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Winthrop Pickard Bell: Chronology

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


This is a selected chronology of important dates and events in the life of Dr. Winthrop Pickard Bell.



Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on May 12, the eldest child of Andrew Mackinlay and Mary Emerancy (Pickard) Bell.


Entered the Halifax Academy at the corner of Brunswick and Sackville Streets to complete his High School education.


Commenced his studies at the University of Mount Allison College in Sackville, New Brunswick, after graduating from the Halifax Academy.


Received a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours in Mathematics from the University of Mount Allison College in Sackville. He also took summer courses at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.


Worked as a surveyor on the Halifax and South Western Railway principally in the vicinity of Sable River, Nova Scotia.


Received a Master of Arts degree from the University of Mount Allison College in Sackville. His thesis was entitled, "The Defence of Europe." He subsequently took up work with the National Transcontinental Railway in Northern Ontario.


Received a Master of Arts (Philosophy) degree from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Began studies at Emmanuel College at Cambridge University in England but was forced to leave due to ill health. In the fall of the year he began studying at the University of Leipzig in Germany and attending concerts at the Gewandhaus.


Re-located to Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, Germany, to continue his doctoral studies under the primary tutelage of noted phenomenologist, Dr. Edmund Husserl.


Completed the doctoral defence of his thesis "Eine kritische Untersuchung der Erkenntnistheorie Josiah Royce's" [A Critical Investigation of Josiah Royce's Theory of Knowledge].  He was awarded a doctorate magna cum laude but it was revoked with the outbreak of the First World War. He became a prisoner of war and spent the next four years in the Ruhleben Prison Camp near Berlin, Germany.


Both of his parents died and he was finally released from Ruhleben Prison Camp.


Became a press correspondent traveling throughout Europe and reporting for British Intelligence, Reuters, and the Danish Press Agency, Ritzau.


Returned to Canada and worked with his brother Ralph Pickard Bell in the timber industry in southwestern Nova Scotia. He also gave a number of talks about the situation in Germany.


Commenced a teaching appointment with the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto.


Bell’s doctoral degree was re-instated by Georg-August-Universität and he began a new teaching appointment in philosophy at Harvard University.


Married Hazel Lawrence Deinstadt at the Ralph Bell home ‘Boulderwood’ in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on October 7.


Resigned his position at Harvard University and moved to Lockeport, Nova Scotia, where he worked as his brother’s overseer in the Lockeport Company fish plant which Ralph Pickard Bell controlled.


Took a cruise with his wife during the winter months to visit the Caribbean and many places in Latin America.


Received a retirement allowance from the Lockeport Company and moved with his wife to a home 'Shore Acres' in Chester Basin, Nova Scotia.


Travelled to Europe to visit with old friends and acquaintances.


Began construction on his home ‘Drumnaha’ in Chester, Nova Scotia.


Moved into the new home in Chester.


Offered his expertise and previous war service to the aircraft production industry predominately at the Clark Ruse Aircraft Ltd. plant in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, for the duration of the war.


His wife, Hazel Bell, took in a number of evacuated children of friends from England and was very active in the work of the Red Cross in Lunenburg County.


Began to send CARE packages to friends in Germany.


Started a four year term on the Board of Regents at Mount Allison University. Became a vice-president of the Nova Scotia Historical Society.


Travelled to Europe to again visit with friends and acquaintances.


Became President of the Nova Scotia Historical Society and was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. Began to experience heart troubles that would plague him for the remainder of his life.


Appointed his sister-in-law’s (Marjorie Young Bell) designated representative for the administration of her financial gifts to Mount Allison University.


Saw the publication of his primary historical work The “Foreign Protestants” and the Settlement of Nova Scotia by the University of Toronto Press. Experienced two heart attacks. He received a Certificate of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History.


Had his work A Genealogical Study published by The Tribune Press Limited in Sackville, New Brunswick.


His work was recognized by the Canadian Historical Society.


Died on April 4 at his home, 'Drumnaha', in Chester, Nova Scotia, and was buried in the Old Baptist Burying Grounds adjacent to the property.