Welcome to the James Ford Bell Library
Advancing Knowledge : Enriching Lives
The Bell Library makes history come alive through its collection of rare books, maps and manuscripts that focus on trade and cultural before ca. 1800. Our premier collection illustrates the ways in which cultural influences expanded worldwide, with a special emphasis on European interactions. The James Ford Bell Library, its collection, and its innovative programs support scholarship and education at all levels, and enrich our community by advancing understanding of this global heritage, making the world we live in more meaningful.
The James Ford Bell Library is now in its new home: Suite 15 on the ground floor of Elmer L. Andersen Library. This newly renovated space features a dedicated, high-tech seminar room, a bright and airy reading room, and enlarged exhibit space. The collection is housed in its own underground, climate-controlled vault.
Andersen Library is home to the U of MN Libraries's Archives and Special Collections Department, of which the Bell Library is a part. With this move, the department is now located in a single building, providing a more integrated and convenient experience for students and researchers. Now, for example, a student interested in how Western perceptions of China changed over time can access relevant material from the Bell Library, the YMCA Archive, the Children's Literature Research Center, the Performing Arts Archive, and the Immigration History Research Center Archive all in the same building, even compare images side-by-side in the same reading room.
We hope you'll visit soon.
Hear what faculty and students have to say about the Bell Library
The Revealing Maps Project Final Map Count is 22,413!
The "reveal" part of our "Revealing Maps" project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities is completed. A total of 22,413 maps were identified and targeted for scanning. To date, more than 17,000 have been scanned. Metadata is being collected and as it is completed, maps are uploaded to our Historical Maps collection within the UMedia Archive, the University of Minnesota Libraries digital repository: Bell Digital Collection. All of these maps are freely accessible online, with pan and zoom features to enable detailed study. Low resolution versions may be downloaded for use in power point presentations and class assignments. Scholars who need higher resolution versions for publication may obtain them by contacting the Bell Library curatorial staff. Maps are added regularly so check back frequently. A new interface on the Bell Library web site will be available soon to facilitate discovery.
This project is made possible through funding by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The National Endowment for the Humanities: Because democracy demands wisdom. "Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities."