Leigh S. J. Hunt

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Leigh S. J. Hunt
Smith James Hunt

August 1855
Died(1933-10-05)October 5, 1933
EducationLittle formal education; He went through high school and self taught.
Spouse(s)Jesse Noble

Leigh S. J. Hunt (August 1855 – October 5, 1933) was an American businessman. He is best known as the third president of Iowa State University (1885-1886), and as publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer from 1886 to 1893; the community of Hunts Point, Washington bears his name.


Early life and education[edit]

Leigh Smith James Hunt was born on a farm near Columbia City, Indiana, in August 1855, his parents, Franklin and Martha (Long) Hunt, were natives of the same State. Hunt earned an undergraduate degree from Middlebury College via correspondence course and studied law on his own before passing the Indiana bar exam.


After completing his education in 1879 he went to Cedar Falls, Iowa, and engaged in teaching school, subsequently becoming Principal. There he established his reputation as an educator, and some time later he was engaged as Superintendent of the Schools at Mount Pleasant, Iowa (1880) and Des Moines, Iowa (1882) and still later as President of the State Agricultural College at Ames, Iowa (now the Iowa State University).

In 1886, he went to Seattle and purchased the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which he owned and published until 1893, his later career included real estate development, operating a gold mine in Korea, growing cotton in Sudan (1904-1910), and mining and land development in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Huntridge neighborhood in Las Vegas was developed on land that was his farm.

Marriage and children[edit]

Hunt and his wife Jessie Noble Hunt (c. 1862-1960) were married in 1885 and had two children:

  • Henry Leigh Hunt (1886-1972), 1st husband (1925-1930s) of Louise Lévêque de Vilmorin (1902-1969), French novelist and seed heiress. They had three daughters: Jessie, Alexandra, and Helena.
  • Helen Hunt Rives (1893-1996)


Academic offices
Preceded by
Seaman A. Knapp
President of Iowa State University
Succeeded by
William I. Chamberlain