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 A Mount Allison University Archives Virtual Exhibition


Winthrop Pickard Bell's education at Mount Allison University


A graduation portrait of Winthrop Pickard Bell.

Winthrop Bell began his studies in the public schools of Halifax, Nova Scotia. There are references to him attending the old Albro Street School and he entered into the Halifax County Academy in 1896 at age twelve. While in attendance there he was required to participate in the cadets and related stories of drills including the following reminiscence:

"The Halifax Academy Cadets were mustered at the beginning of the school year, we were marched up to that building (on the south side of May Street) on the first Saturday afternoon, and were there issued with the heavy old-fashioned rifles with which we drilled. We then had to march, with our rifles to the old drill hall on Spring Garden Road." (Source: Mount Allison University Archives, Winthrop Pickard Bell fonds, 8550/8/1 - File no. 3 - Item no. 1).

Dr. Bell graduated from the Halifax Academy in 1900 and was described as follows in the institution's year end publication:

"Winthrop Bell was the orator of his class. It was sometimes doubtful who was the real teacher in the English room. His high aggregate (over 900) shows he knew his books well, particularly his classics for which he won the medal. He is now starting his college career at Mount Allison." (Source: The Academy Annual. Halifax, N.S. : N.S. Printing Co., Christmas 1900, p. 6).

In High School Bell won the Mayor's Medal for highest academic standing in Classics.

Graduation portrait of Winthrop Pickard Bell, circa 1904

Mount Allison University Archives, Winthrop Pickard Bell fonds, 6501/17/2/7.2

May only be reproduced with the permission of the Mount Allison University Archives.

During his freshman year at the University of Mount Allison College, as the university was then known, he continued to study the Classics including: Latin, Greek, and Roman History. He began studying German during the 1901-02 academic year and continued to do so until he graduated in 1904 with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Mathematics.

He attended summer school in 1904 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. In the fall of that same year he attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec in the faculty of Engineering where he finished second in his year and was able to study with Professor Ernest Rutherford, the 1908 Nobel Laureate in Physics. The following year, he took time off to undertake surveying work for the Halifax and South West Railway in the Sable River area of Nova Scotia.

Bell returned to Mount Allison in the fall of 1906 and completed work on a Master's degree which primarily focused on history, German and philosophy. His thesis was entitled, "The Defence of Europe" and examined "the record of the salvation of the European nations from Oriental conquest and domination, during the formative period of their civilization." (Source: Mount Allison University Archives, Winthrop Pickard Bell fonds, 6501/8/1 - File No. 2).

He graduated on May 28, 1907 and his formal education at Mount Allison concluded.

Next topic: Winthrop Pickard Bell: Further education

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This virtual exhibition project was made possible through the generous support of the Marjorie Young Bell Endowment Fund Committee, Mount Allison University.