|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
Selected materials cataloged; remainder arranged.
There is a letter book / account book of 347 p., 1790-1856, containing 466 draft copies of his commercial and social correspondence with shipping agents in Great Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Germany, China, Canada, as well as in the United States. The correspondence concerns Bell's business arrangements, the various cargos he shipped and their disposal, political affairs affecting the shipping trade, laws and treaties of various countries to be dealt with, taxes, embargoes, piracy, threats of war, and other pertinent events. A second account book of 84 p. (many are blank), 1787-1852, for the Ship Stephania and others contains ships' records for 1799 to 1828 and miscellaneous accounts up to 1857. There is a one volume carbon typescript (113 p.) of genealogical notes and reminiscences by Gordon Knox Bell (Regent of the University of the State of New York and grandson of Isaac Bell) and others, ca.1940. There is also an essay and lists of the residents of Greenwich Street (including the Bell and Rogers families) by Elizur Yale Smith with related correspondence, 1940.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
This collection is located on-site.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Isaac Bell papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
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Ownership and Custodial History
Gift of Gordon Knox Bell, Jr., 1957.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Papers: Source of acquisition--Bell, Gordon Knox, Jr. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--11/08/57. Accession number--M-57-11-08.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers Processed HR 10/27/93.
2020-07-09 EAD document created by CCR.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Isaac Bell, an East India merchant, was born in Stamford CT in 1768. His Loyalist family brought him to New York City in 1776 and to St John, New Brunswick in Canada for the duration of the Revolutionary War. He entered the shipping business, returned to New York in 1792 and sailed as supercargo in 1798 on the first of three voyages to China which would secure his fortune. He was associated in business with Archibald Gracie and with Moses, Nehemiah, and Fitch Rogers. His fortune later declined due to both the Panic of 1837 and to disastrous fires. He died in 1860.