Winthrop Pickard Bell
Winthrop Pickard Bell was born May 12, 1884 in Halifax, Nova Scotia the son of Andrew Mackinlay Bell (1847-1918) and Mary Emerancy (Pickard) Bell (1847-1918).  By the time of his death on April 4, 1965, he had established his name as a philosopher, businessman, historian, and philanthropist.

Dr.  Bell received a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honours in Mathematics from Mount Allison in 1904, followed by a Master’s degree in 1907.  He went on to graduate studies at Harvard and Cambridge Universities, and the University of Leipzig.  He received his doctoral degree, magna cum laude, from Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, Germany in 1914 where he studied under Prof. Edmund Husserl, the leader of the German phenomenological movement.   Accused of being an enemy of the state, Bell spent World War I interned at the Ruhleben Prison Camp near Berlin, Germany . 

After returning to Canada Dr. Bell alternated scholarly roles, at both the University of Toronto and Harvard University and independently, with participation in his brother Ralph’s many business ventures.  In 1948 he began a four-year term on the Board of Regents of Mount Allison University and was very actively involved in the work of his alma mater.  

Bell had a keen interest in Maritimes genealogy and history, publishing The “Foreign Protestants” and the Settlement of Nova Scotia in 1961 and A Genealogical Study the following year.  He was later recognized by the Canadian Historical Association and received a certificate of merit from the American Association for State and Local History for the first work.

After his death in 1965, Dr. Bell donated his personal library to Mount Allison.   His collection of Acadiana titles, covering a variety of subjects pertaining to Canada’s  Maritime Provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island) and eastern Maine, formed the basis for a new Special Collection which has been developed extensively over the last four decades.  Financial support from the Winthrop Pickard Bell Chair of Maritime Studies endowment enables continued acquisitions of important regional materials.  Today the Winthrop Pickard Bell Collection of Acadiana is a fine collection of record, drawing researchers from around the globe and all walks of life. Other works from Dr. Bell’s collection were added to the library’s main holdings.  A review is currently underway, with the intent to gather these titles together to ensure their continued availability. 

Original text from the Winthrop Pickard Bell fonds finding aid by David Mawhinney, 2005; revised by Elizabeth Millar, 2010.

Photograph from Mount Allison Archives, Picture Collection 2007.07/1059