Guide to the James Washington Bell (1890-1966) Papers

Collection Title: James Washington Bell (1890-1966) Papers
Dates: 1922-1961
Identification: 11/3/10/3
Creator: Bell, James Washington, 1890-1966
Extent: 3 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: James Washington Bell was born on August 26, 1890 in Boulder, Colorado, the son of James Washington Bell and Delphine Paradis Bell. Bell took a B.A. degree in Philosophy and Languages from the University of Colorado in 1912 and an M.A. degree in Economics and Government, also from the University of Colorado, in 1913. Harvard University awarded Bell a Ph.D. in Economics in 1918. His doctoral dissertation was entitled Taxation of Railways in New England. Bell received the Norlin Achievement Medal from the University of Colorado Alumni Association in 1938. In 1955, the University of Colorado awarded Bell an honorary LL.D. degree.
Acquisition Information: The James Washington Bell Papers (Accession # 80-106) were separated from the Frederick Shipp Deibler Papers (Accession # 79-46; Series 11/3/10/2), which were transferred to the University Archives from Special Collections on March 23, 1979.
Processing Information: Kevin Barry Leonard; July 1980
Separated Materials: Two photographs were removed to the James Washington Bell folder in the Archives Photographic Collection. One linear inch of printed pamphlets from various foundations and business and labor groups has been sent to Gifts and Exchange.
Conditions Governing Access: None.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

James Washington Bell was born on August 26, 1890 in Boulder, Colorado, the son of James Washington Bell and Delphine Paradis Bell. Bell took a B.A. degree in Philosophy and Languages from the University of Colorado in 1912 and an M.A. degree in Economics and Government, also from the University of Colorado, in 1913. Harvard University awarded Bell a Ph.D. in Economics in 1918. His doctoral dissertation was entitled Taxation of Railways in New England. Bell received the Norlin Achievement Medal from the University of Colorado Alumni Association in 1938. In 1955, the University of Colorado awarded Bell an honorary LL.D. degree.

While working on his M.A., Bell was an assistant and instructor in Economics at Colorado. He was also a teaching fellow and tutor at Harvard from 1915 to 1918. From 1918 to 1919 Bell served in the American Expeditionary Force in France and after demobilization in 1919 with the American Red Cross in Paris.

Bell's first full-time academic appointment was as an Assistant Professor at Williams College from 1919 to 1923. Bell came to Northwestern as an Associate Professor of Money and Banking in 1923. He was promoted to Professor in 1929 and remained a Northwestern faculty member for the remainder of his career. He was appointed Professor Emeritus in 1955. Bell also served as a Visiting Professor at Ohio State University during the spring of 1955-1956 and at Southern Illinois University during the spring of 1958-1959. Bell taught seminars in Economics in India for the U.S. Department of State in 1958.

Bell held several administrative posts at Northwestern. He directed the Graduate Division of the School of Commerce from 1926 to 1937 and headed the School's Department of Finance from 1926 to 1941. Bell was a member of the Administrative Board of Northwestern's Graduate School from 1933 to 1937 and from 1937 to 1941 he served as Acting Dean of the Graduate School. He also served as Chairman of the Economics Department of the College of Liberal Arts from 1942 to 1951.

Bell was a member of several professional organizations. He served as Secretary-Treasurer of the American Economic Association from 1936 to 1962, he also edited the AEA's Papers and Proceedings, Directory and Handbook. He was a delegate and later President of the Conference of Secretaries of the American Council of Learned Societies. He was a founder of the Economists' National Committee on Monetary Policy in 1933 and served as its Vice-President from 1933 to 1949, as Acting President from 1949 to 1953 and as President from 1953 until 1966. Bell chaired the Research Council of the Institute of Economic Research from 1932 to 1933. He served as President of the Northwestern chapter of the American Association of University Professors (see Series 4/6/1), and was a Fellow of the Royal Economic Society.

He was a member of Delta Tau Delta, Alpha Kappa Psi, Alpha Pi Zeta (see Series 4/6/2) and Beta Gamma Sigma fraternities. Bell also belonged to the University Clubs of Evanston and Chicago and the Harvard Club of Chicago.

Bell served as Director for two Chicago banks: the National Bank of Commerce and the Citizens National Bank.

Bell's publications include A Guide to the Study of Money and Banking (third edition, 1935), A Proper Monetary and Banking System for the United States (edited with Walter Earl Spahr, 1960) and several articles and reports in financial and economic journals and in encyclopedias.

Bell died in Evanston on December 21, 1966; interment was in Boulder, Colorado.

Scope and Content

The James Washington Bell Papers, comprising three boxes, are arranged in three categories: general correspondence, subject files and course files. The first folder in the series contains biographical materials and newspaper clippings.

The general correspondence, comprising only one-quarter of one box, is arranged at the folder level by year and within folders by date. The correspondence is mainly incoming and spans the years from 1939 to 1946. The bulk of this small amount of correspondence falls in the years 1940 and 1941. The correspondence of 1940 and 1941 largely concerns the activities of the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies and especially the Chicago and Evanston chapters of the Committee. Bell took an active role in this Committee and spoke before the Evanston chapter on the "Economic Consequences of a Nazi Victory." The correspondence folder for 1941 includes Bell's notes for this speech. The folder for 1940 includes one letter to Bell from Adlai E. Stevenson (August 29) and one from U.S. Representative Ralph E. Church of Illinois (September 16). The 1941 folder contains one letter to Bell from Paul H. Douglas (September 30). This folder also contains correspondence concerning Bell's resignation as Acting Dean of the Graduate School. Correspondence from 1942 to 1946 is largely routine and often pertains to publications concerning economic issues sent to Bell by a variety of individuals and organizations.

The subject files comprise only two folders. The first folder concerns the American Economic Association and contains printed Reports of the Committee on Elections from 1947 to 1949 and Announcements of Meetings of the AEA from 1949, 1956, 1961. The second folder concerns Northwestern's Commencement programs for 1945 and contains memoranda, seating charts and academic procession orders for Baccalaureate and Commencement services.

The course files, spanning the dates from 1922 to 1947, by far comprise the bulk of Bell's Papers. These files generally contain syllabi, examination questions, grades and often seating charts for courses taught by Bell. There are also some materials for courses he did not teach. Some of the course folders also include correspondence and the folders for Bell's course on Money, Credit and Prices, conducted as a seminar include minutes of course meetings and student papers. The course files are arranged alphabetically according to course title: Bank Practice and Policy, Banking Systems and Money Markets, Corporation Finance, Money and Banking, and Money, Credit and Prices. Folders are arranged within these categories by year and sometimes within years by academic semester.

Subjects

Corporate Name

American Economic Association

Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies

Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Department of Economics--Faculty

Personal Name

Bell, James Washington, 1890-1966

Church, Ralph Edwin, 1883-1950

Douglas, Paul H. (Paul Howard), 1892-1976

Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1900-1965

Subjects

Economics--Study and teaching (Higher)--United States


Container List / Contents

  • General Correspondence
    • Correspondence, 1939-1940Box 1, Folder 2
    • Correspondence, 1941Box 1, Folder 3
    • Correspondence, 1942Box 1, Folder 4
    • Correspondence, 1943Box 1, Folder 5
    • Correspondence, 1944Box 1, Folder 6
    • Correspondence, 1945Box 1, Folder 7
    • Correspondence, 1946Box 1, Folder 8
    • Correspondence, n.d.Box 1, Folder 9
  • Subject Files
    • American Economic Association, 1943-1944, 1947-1949, 1954-1956, 1959, 1961Box 1, Folder 10
    • Commencement, 1944, 1945Box 1, Folder 11
  • Course Files
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1922-1923Box 1, Folder 12
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1923-1924Box 1, Folder 13
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1924 SummerBox 1, Folder 14
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1924-1925Box 1, Folder 15
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1925-1926Box 1, Folder 16
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1926 SummerBox 1, Folder 17
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1926-1927Box 1, Folder 18
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1927-1928Box 1, Folder 19
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1928-1929Box 1, Folder 20
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1929-1930Box 1, Folder 21
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1930-1931Box 1, Folder 22
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1931-1932Box 1, Folder 23
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1932-1933Box 1, Folder 24
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1933-1934Box 1, Folder 25
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1934-1935Box 1, Folder 26
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1935-1936Box 1, Folder 27
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1936-1937Box 1, Folder 28
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1937-1938Box 1, Folder 29
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1938-1939Box 1, Folder 30
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1939-1940Box 1, Folder 31
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1940-1941Box 1, Folder 32
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1941-1942Box 1, Folder 33
    • Bank Practice and Policy, 1945-1946Box 1, Folder 34
    • Banking Systems and Money Markets, 1927 SummerBox 1, Folder 35
    • Banking Systems and Money Markets, 1927-1928Box 1, Folder 36
    • Banking Systems and Money Markets, 1928-1929Box 1, Folder 37
    • Banking Systems and Money Markets, 1929-1930Box 2, Folder 1
    • Banking Systems and Money Markets, 1930-1931Box 2, Folder 2
    • Banking Systems and Money Markets, 1931-1932Box 2, Folder 3
    • Banking Systems and Money Markets, 1932-1933Box 2, Folder 4
    • Banking Systems and Money Markets, 1933-1934Box 2, Folder 5
    • Banking Systems and Money Markets, 1934-1935Box 2, Folder 6
    • Banking Systems and Money Markets, 1935-1936Box 2, Folder 7
    • Banking Systems and Money Markets, 1936-1937Box 2, Folder 8
    • Banking Systems and Money Markets, 1937-1938Box 2, Folder 9
    • Banking Systems and Money Markets, 1938-1939Box 2, Folder 10
    • Banking Systems and Money Markets, 1939-1940Box 2, Folder 11
    • Banking Systems and Money Markets, 1940-1941Box 2, Folder 12
    • Corporation Finance, 1930, 1934Box 2, Folder 13
    • Money and Banking, 1922-1923Box 2, Folder 14
    • Money and Banking, 1923-1924Box 2, Folder 15
    • Money and Banking, Summers, 1923-1924, 1926-1929, 1931, 1933Box 2, Folder 16
    • Money and Banking, 1924-1925Box 2, Folder 17
    • Money and Banking, 1925-1926Box 2, Folder 18
    • Money and Banking, 1926-1927Box 2, Folder 19
    • Money and Banking, 1927-1928Box 2, Folder 20
    • Money and Banking, 1928-1929Box 2, Folder 21
    • Money and Banking, 1929-1930Box 2, Folder 22
    • Money and Banking, 1930-1931Box 2, Folder 23
    • Money and Banking, 1931-1932Box 2, Folder 24
    • Money and Banking - Austin Scholars Program, 1931-1932Box 2, Folder 25
    • Money and Banking, 1932-1933Box 2, Folder 26
    • Money and Banking I, 1933-1934Box 2, Folder 27
    • Money and Banking II, 1933-1934Box 2, Folder 28
    • Money and Banking, 1934-1935Box 2, Folder 29
    • Money and Banking I, 1934-1935Box 2, Folder 30
    • Money and Banking II, 1934-1935Box 2, Folder 31
    • Money and Banking, 1935-1936Box 2, Folder 32
    • Money and Banking, 1936-1937Box 3, Folder 1
    • Money and Banking, 1941-1942Box 3, Folder 2
    • Money and Banking, Fall 1942-1943Box 3, Folder 3
    • Money and Banking, Spring 1942-1943Box 3, Folder 4
    • Money and Banking, Summer 1943Box 3, Folder 5
    • Money and Banking, Fall 1943-1944Box 3, Folder 6
    • Money and Banking, Spring 1943-1944Box 3, Folder 7
    • Money and Banking, Summer 1944Box 3, Folder 8
    • Money and Banking, Fall 1944-1945Box 3, Folder 9
    • Money and Banking, Spring 1944-1945Box 3, Folder 10
    • Money and Banking, Summer 1945Box 3, Folder 11
    • Money and Banking, Fall 1945-1946Box 3, Folder 12
    • Money and Banking, Spring 1945-1946Box 3, Folder 13
    • Money and Banking, Fall 1946-1947Box 3, Folder 14
    • Money and Banking, Spring 1946-1947Box 3, Folder 15
    • Money, Credit and Prices, 1929-1930Box 3, Folder 16
    • Money, Credit and Prices, 1930-1931Box 3, Folder 17
    • Money, Credit and Prices, 1931-1932Box 3, Folder 18
    • Money, Credit and Prices, 1932-1933Box 3, Folder 19
    • Money, Credit and Prices, 1933-1934Box 3, Folder 20
    • Money, Credit and Prices, 1934-1935Box 3, Folder 21
  • Biographical MaterialsBox 1, Folder 1