Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Mount Allison University Libraries | Music Library
Banner image link to Mount Allison UniveristyMount Allison University ArchivesImage Map

Winthrop Pickard Bell: Authorship

A virtual exhibition that pays tribute to an illustrious alumnus of Mount Allison University.


The earliest published work located to date is an article that Winthrop Bell wrote at age fourteen. It is entitled "Mountaineering in Nova Scotia" and discusses a trip that he had made to the top of Mount Aspotogan in Lunenburg County. [1] It demonstrates his considerable literary ability at a very early age and expresses his love of this part of Nova Scotia. His photographic prints and negatives demonstrate that he returned there on many occasions to try and recapture the beauty that he described in this early essay.

Bell also tried his hand at poetry.  In 1900 he wrote "A Farmer's Elegy.” [2] Sixty years later he reminisced about the poem as follows:

"I had completely forgotten about the verses printed in 1900. They were an example of youthful pretentiousness, as I recall it; and were at any rate the product of imagination and not of experience." [3]

Upon his arrival at the University of Mount Allison College he became a regular contributor to the student publication, The Argosy. His articles covered such subjects as commercial enterprises and railways, as well as reason and meanings. He continued to write articles for the The Argosy after he went overseas to further his education in Europe. One of his most lasting gifts to Mount Allison University are the lyrics to the "Alma Mater Song.” [4]

After his return from Europe his literary efforts tended to focus on his work experiences or research interests. During his years working for his brother at the Lockeport Company he gave an address and published an article in Maclean's Magazine about the transition from schooner to trawler fishing. He presented a very balanced approach to the issue which was quite contentious at the time.

Two of his moist poignant articles appeared in Saturday Night Magazine in November and December of 1939. [5] He plainly laid out Hitler's plans for mass extermination and warned the world about what was to come. He based his interpretations on the original German texts which were in his personal library.

Bell's later works related mainly to his interests in history and genealogy. He combined these interests in two of his privately published works. The first article provided information about his ancestor, the Hon. Hugh Bell, who founded the Nova Scotia Hospital and was a member of the Nova Scotia Assembly. [6] The second was a biography of another ancestor, Brigadier-General Jedidiah Preble (1707-1784), who fought at Louisbourg and had a distinguished military career. [7] Dr. Bell's final work focused on his compilation of a register of the "Foreign Protestants" which consumed much of the last fifteen years of his life. The work was not completed to the point of publication due to his failing health.

"A year ago I had further acute attacks, and have been more hampered and circumscribed than ever since then. The doctors haven't let me get even to the Archives at Halifax for the past ten months, let alone to the ones at Ottawa. However, I am working along as well as I can. One can get photostats or microfilm of any documents one can specify definitely. But of course so many of one's best discoveries, in historical work, are things one comes on unawares, in documents one would not have thought of demanding in photostatic copy, or had been unaware of the very existence of until one stumbled on them in some dusty corner of the Archives!" [8]

In 2003 with the permission of Mount Allison University, copyright holder of Dr. Bell's works, and Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, repository of the original documents, along with the efforts of a dedicated group of individuals including some Bell family descendants, the publication of Dr. Bell's Register became a reality. This rediscovery of something old is now available to a whole new generation of researchers with an interest in these original Lunenburg County settlers. [9]

Winthrop Bell's literary legacy continues through these very significant works.


[1] Bell, Winthrop P. "Mountaineering in Nova Scotia." The Academy Annual. Halifax, N.S.: N.S. Printing Co., Christmas 1898 : 11

[2] Bell, Winthrop P. "A Farmer's Elegy". Methodist Magazine and Review. (44:2) July 1900 : 82.

[3] Mount Allison University Archives, Winthrop Pickard Bell fonds, Letter to Prof. F.W.W. Desbarres from Dr. Winthrop Bell dated August 30, 1960, 8550/1/17 Item no. 5.

[4] Mount Allison Songs. The Eurhetorian Society of the University of Mount Allison College, 1908 : 20-22.

[5] Bell, Winthrop. "Exterminate non-Germans, dogma of "Mein Kampf"". Saturday Night. November 25, 1939 : 2 ; Bell, Winthrop. "Hitler's extermination policy is world-wide." Saturday Night. December 2, 1939 : 2.

[6] Bell, Winthrop. "Hon. Hugh Bell, founder of the Nova Scotia Hospital." The Nova Scotia Medical Bulletin. (31:3) March 1952: 61-71.

[7] .Bell, Winthrop. Brigadier-General Jedidiah Preble (1707-1784) and his participation in Nova Scotia history. Halifax: Halcraft Printing Ltd., 1954.

[8] Mount Allison University Archives, Winthrop Pickard Bell fonds, Letter from Winthrop Bell to Herbert Spiegelberg, February 20, 1961, 8550/1/101 No. 18.

[9] Bell, Winthrop P. Register of the Foreign Protestants of Nova Scotia (ca. 1749-1770). Ed. Dr. J. Christopher Young. Guelph : JC Young, 2003, 2 volumes.