James Hay Reed

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James Hay Reed, Sr. (September 10, 1853 – June 17, 1927) was a United States federal judge.

Born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, Reed received an A.M. from the Western University of Pennsylvania (now named the University of Pittsburgh) in 1872 and read law to enter the bar in 1875. He was in private practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1875 to 1891.

On February 10, 1891, Reed was nominated by President Benjamin Harrison to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania vacated by Marcus W. Acheson. Reed was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 20, 1891, and received his commission the same day. Reed served in that capacity for less than a year, resigning his judgeship on January 15, 1892.

Reed then returned to his private practice in Pittsburgh. As a lawyer, he counseled many of the business leaders responsible for turning Pittsburgh into an industrial power. He was the senior member of the law firm of Reed, Smith, Shaw & Beal; director of Allegheny Heating Company; president and director of Pittsburgh, Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad Company; director of California Railway and Power Company; treasurer and trustee of Carnegie Hero Commission; trustee and treasurer of Carnegie Institute and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; director of Commerce Housing Commission; chairman of board of Farmers' Deposit National Bank; director of Farmers' Deposit Trust Company; director of Fidelity Title and Trust Company; director of Gulf Oil Corporation; manager of Kingsley Association; vice-president and director of Philadelphia Company and its associated companies; president and director of Reliance Insurance Company of Pittsburgh; president and director of Union Railroad Company; director of United Railway Investment Company; director of United States Steel and Carnegie Pension Fund.[1]

Reed was a close friend and attorney for Andrew Carnegie; Reed secured the transaction that would be known as the largest personal commercial transaction, selling Carnegie Steel Company for $480 million (approximately $10.6 Billion currently) and creating U.S. Steel. Reed was an original director and investor in Carnegie Steel Company and owned the second highest majority of shares in the company, near 16%, equal to $76 million ($1.9 billion according to 2009 inflation calculators). Reed also invested heavily with Pittsburgh Steel and Public Utilities and facilitated the turn of 20th Century U.S. Industry.

Reed was a founding partner of Reed Smith, a global law firm with revenues of $940 million U.S. dollars. Reed was the father of the late Sen. David Aiken Reed (1880-1953).

He continued in practice until his death, in Pittsburgh, in 1927. A Pennsylvania state historical marker marks his birthplace near the Carnegie Science Center on Pittsburgh's North Shore.[1]

Reed was also one of the founders of the City of Monessen, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles south of Pittsburgh.


  1. ^ a b "James Hay Reed". Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Retrieved 2010-07-20. 

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Legal offices
Preceded by
Marcus Wilson Acheson
Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Joseph Buffington