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Thomas S. Bell Papers

Identifier: MSS -209 -BC

Scope and Content

The collection consists of numerous papers, mementos, and correspondence pertaining to Thomas S. Bell. Among these, and perhaps of greatest value to researchers, are three notebooks containing notes of Bell's travels in Europe and elsewhere. Of particular interest is Bell's travel journal from March to September 1939, reflecting his travels to Europe. Though he begins by noting that Mussolini has "made public his demands on France" and this may delay Bell's travels, notice of the war and its consequences are surprisingly absent from most of the journal's content. He documents places visited in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and elsewhere, and describes meals, souvenir purchases, movies attended, and drives around town. He occasionally notes the presence of soldiers, but follows these brief descriptions with details of dinner, social engagements, and recounts events such as who won at anagrams in the evening. By June, he notes that "world news is growing a bit disturbing, and has given [him] a crick in [his] neck." By July, he observes a store clerk in Germany commenting that "we must always be 'heiling Hitler,'" but, again, this is mentioned among accounts of what souvenirs were bought and examples of typical travel writing. Later (August) accounts of Hitler's plans are noted (and are referred to as "nothing irrevocable") amid descriptions of Bell's travel companion's dental troubles. By late August, however, he admits, "It is war without any doubt, and a hellish one." Still, though, he and his travel companions continue to describe jaunts which seem relatively unaffected by war.

Other notebooks document trips through the continental United States, Alaska, and a 1953 trip to Europe. Notebooks filled with class notes from Oxford are also present, as is a scrapbook containing mementos such as business cards (Bell's own as well as others), brochures and programs of events attended, clippings, poems, origami, obituaries, postcards and bookmarks. Clippings regarding Bell's wedding are contained in box 2, as are numerous pieces of correspondence and miscellaneous items such as a golf score card.


  • 1900-1960


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.


Thomas Sidney Bell (1883-1960) was born in Illinois and lived in various parts of the United States until his death in Pasadena, California. He was the sole member of the University of New Mexico's graduating class of 1905, the first student to graduate with a college degree from this institution, and the first student from the University of New Mexico to become a Rhodes Scholar and attend Lincoln College, Oxford. A portion of the collection of rare books at the University of New Mexico University Libraries has been named in his honor in recognition of these accomplishments and their relevance to the history of the University of New Mexico. Thomas Bell became an attorney and resided in Pasadena for a large portion of his life.


2 boxes (.76 cu. ft.)


This collection is comprised of papers, mementos, and travel journals pertaining to Thomas S. Bell, first Rhodes Scholar from the University of New Mexico.

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to the Thomas S. Bell Photograph Collection
Finding Aid of the Thomas S. Bell Papers, 1900-1960
Processed by K. Stocker
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 209 BC::Thomas S. Bell Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss209bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131