Henry Adams Bellows (businessman)

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Bellows in 1917

Henry Adams Bellows (September 22, 1885 – December 29, 1939) was a newspaper editor and radio executive who was an early member of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. He is also known for his translation of the Poetic Edda for The American-Scandinavian Foundation.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Portland, Maine, Bellows graduated from Harvard University in 1906, and then taught English as an assistant there for three years. He received his Ph.D. in 1910 for a dissertation in comparative literature entitled The Relations between Prose and Metrical Composition in Old Norse Literature[1] and then became an assistant professor of rhetoric at the University of Minnesota.[2]

From 1912 to 1919 he was managing editor of The Bellman, a Minneapolis literary magazine, vice president of the Bellman Company, and a director of the Miller Publishing Company;[2] from 1914 to 1925 he was managing editor of The Northwestern Miller.[3] He also worked for the Minnesota Orchestra,[4] in 1921–23 was music critic for the Minneapolis Daily News, and in 1925 was the manager of WCCO, one of the top radio stations in the country.[3] He was also a major in the Minnesota Home Guard during World War I.[2][5]

In 1927 Bellows was appointed as one of the first members of the Federal Radio Commission, predecessor of the Federal Communications Commission. He was technical adviser to the first International Radio Telegraph Conference that year. To forestall greater government interference in broadcasting, he advocated stations' programming individually to meet their listeners' needs; he left the FRC 18 months into his three-year term.[3] From 1928 to 1935, he was a director of the National Association of Broadcasters; he was manager of Northwestern Broadcasting from 1929 to 1934 and a vice president of the Columbia Broadcasting System, forerunner of CBS, from 1930 to 1934. In 1930 he set up a transatlantic exchange for radio programs. His final position was as director of public relations for General Mills, where he founded the department.[3][5]

He died of lung cancer on December 29, 1939 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[5][6]

Personal life[edit]

He married Mary Sanger, the daughter of Harvard chemistry professor Charles Robert Sanger, in 1911; they had two children.[2] After her death in 1935,[7] he married a second time in 1936 to Alice Eels.[3]


Bellows is also known for translating the Poetic Edda for The American-Scandinavian Foundation[4][8][9] and Peter Abélard's Historia Calamitatum.[3][10] The range of his four other books indicates the breadth of his interests:[5] Manual for Local Defense,[11] A Treatise on Riot Duty for National Guards,[12] Highland Light, and Other Poems[4][13][14] and A Short History of Flour Milling.[15]


  1. ^ PhD Dissertations, Department of Comparative Literature, Harvard University.
  2. ^ a b c d William M. Emery, The Howland Heirs: Being the Story of a Family and a Fortune and the Inheritance of a Trust Established for Mrs. Hetty H.R. Green, Bedford, Massachusetts: Anthony, 1919, p. 333.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Gerald V. Flannery and Peggy Voorhies, "Bellows, Henry, 1927 – 1928", in Gerald V. Flannery, ed., Commissioners of the FCC, 1927–1994, Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1985, ISBN 9780819196699, n.p..
  4. ^ a b c "Henry Adams Bellows (1885–1939)", in Robert I. Hedin, Where One Voice Ends Another Begins: 150 Years of Minnesota Poetry, St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 2007, ISBN 9780873515849, p. 17.
  5. ^ a b c d James Gray, Business Without Boundary: The Story of General Mills, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1954, OCLC 234337, p. 282.
  6. ^ "Henry A. Bellows, A Radio Executive. Ex-Vice President of Columbia System, Member of Original Federal Commission, Dies. Editor, Teacher, Critic. Publicity Director of General Mills Wrote Manual on Riot Duty for War Department". New York Times. December 30, 1939.
  7. ^ "Mrs. Henry A. Bellows. Wife of Head of Committee of Broadcasters Association". New York Times. January 20, 1935.
  8. ^ The Poetic Edda, tr. Henry Adams Bellows, Scandinavian classics 21/22, New York: The American-Scandinavian Foundation, 1923, OCLC 753692, repr. The poetic Edda: The Mythological Poems, Mineola, New York: Dover, 2004, ISBN 9780486437101, The Poetic Edda: The Heroic Poems, Mineola, New York: Dover, 2007, ISBN 9780486460215.
  9. ^ Percy A. Hutchison, "Gods Created by the Norse in Their Own Image: For the First Time a Definitive Translation of Scandinavian Tales", The New York Times Book Review, December 16, 1923.
  10. ^ Peter Abélard, Historia calamitatum: The Story of My Misfortunes: An Autobiography, tr. Henry Adams Bellows, St. Paul, Minnesota: Boyd, 1922, OCLC 1005715, repr. New York: Macmillan / London: Collier-Macmillan, 1972, OCLC 556463613
  11. ^ Henry Adams Bellows, Manual for Local Defense, New York: Macmillan, 1918, OCLC 8241834
  12. ^ Henry Adams Bellows, A Treatise on Riot Duty for National Guards, United States Militia Bureau, Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1920, OCLC 60731405
  13. ^ "Ballads Of A Bohemian And Highland Light: Two Widely Differing Books of Verse by Robert W. Service and Henry Adams Bellows, Respectively" Archived 2017-01-07 at the Wayback Machine, The Hartford Courant, May 21, 1921 (pay per view).
  14. ^ Henry Adams Bellows, Highland Light, and Other Poems, New York: Macmillan, 1921, OCLC 5517264
  15. ^ Henry Adams Bellows, A Short History of Flour Milling, Minneapolis: Miller, 1924, OCLC 4525837

External links[edit]

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