Winthrop Pickard Bell Collection of Acadiana
The Winthrop Pickard Bell Collection of Acadiana was established in 1967 in memory of Winthrop Pickard Bell (1884-1965), a proud graduate of Mount Allison University (BA ’04, MA ’07).

A lifelong scholar, Winthrop Pickard Bell had a variety of research interests, including the families and settlements of  Acadia (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and eastern Maine).  When he left his personal library to Mount Allison in his will, the approximately 700 works in this research area were separated in order to create a special collection.

On the recommendation of University Librarian Eleanor Magee, it was decided that the Collection would focus particularly on “historic Acadia…from the Gaspe to the region of the Penobscot and Kennebec rivers, and includes all provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, and part of the state of Maine.”1 This decision has led to a truly unique collection.  When the second edition of the Winthrop Pickard Bell Collection of Acadiana catalogue was published in 1987, then Special Collections Librarian Margaret Fancy noted that “the Bell collection is unlike collections at provincial archives and museums in that it is not limited by provincial boundaries. Many historical and cultural patterns are common to all three Maritime provinces, so a collection of this nature is a valuable Maritimes Studies resource.”2

The emphasis of the Collection is pre-twentieth century, and all subjects relating to Acadia are collected. The majority of the Collection is in the English language, although there are works in French and other languages.

The Acadiana Collection has grown tremendously since Winthrop Pickard Bell first donated his personal library. The Collection currently has over 14,000 items, in all formats, several languages, and covering all subject areas. An active acquisitions programme is made possible through support from the endowment fund for the W. P. Bell Chair in Maritime Studies. The Collection is fully searchable through the online catalogue, and items may be used within the library.


1 Lynne Owen, “Bell Collection of Acadiana, Mount Allison University,” APLA Bulletin 35 (Mar. 1971): 6-7.

2 “Extensive Catalogue of Acadiana Collection Completed,” Sackville Tribune-Post 3 March 1987: 13.

Photograph from Mount Allison Archives, Picture Collection 2007.07/1059