Bell family papers

Abstract

The Bell family papers (dated 1800-1937, undated; 1.08 cubic feet; 5 boxes and 1 oversized folder) consist of correspondence, financial and legal material, newspaper clippings, a scrapbook, and photographs that document the Bell and Sayre families of Lexington as well as their house known as Bell Place.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Bell family papers
Extent
1.08 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Architecture -- Kentucky -- Lexington -- History
Neighborhoods -- Kentucky -- Lexington
Arrangement
Collection is arranged by format.
Finding Aid Author
Jennifer Rawe
Preferred Citation
1997ms164: Bell family papers, 1800-1937, undated, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
David Davis Bell (D.D. Bell) was born in 1849 to Henry Bell and Clara Davis. He grew up in Woodside, a large home completed in 1846 in Lexington, Kentucky. The home was passed along to D.D. upon the death of his father in 1883. After an 1884 fire, D.D. worked with Cincinnati architect Samuel Eugene Des Jardins to rebuild the home, which is present-day Bell Place. During his life, D.D. made his fortune as a dry goods merchant and kept show horses across the state. In 1880, he married Sydney Sayre and they had one daughter, Clara D. Bell in 1884. Clara grew up in the reconstructed Bell Place with her mother and father, until his death in 1892. Sydney Sayre was remarried shortly after to Arthur Cary.
D.D. gave Clara D. Bell the majority of his fortune and all of Bell estate. Clara enjoyed showing horses in her free time and at the age of 21, she married Julius Walsh Jr. of St. Louis. Clara would continue her involvement in business, travel, and social gatherings. Later the couple would divorce in 1911 and Clara would eventually move into the Plaza Hotel in New York, selling most of the land surrounding Bell Place. Clara passed away in 1940 and gave Bell Place to the city of Lexington.
Scope and Content
The Bell family papers (dated 1800-1937, undated; 1.08 cubic feet; 5 boxes and 1 oversized folder) consist of correspondence, financial and legal material, newspaper clippings, a scrapbook, and photographs that document the Bell and Sayre families of Lexington as well as their house known as Bell Place. The bulk of the collection details the financial activity and involvement with the Safety Vault Company of Kentucky of D.D. Bell, his wife Sydney Sayre, and their daughter Clara D. Bell. The collection also contains a significant amount of material about the Bell Court neighborhood, including specifications and receipts for the 1884 rebuilding of the still-standing Bell Place and information about the sale and subdivision of land on the larger estate. The Bell family papers also include more personal documents such as correspondence between Clara and her mother, family photographs at Bell Place, and genealogy records of the Bells and Sayre families.
Items of note include the will of D.D. Bell giving gave Clara control of Bell Place on her twenty-first birthday; a 1905 Supreme Court brief for the case of Security Trust and Safety Vault Co., Trustee of Clara D. Bell vs. The City of Lexington; a memorandum detailing the purchase price, guidelines, and subdivision of the land surrounding Bell Place; a 1908 plat map of Bell Court labeled with names, prices, and divisions of the land handled by Bell Land Company; and a Bell family photograph album.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access Collection is open to researchers by appointment
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence and personal papers, 1800-1937, undated

Correspondence, 1800-1911, undated

  • Box 1, folder 1
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Clara D. Bell and Sydney Sayre personal items, 1884-1937, undated

  • Box 1, folder 2
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Genealogy documents, 1839-1855

  • Box 1, folder 3
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Financial and legal documents, 1838-1928, undated

Bell family wills, 1886-1892

  • Box 1, folder 4
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Bell Place Specifications and receipts, 1878-1885, undated

  • Box 1, folder 5
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Clara D. Bell financials, 1897-1923, undated

  • Box 1, folder 6
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D.D. Bell financials, 1877-1898

  • Box 1, folder 7
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General financial holdings, 1839-1902, undated

  • Box 1, folder 8
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Henry Bell financials, 1838-1886

  • Box 1, folder 9
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Sayre family wills, 1899-1900, undated

  • Box 1, folder 10
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Sydney Sayre financials, 1893-1928

  • Box 1, folder 11
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Bell Place Land Co. additions, 1908-1911

  • Box OS-17, folder 1
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Scrapbooks and newspaper clippings, 1910-1911, undated

Bell Place newspaper clippings, 1910-1911

  • Box 1, folder 12
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General newspaper clippings, undated

  • Box 1, folder 14
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Loose prints from scrapbook, undated

  • Box 1, folder 15
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Photographs, 1880s-1930s, undated

Photos arranged by size into four boxes. Also included is a photo album with unidentified subjects and dates.

Bride and groom, wedding ceremony, undated

  • Box 2, item 1
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Clara D. Bell as a child, 1884

  • Box 2, item 2
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Clara D. Bell as a youth, 1880s

  • Box 2, item 3-4
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Clara D. Bell (Center, with unidentified individuals), 1880s

  • Box 2, item 5
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Clara D. Bell outside, 1890s

  • Box 2, item 6
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Clara D. Bell, 1936

  • Box 2, item 7
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Group of unidentified young girls, undated

  • Box 2, item 8
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Street corner, undated

  • Box 2, item 9
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Show horses, undated

  • Box 2, item 10
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Tree near Bell Place, undated

  • Box 2, item 11
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Wedding ceremony, undated

  • Box 2, item 12-15
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Bell Place, undated

  • Box 3, item 1-2
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Clara D. Bell with Shetland pony, 1890s

  • Box 3, item 3
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Clara D. Bell, 1902

  • Box 3, item 4-6
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Clara D. Bell (pictured on right), 1914

  • Box 3, item 7
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Clara D. Bell with a small elephant, undated

  • Box 3, item 8
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Group photo (including Clara D. Bell, Sydney Sayre, Mary Sayre Combs, Graddy Cary, and other identified Sayre family members), 1939

  • Box 3, item 9
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Interior view of Bell Place, including young Clara D. Bell, 1890s

  • Box 3, item 10
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Interior view of Bell Place, undated

  • Box 3, item 11-13
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Mr. Lankow portrait, 1924

  • Box 3, item 14
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Property on Bell Court with horse and carriage , undated

  • Box 3, item 15
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Unidentified man, seated, 1917

  • Box 3, item 16
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Unidentified group photo, undated

  • Box 3, item 17
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Unidentified woman, portrait, undated

  • Box 3, item 18
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Unidentified man, undated

  • Box 3, item 19
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Unidentified group of men, undated

  • Box 3, item 20
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Arthur Cary, undated

  • Box 4, item 1
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Clara D. Bell with Shetland pony, 1880s

  • Box 4, item 2-4
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Clara D. Bell as a child with D.D. Bell at Bell Place, 1880s

  • Box 4, item 5
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Clara D. Bell posed on horse, 1880s

  • Box 4, item 6
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Clara D. Bell, as a young adult, with horse, 1890s

  • Box 4, item 7
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Clara D. Bell, 12 years old, portrait , 1896

  • Box 4, item 8
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Church interior with Christmas decorations, undated

  • Box 4, item 9
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El Paso, Texas fair trophies, 1915

  • Box 4, item 10
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Family portrait, unidentified individuals, undated

  • Box 4, item 11
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Unidentified woman, portrait, undated

  • Box 4, item 12
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Unidentified group of children, undated

  • Box 4, item 13
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Unidentified group of men, undated

  • Box 4, item 14
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Unidentified man reading, undated

  • Box 4, item 15
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Unidentified group of men and women, 1889

  • Box 4, item 16
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Bell family photograph album, undated

  • Box 5, item 1
Photograph album includes 37 pages with 148 photographs. All photos are undated but include subjects such as unidentified men and women, horses, dogs, other farm animals, and Bell Place.
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If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

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