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James Washington Bell (1890-1966) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/10/3

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

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 is mainly incoming and spans the years from 1939 to 1946. The bulk of the correspondence falls within 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, constitute 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.


  • 1922-1961


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored off-site and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


3.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



James Washington Bell came to Northwestern University 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. His papers consist of biographical materials, general correspondence, subject files, and course files.


The James Washington Bell Papers are arranged into: biographical materials; general correspondence (arranged by date), subject files; course files (arranged alphabetically by course name, then by date).

Method of Acquisition

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.

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.

Processing Information

Kevin Barry Leonard; July 1980

Guide to the James Washington Bell (1890-1966) Papers
Kevin Barry Leonard
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US