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Contours of the Premodern World

At the James Ford Bell Library

Manuscript page in Arabic, showing image of blue cat

Unboxing a New Acquisition at the James Ford Bell Library

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By Anne Good, Assistant Curator One of the most fun things that we get to do at the Bell Library is acquire new materials for the collection. Earlier this year we were absolutely thrilled to...
Signature of Grisell Baillie in Universal Pocket-Book

The Past Owners of the Bell’s Books

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By Anne Good, Assistant Curator We often find names written in the books that make up the Bell collection – inside the front or back covers, on blank leaves at the back of books, and...
Frontispiece showing imposing woman in a shaft of light, with small child handing her a box of coins; others looking on. Also title page.

Tartarians and Heliopolitans in a Little-Known Book at the James Ford Bell Library

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Guest post by William Poole of New College, Oxford The James Ford Bell Library holds a copy of a rather mysterious little book, published in 1689. It is a duodecimo of not quite two hundred...
16th-century sailor on the deck of a ship (above); with 1930s, light blue, Cadillac Phaeton (below).

Cadillacs and Conquistadors at the James Ford Bell Library

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By Anne Good, Assistant Curator It is fascinating to see the ways that historical interpretation has changed over time – sometimes due to the discovery of new materials, and sometimes because of societal changes that...

Visit the Exhibits at the James Ford Bell Library, Part 2: “Hidden in Plain...

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Anne Good, Assistant Curator Two exhibits are currently on display at the James Ford Bell Library, housed in the Elmer L. Andersen Library on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus. The Bell...

Visit the Exhibits at the James Ford Bell Library, Part 1: “Reimagining the World”

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By Anne Good, Assistant Curator Two exhibits are currently on display at the James Ford Bell Library, housed in the Elmer L. Andersen Library on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities...

Specimens of Cloth from Captain Cook’s Voyages and “The Mysterious Mr. Alexander H. Shaw”

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Compiled by Anne Good, Assistant Curator at the James Ford Bell Library In May, I wrote a blog post on sources for studying cloth in the collection of the Bell Library. I included in this...

Jane Squire and the longitude question

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By Anne Good, Assistant Curator Since I'm still new to the collection at the James Ford Bell Library, I make time occasionally to page through the printed catalog that was published in 1994 and to...

A Biography of Candida Xu at the James Ford Bell Library

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Guest post by Gail King, Retired Asian Studies Librarian, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University One of the holdings of the James Ford Bell Library is Histoire d'une dame chrétienne de la Chine, ou...

Connecting Threads at the James Ford Bell Library

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By Anne Good, Assistant Curator When James Ford Bell provided the core collection of books to found this library back in 1953, his main interest was trade. He wrote, “Trade, to me, is an expression...

Sugaring and Spring

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Guest post by Dr. Jacob Jurss, University of St. Thomas, Adjunct Department of History In November 2020, I wrote a short piece for the James Ford Bell Library facebook page centered on two Seth Eastman...

The first European exploration of the Red Sea

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Guest post by Roger Lee De Jesus , Researcher at the Center for History of Society and Culture (University of Coimbra, Portugal) and CHAM - Centre for the Humanities (NOVA FCSH / UAc) João de...

Cayenne: From “Un Lieu de Rencontre” to a French Colony

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Guest Blog by Gayle K. Brunelle, Professor Emeritus, California State University, Fullerton The Guyanas, the coast of which has often been dubbed the “Wild Coast” since Sir Walter Raleigh’s 1595 visit to the Venezuelan region...

A map that reveals and conceals at the James Ford Bell Library

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By Jeff Bishop W. Jeff Bishop provides guest commentary on the Bell's "Map of the British and French dominions in North America" by John Mitchell and Thomas Kitchin (1774). Jeff is the Director of the...

American Images

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By Anne Good, Assistant Curator The map of "Virginia and Florida" published by Henricus Hondius, based on the work of his father, Jodocus, and Gerhard Mercator (Bell Call #1628 oMe, vol. 2) was not the...

The Great Auk

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By Anne Good, Assistant Curator Most biologists agree that a “sixth extinction” is currently underway due to human activity in the natural environment. Just how far into it we are is a matter of debate,...

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