BELL (WILLIAM R.) PAPERS

Mss. 2117, 2118

Inventory

Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections

Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

Louisiana State University Libraries

Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University

Reformatted 2003

Revised 2011

CONTENTS OF INVENTORY

SUMMARY .................................................................................................................................... 3
BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL NOTE ...................................................................................... 4
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE ................................................................................................... 4
CROSS REFERENCES .................................................................................................................. 5
CONTAINER LIST ........................................................................................................................ 6

Use of manuscript materials. If you wish to examine items in the manuscript group, please fill out a call slip specifying the materials you wish to see. Consult the Container List for location information needed on the call slip.

Photocopying. Should you wish to request photocopies, please consult a staff member. The existing order and arrangement of unbound materials must be maintained.

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Proper acknowledgement of LLMVC materials must be made in any resulting writing or publications. The correct form of citation for this manuscript group is given on the summary page. Copies of scholarly publications based on research in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections are welcomed.

SUMMARY

Size.

78 items and 2 manuscript volumes

Geographic locations.

New Orleans, Louisiana; Detroit, Michigan; California; Knock Kincardine, Inverneshire, Scotland

Inclusive dates.

1842-1941

Bulk dates.

1842-1869

Language.

English

Summary.

Collection consists of family correspondence and business papers relating to William R. Bell’s stable and mortuary in New Orleans.

Restrictions on access.

No restrictions. If microfilm is available, photocopies must be made from microfilm.

Related collections.

None.

Copyright.

Copyright of the original materials is retained by descendants of the creators in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Citation.

Bell (William R.) Papers, Mss. 2117, 2118, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, La.

Stack locations.

C:6

BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL NOTE

William R. Bell (ca.1814-1874), a native of Scotland, was a mortician and owner of Union Stables on Carondelet Street in New Orleans, Louisiana. He and Jessie Russell Fisher wed in 1869.

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

The bulk of the papers consist of business correspondence and records of Bell's stable and mortuary. Items relative to Bell's Union Stable include orders and statements for rental of horses, carriages, and buggies to Federal soldiers occupying New Orleans. Letters (1863-1864) contain requests and instructions for exhumation, embalming, and transport of bodies of Federal soldiers to their families in the North.

Correspondence from Bell's relatives in Scotland, Canada, Michigan, and California discuss, among other things, economic conditions, family news, the Civil War, and gold mining (1842-1869). Of note is a letter relating the scarcity of food throughout Scotland and Britain resulting from the Irish potato famine (Feb. 26, 1847), as well as a letter from Minnesota discussing a Native American massacre (Sept. 24, 1862).

The volumes are comprised of a letter file book (1858-1867) in which business and a few personal letters were pasted, and a biography (1941) of Bell by Isabel Fisher Molony. A photograph of Bell is also included (ca. 1870).

CROSS REFERENCES

Subject

Date

Description of relevant documents

Banks, Nathaniel Prentiss, 1816-1894.

1863-1864

Abstract of bills against Department of the Gulf directed by William Bell to General Banks, Aug. 26, 1863

Dakota Indians--Wars, 1862-1863.

Sept. 24, 1862

Letter mentioning Native American massacre in Minnesota.

Gold mines and mining--California--History--19th century.

1851, 1854

Letter relating gold mining and arrangements for miner’s wife to migrate to Calavaras County, California, Mar. 21, 1851; letter relating gold mining process and proceeds to laborers in the mines, Oct. 25, 1854.

Guerrillas--Confederate States of America.

1863-1864

Two letters relating guerilla warfare along the Mississippi River, Dec. 27, 1863; Union soldiers troubled by rumors of guerillas approaching Brashear City, Mar. 23, 1864.

Late blight of potato--Scotland.

Feb. 26, 1847

Letter relating famine and exorbitant prices of food resulting from failure of potato crop.

New Orleans (La.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Collaborationists.

1863, July-Oct.

Letters from Dr. Thomas Holmes granting William Bell use of his embalming process on condition of Bell’s sympathy for the Union.

Plantation overseers--Alabama--Mobile.

Feb. 26, 1847

Letter containing message for Peter Stuart, overseer in the employ of George Field, Esq.

Scotland--Economic conditions--19th century.

1842-1854, 1863

Thirteen letters to William Bell, New Orleans, from relatives in Scotland, relate social and economic conditions.

Undertakers and undertaking--Louisiana.

1863-1864

Fifty-four letters requesting exhumation of bodies of Federal soldiers at New Orleans, with instructions for embalming and transportation of bodies to relatives in Northern states.

Union Stables (New Orleans, La.)

1862-1864

Forty-eight items consisting of orders and statements for rental of horses, cabs, and buggies to Federal soldiers occupying New Orleans.

United States. Army--African American troops.

Mar. 23, 1864

Letter relating defense of Brashear City by African American troops.

CONTAINER LIST

Stack

Location

Box

Folders

Contents

C:6

1a

1-4

Papers (1842-1869)

1b

--

Letter file book (1858-1867)

Bell biography (1941)