Field notebooks of Robert Bell [textual record]
Record Information – Brief
Field notebooks of Robert Bell [textual record]
- Hierarchical level:
- R214-68-7-E, RG45
- Type of material:
- Textual material
- Found in:
- Archives / Collections and Fonds
- Item ID number:
- Link to this page:
This link identifies the web page describing this particular record. Unlike the temporary link in your browser, this link will allow you to access, and reference, this page in the future. To link to this descriptive record, copy and paste the URL where ever needed (wiki, blog, document).http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.redirect?app=fonandcol&id=136915&lang=eng
- Context of this record:
Record Information – Details
- Sub-sub-series includes:
57 lower level description(s)View lower level description(s)
- Bilingual equivalent:
- Place of creation:
- 0.6 m of textual records
- Language of material:
- Scope and content:
Sub-sub-series consists of the field notes and field notebooks written by Robert Bell of the Geological Survey of Canada. These particular notebooks cover a range of geological surveying activity that dates from 1860 to 1907 and includes field trips to the Canadian north and west. Bell investigated petroleum deposits in Oil Springs and Sarnia, other geological formations in Manitoulin Island, Bruce Mines, Halifax, Newfoundland, Winnipeg, Qu'Appelle, Hudson's Bay and Hudson's Straight. Also included among these records are field notes, and some correspondence regarding his survey trips. These are filed separately and accompany the appropriate survey notebooks. These records supplement the survey notebooks compiled by Bell and his assistants which comprise four boxes of the over 2500 field notebooks found in RG 45.
- Additional name(s):
- Biography/Administrative history:
Bell, Robert, 1841-1917 : Robert Bell was born in Toronto, June 3, 1841. He was educated at Prescott County schools, McGill University (Faculty of Arts, 1858-61; Faculty of Medicine, 1869-78), and the University of Edinburgh (1864). Because his father, the Rev. Andrew Bell of Perth, Ontario, was a leading amateur geologist and a close friend of Sir William Logan, founder of the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), Robert Bell developed an early interest in natural history, and especially in geology. In 1857, at the age of 15, Bell joined the summer field staff of the GSC, the start of over fifty years of fieldwork that would continue throughout his career, even after his retirement from the GSC in 1908. During the period 1863-67 when Bell was a professor of Chemistry and Natural History at Queen's University, he still pursued his geological interests by working for the GSC during the summers and by investigating privately owned mineral properties. Throughout his life he was involved in a variety of private business interests, including speculation and several partnerships in mining enterprises in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Newfoundland, and extensive land holdings in Manitoba. By 1868, having experienced some difficulties at Queen's, Bell had moved into full-time employment in the GSC. As a pioneer Canadian geologist, he explored and surveyed much of Canada east of the Rocky Mountains. On two Hudson Bay expeditions (S.S. Neptune, 1884; S.S. Alert, 1885), he served as geologist, naturalist and medical officer. Although his GSC career was sometimes surrounded with public controversy and personal frustration, he steadily advanced, being appointed an Assistant Director in 1877, Chief Geologist in 1890, and Acting Director in 1901. His great disappointment was that his position as GSC director was never made permanent. After he was superannuated in 1908, Bell devoted much of his time to private mineral explorations and his Manitoba farm lands. Bell's personal interests extended beyond geology to history, native customs and folklore, archaeology, geography, forestry and conservation, as well as colonization and farming. Besides writing over two hundred published reports and pamphlets, he wrote numerous speeches and articles which reflected his various interests. Bell was an active participant in many professional associations such as the American Institute of Mining Engineers, the Canadian Mining Institute, the Canadian and American Forestry Associations, the Geology Society of London, the Royal Society (London), and the Royal Society of Canada. His scientific and academic distinctions included, honorary degrees from Queen's, the American Geographical Society Medal and the Patron's or King's Gold Medal (Royal Geographical Society of London). In 1873 Bell married Agnes Smith (1854-1927) of Scotland. They had four children: Edith Margaret (Daisy), Alice, Donald and Olga. In spite of their many separations caused by Bell's fieldwork and Mrs. Bell's frequent voyages home to Scotland, they were a close and devoted family. Bell died at his farm in Rathwell, Manitoba, June 18, 1917.
- Finding aid:
Textual records (Electronic) Finding aid 45-10 is a file list indicating file title, ecopy number, outside dates and box numbers. 45-10 (90: Open)
- Additional information:
- Source of title:
- Title is based on the contents of the sub-sub-series.
- Custodial history:
- These records were originally acquired by the National Archives of Canada as part of his private manuscript collection (MIKAN 106729, MG29-B15). These records were transferred to RG 45, the Records of the Geological Survey of Canada, as they are clearly part of the working papers Bell produced as an employee of this government agency.
- No further accruals are expected.
- Related material:
- Researchers may also wish to consult the private manuscript collection of Robert Bell found in the Robert Bell fonds (MIKAN 106729, MG29-B15).
- Former archival reference no.:
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