Finding Aid

Fonds CR-4
Bell family fonds [graphic material; textual record; cartographic material]: Some accessions originally described in Edith Bell fonds or collection, and Harry N. Rich and Edith Bell fonds. -- 1859-[ca. 1979]
Creator Bell family
Physical Description 151.5 cm of textual records ca. 1760 photographs 183 maps and plans
History Biographical The Bell family roots in Delta begin with the arrival of the Green family in 1871 or 1872. Residents of "Greencroft", their farm on Crescent Island, Charles F. and Elizabeth Green were one of the first pioneering families in Delta. As was necessary in a pioneering community, C.F.Green played many roles in the community, including member of the school board and the municipal council. Their daughter Lydia Mary (1889-1958), the fourth of eight children, married Harry Nelson Rich (1857-1932) in 1889 at the All Saints Church in Ladner. Harry Nelson Rich arrived in Delta in 1880 to work as the bookkeeper for Ben Young's cannery on Westham Island and then for T.E. Ladner. He became manager of Thomas McNeely's business in Ladner in 1885. In 1900 Harry N. Rich started his own real estate, insurance, and auctioneer business, and became a prominent businessman in Ladner. He was active in many community organizations including the Delta Agricultural Society, the Delta Patriotic Society, and the Delta Branch no. 61 Canadian Legion. He also owned twenty-seven acres of land at Tsawwassen Beach, where the family spent their summers. Mary Lydia and Harry had five children including Edith Emily (1892-1981), Sidney Norris (1893-1916), Gertrude May (1899-1926), Mildred Constance (1905-1972) and Phyllis Elizabeth (1909-1987). Sidney was killed in World War I. Gertrude died while nursing in Kamloops in 1926. Phyllis married George Ernest London and Mildred (Mim) married Alan Reginald Gifford. Edward Richardson Bell (1892-1976) was born in Stellarton, Nova Scotia. He began working as a bank clerk for the Union, later Royal Bank, in 1908, and was transfered to the Ladner branch in 1913. Edith Rich and Edward were engaged before Edward enlisted for military service in June 1915. After Edward was wounded in Ypres in 1916, Edith travelled to England and the two married at Nottingham, England in February 1918. Their first son, Robert Edward (1918-1992), was born in England in November 1918. The Bells returned to Vancouver in 1919, Edward rejoining the Royal Bank.Their second child Harry Rich (1920-1996) was born in Vancouver. In 1921 Edward resigned from the Royal Bank and joined his wife's father, H.N. Rich, in business. When Harry N. Rich died in 1932, Edward took over the business which he operated until his retirement. In 1921, the Bells moved to a house on Delta Street , and had a third child (Gertrude) Mary in 1926. They built their house at 4551 Arthur Drive in 1929, where they lived for almost forty years. Edith and Edward Bell moved to a smaller house at 45th and Evergreen Lane in 1965. Both Edith and Edward Bell were prominent, active members of the Ladner community. Their son, Robert Edward Bell, attended the University of British Columbia where he studied mathematics and physics. He became a well known nuclear physicist, and was Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University in Montreal. He married Jeanne Atkinson, and spent his career years working for the National Research Council in Ottawa (during World War II) and McGill University in Montreal. After his retirement, he returned to Delta to live on the Bell properties in Tsawwassen. Harry Bell attended the University of British Columbia, and was later Associate Professor of Engineering at UBC. He remained in Ladner, and was still living in the house on 45th Avenue when he died in 1996. (Gertrude) Mary Bell studied Pre-Med at UBC and later married Frank Paul. She resides in Vernon.
Acquisition Source Edith Bell donated material Feb. 15, 1971 (Accession 1971-08).Other donations by Harry Bell were made in 1982, 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1992. Harry and Joan Van Tol donated material in 1999 through Edgar Dunning (Accession 1999-018).
Scope Content The Bell family fonds is arranged in three sous-fonds: Edith Bell sous-fonds, Edward Bell sous-fonds, and Harry Bell sous-fonds. Edith Bell's records include diaries, scrapbooks and photographs of family and community events as well as records pertaining to her membership in various organizations including the Imperial Order Daughter of the Empire. Edward Bell's records consist of business papers, particularly land records and wills. Harry Bell's records are personal records related to the Bell family. Through photographs, cartographic material, and textual records, the records document not only the Bell family, but much of the community of Delta. Edith Bell's records provide insight into Delta social affairs and families, while Edward Bell's business records reveal economic and social change as it is documented in land transactions.
Arrangement Material in the fonds has been arranged by two archivists
Notes Title based on contents of the fonds.
Finding Aid Sous-fonds and series descriptions, file and item (photographs, and maps and plans) inventories are available. See Photograph Reference Binders to view reference copies of photographs.
Accession No. 1971-008; 1981-060; 1982-052; 1983-127; 1986-020; 1987-036; 1988-045; 1992-057; 1992-069; 1999-018; 2001-029
Mr. and Mrs. Rich with Gertrude? [graphic material]. -- ca. 1915.
Physical Description 1 photograph : b&w ; 12 x 6 cm
Scope Content This photograph shows
Accession No. 1992-069
Item No. Range DPN