Rhodes, James Ford, 1848–1927, American historian, b. Ohio City (now part of Cleveland). While studying in Europe he visited ironworks and steelworks in Germany and Great Britain, and upon his return he investigated for his father iron and coal deposits in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. In 1874 he became associated with his brother, Robert, and his brother-in-law Marcus A. Hanna, in an iron and coal business at Cleveland. Having made a considerable fortune, he retired in 1885 to devote himself to writing history. He moved to Cambridge, Mass., in 1891. His major work, History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 (7 vol., 1893–1906), which covered the years 1850–77, made him a national figure in historical literature. This work, upon which his fame rests, was highly praised by the critics, especially for its fair-mindedness, and has maintained its reputation fairly well. He was honored by numerous academic and literary institutions and societies.
See biographies by M. A. De Wolfe Howe (1929) and R. Cruden (1961).