Skip to main content

John Newton Bell Papers

Identifier: MS 00345

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Content Description

The John Newton Bell papers includes personal and professional correspondence from relatives, business associates and religious figures throughout Virginia and the greater Appalachia. Letters document subject areas including the Civil War, the hospitalization of women in mental health facilities, agricultural issues, and religious matters related to the Presbyterian Church.


  • Creation: 1841-1882

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical / Historical

John Newton Bell (1810-1890) was a merchant, elder and treasurer in the Presbyterian church of Winchester, served as superintendent of the Kent Street Sunday school and conducted a Sunday school to African Americans. Bell had two sons who fought for the confederacy during the Civil War. One son, Robert Sherrard Bell was killed in action at Brandy station on November 7, 1863. John Newton Bell was taken as prisoner by the Union army and held at Fort McHenry. At the height of his career, John Newton Bell ran one of the largest mercantile businesses in Winchester, Virginia.


.417 Linear Feet




The John Newton Bell Collection is organized in one series: Series I. Correspondence 1841-1882.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased with the assistance of the Nelle Richardson Tonkin Fund.

Processing Information

The collection received container level processing. This finding aid may be updated to reflect new descriptions and acquisitions to the collection.

Guide to the John Newton Bell Papers
Afua Ferdnance
October 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository