive Engineer. In 1889 he became part-owner of both, and in 1897 he sold his interest in Locomotive Engineer to raise funds to purchase sole ownership of American Machinist. He established the American Machinist Press the following year as he entered the academic book business, and renamed the company Hill Publishing in 1902, all while still receiving his primary income from work as a mechanical engineer. He was voted a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1914, after presenting a letter of recommendation from his friend, Thomas Edison.

Hill was also friends with a competing publisher, James H. McGraw, who had followed a similar career path and owned The McGraw Publishing Company. In 1909 the two men agreed to merge their book divisions as McGraw-Hill Book Company (flipping a coin to determine top billing) while maintaining separate magazine publishing divisions. Hill served as President of the combined book business until his death in 1916, and the following year the two companies' periodicals divisions were merged as well. The last book published by Hill Publishing before its 1909 merger was Herbert Hoover's Principles of Mining.

Wife: Emma B. Carlisle Hill (b. 1859, m. 1882)
Daughter: Leah Margaret
Daughter: Marie
Daughter: Jean Carlisle Hill (b. 1893)

    McGraw-Hill President (1909-16)
    Hill Publishing Company Founder & President (1897-1916)
    American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Author of books:
Stories of the Railroads (1899, novel)
Some of the Writings of John A. Hill (1916)

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