Bell, Andrew James

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Bell, Andrew James

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  • A.J. Bell

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1856-1932

History

Andrew James Bell was an academic and a book collector. He was born in Jamesville, near Ottawa, Ontario, the son of George Bell and Jessie Fleming. He married Martha Whitwam in 1882. She died in 1900. He married Martha Anne Sneath in 1903. He died in Toronto, Ontario.

Bell was educated at Ottawa Collegiate Institute. He received a B.A. from University College, University of Toronto in 1878. He then taught for three years at St. Thomas Collegiate Institute in Toronto. In 1881 he was appointed Latin instructor at Victoria College, Cobourg, Ontario, but upon joining the faculty he was given a leave of absence to complete a doctorate at the University of Breslau in Germany. He completed his thesis De Locativi in Prisea Latinitate Vi et Usu, concerning the force and use of the locative case in early Latin, in 1889. In the same year he returned to Victoria College, which had been renamed Victoria University (in 1884) and was preparing for federation with the University of Toronto in 1892. In 1900 Bell was cross-appointed Professor of Comparative Philology at the University of Toronto becoming the first professor to be appointed at the University of Toronto. To prepare for his position he returned to Germany (Leipzig) to study several languages (Gothic, Lithuanian, Old Irish, Old Persian, Oscan, Sanskrit, Umbrium, Zend). Bell served as Professor of Latin at Victoria College until 1921 and as Professor of Comparative Philology at the University of Toronto until 1922. He taught at Victoria College until 1927. He was a member of the American Philological Association and the Archaeological Institute of America.

Bell was the author of The Latin Dual and Poetic Diction (a philological study) published in 1923 by Victoria College and Oxford University Press. He started to collect books as a student in Germany and bequeathed his collection of more than 30,000 items, including works by Desiderius Erasmus, Walt Whitman and Virginia Woolf, to Victoria University.

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Victoria University Library - Special Collections

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