Jerome Hill attended Yale University. At Yale, he made a number of friends that would last his entire lifetime. While a student, he took full advantage of his proximity to New York City to see a variety of arts events. His brother, Louis Jr., attended Exeter and then Yale, attending while Jerome was also a student, so Louis and Jerome made some of these trips together.
Upon graduation in 1927 with a degree in music, Hill traveled to Europe and began studies in painting. On trips with family and friends in Europe, Hill experimented with still photography and with early motion picture cameras.
His early adulthood was marked by a period of ill health. It is not explained or outlined in any great degree in the collection, but Hill apparently suffered from a thyroid problem, the effect of which upon his life was compounded by medical advice that had him avoid strenuous activities. As he aged into his mid-twenties, he decided that building his strength was necessary, and he begins to appear much more vital and healthy in photographs of this period.
In 1929, while painting landscapes in the south of France, Hill discovered a piece of property in Cassis, a scenic port town on the Mediterranean Sea. Hill purchased the property and began sharing his time between Cassis and Paris in 1930. Although Hill also maintained a residence in Norden, California, and lived in New York City for long stretches, Cassis would remain his physical and spiritual home for the majority of his life.
Hill's filmmaking career began with the filming of "Snow Flight," a documentary and instructional film on the new techniques of downhill skiing that European instructors were bringing to American ski resorts. The film, made on location at Mt. Rainier in Washington state, was released in 1936. In 1939 and 1940, Hill worked on a documentary on companion animals entitled "The Seeing Eye."
Hill painted and made short films throughout the 1930s, and continued to do so until he joined the military for World War II.