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John C. Bell papers

Identifier: COU:119

Scope and Contents

The John C. Bell papers are divided into four categories; Political Papers and correspondence (1896-1944); Books and Ledgers (1886-1922); Scrapbooks by J. C. Bell (1892-1920); and Family Scrapbooks (1911-1954). The pamphlets include political ephemera, correspondence, and official passes and souvenirs to the Inauguration of President McKinley. Also included are correspondences to and from J.C. Bell. The books include three volumes of a State Agricultural College text, as well as five volumes of Sessions Laws of Colorado. There are also books on cooking, art, and Japan in World War I. The J.C. Bell scrapbooks include political papers, speeches about the silver question and different elections in the 1890’s. The scrapbooks made by J.C. Bell’s family include many magazine articles as well as pictures of Hollywood stars.


  • Creation: 1851 - 1933

Biographical Note

Judge John Calhoun Bell was born in Sewanee, Tennessee in 1851, one of a family of eight children of Rachel and Harison Bell. At the age of seventeen, he started to read law, and was admitted to the Tennessee Bar in 1874. Soon after, he moved to Colorado, residing in Lake City until 1885, when he moved to Montrose. John C. Bell practiced law in Saguache, Colorado from 1874 to 1876. He then moved his legal office to Lake City from 1876 to 1885, and Montrose, Colorado from 1885 to 1892. His private practice was interrupted by his terms as county Judge, Seventh Judicial District Judge, and Judge of the Colorado State Court of Appeals. From 1892-1903, Judge Bell served in the lower house of the US Congress, as the Representative of the old Second District which, at that time, comprised forty four counties. Bell was a member of the Populist and Democratic Parties, and voted for women’s suffrage, pure food and drug controls, railroad regulations, silver coinage, and anti-trust laws. He was instrumental in the building of the Gunnison tunnel, and was a proponent of reclamation in Colorado. John C. Bell died in 1933.


17.5 linear feet (27 Boxes)

Language of Materials



The John C. Bell (1851-1933) papers contain information on his legal career and business interests. Included is political ephemera covering the silver question, elections in the 1890’s, and agriculture in Colorado. Also present is an index of the Denver Republican from 1867-1883. There are forty scrapbooks, of which thirteen contain newspaper clippings about Bell’s political career and his interests from 1882-1930.Twenty-two of the scrapbooks include material collected by Bell’s family after his death in 1933.


This collection is arranged into the following series: 1. Political Papers 2. Business Books and Ledgers 3. John C. Bell Scrapbooks 4. Bell Family Scrapbook 5. Books 6. Index

Matt H. McGarry
June 25,1998
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States