Hill, Joe

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Hill, Joe,

1879–1915, Swedish-American union organizer; b. Sweden, as Joel Hägglund, also called Joseph Hillström. He came to the United States in 1902 and worked as a miner and a longshoreman, when he joined (1910) the Industrial Workers of the WorldIndustrial Workers of the World
(IWW), revolutionary industrial union organized in Chicago in 1905 by delegates from the Western Federation of Mines, which formed the nucleus of the IWW, and 42 other labor organizations.
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. He wrote many labor songs, including "Casey Jones" and "The Union Scab." Found guilty in 1915 of murdering a prominent Salt Lake City man, Hill was executed; later information indicated that he had not committed the crime. Hill, who became a legendary hero of radical labor, is memorialized in a well-known 1936 ballad.


See biography by W. M. Adler (2011).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hill, Joe


(also Joseph Hillstrom; real name, Joel Emmanuel Hägglund). Born Oct. 7, 1879, in Jevle, Sweden; died Nov. 19, 1915, in Salt Lake City, Utah. American proletarian poet and songwriter.

Hill emigrated to the USA in 1902 and worked at many occupations. He wrote political verse, parodies, and songs, often to popular tunes. In 1910 he joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). In support of striking railroad workers he wrote the satirical song “Casey Jones.” He was one of the chief authors of the periodical The Little Red Songbook, an anthology of IWW songs. Arrested on a false charge of murder, Hill continued writing songs in prison, including “Rebel Girl” (dedicated to Elizabeth G. Flynn), “It’s a Long Way to a Cup of Soup,” and “Workers of the World, Awake!” A few hours before his death he wrote “Joe Hill’s Testament.”

In 1971 the Swedish director Bo Widerberg made the film Joe Hill.


The Songs of Joe Hill. New York, 1955.
The Letters of Joe Hill. New York, 1965.
In Russian translation:
Pesni Dzho Khilla. Moscow, 1966.


Surkov, A. “Pesniu rasstreliat’ nel’zia.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1965, no. 11.
Flynn, E. G. Svoimi slovami. Moscow, 1962.
Foner, P. S. The Case of Joe Hill. New York, 1965.
Smith, Gibbs M. Joe Hill. Salt Lake City, 1969.

B. I. ZAVADSKII [28–743–11

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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