Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
James Alvin Bell Papers: Finding Aid
mssBell, James papers  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (55.46 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Materials in the Huntington Library
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: James Alvin Bell Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1854-1883
    Bulk dates: 1854-1863
    Collection Number: mssBell, James papers
    Creator: Bell, James Alvin, 1834-1863.
    Extent: 475 pieces in 3 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection contains correspondence between Illinois farmer and Civil war soldier James Alvin Bell (1834-1863) and his fiancee about their private life. A few letters written by other soldiers after Bell's death, depict hardships of a Civil War soldier's life.
    Language: English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

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


    Purchased from G.E. Woodley, July 1964.

    Biographical Note

    Born c. 1834, James Alvin Bell was a farmer in Kaneville, Illinois until he enlisted in the 8th Illinois Cavalry 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

    This collection contains 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.

    Related Materials in the Huntington Library


    The collection is arranged in alphabetical order by author, and then chronologically.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Bell, James Alvin, 1834-1863 -- Archives.
    United States. Army. Illinois Infantry Regiment, 8th (1861-1866)
    Soldiers -- United States -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Correspondence.
    New York (State) -- Social life and customs -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Illinois -- Social life and customs -- 19th century -- Sources.


    Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 19th century.

    Alternate Authors

    Elliott, Augusta Anna Hallock.