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Inventory of the James Alvin Bell Papers, 1854-1883
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: James Alvin Bell Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1854-1883
    Creator: Bell, James Alvin
    Extent: c.475 pieces
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    The collection was purchased from G.E. Woodley in July, 1964.


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL .

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], James Alvin Bell Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Born c. 1834, James Alvin Bell was a farmer in Kaneville, Illinois until he enlisted in the 8th Illinois Gavalry in May, 1861 where he served until his death at Stanton Army Hospital (Washington, D.C.) in October, 1863. His long engagement to Augusta Anna (Hallock) Elliott, a school teacher in rural New York, is the most prominent matter of this collection.

    Scope and Content

    There are 135 letters written by James to Augusta during the period 1854-October, 1863, and 141 letters from Augusta to him. The content of their letters is limited to themselves and their limited social sphere. James' war letters provide little description of relevant conditions, but do afford his reactions to the hardships.
    Another soldier's letters to Augusta (24 in all) during the 1863-1865 period and 12 others written to her after the death of James portray the tragedy of the war. There are other miscellaneous letters, a few of Augusta and James' poems, seven photographs, and some fragments.
    Although the collection is uncatalogued, it is primarily arranged in alphabetical order with chronological sequence. There is a summary report.