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Cornell A. Bell papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 18

Scope and Contents

The Cornell A. Bell papers document the personal and business life of Dr. Cornell Bell. Materials include photographs and correspondence between Cornell Bell and his students, colleagues, and personal friends. Although there are a few items from Cornell Bell's early life, the majority of the collection documents his personal and business life from the years 1973 to 2007. The collection consists of three main series: papers, photographs, and audiovisual and artifacts. Papers and photographs are broken up into subseries showing Cornell Bell's personal and business life separately. Materials within the collection include correspondence, greeting cards, photographic prints, slides, negatives, notebooks, ID tags, and awards.


  • 1933 - 2008
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1973 - 2007


Access Information

This collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Mmaterial copyrights held by Purdue University or original creator. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

Cornell A. Bell was director of the Purdue University Business Opportunity Program for 37 years. Originally from Evansville, Indiana, Bell received a Bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1947 and a Master's degree in education in 1952, both from Indiana University. He received his doctoral degree in education from Purdue University in 1972. He worked as a chemist for Stauffer Chemical Co., taught science classes at Pulaski School in Gary and served as guidance counselor, assistant principal and principal at Gary Froebel School and Gary Tolleston High School before taking the position at Krannert School of Management at Purdue University in 1969. As director/chairman of the Business Opportunity Program, which was designed to create a more diverse student body, Dr. Bell helped recruit hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students to the West Lafayette campus. He was also active with the Graduate Management Admission Council nationally to increase diversity in schools of business throughout the country. He distinguished himself in education with his personal involvement and dedication in helping provide opportunities to hundreds of students through the Business Opportunity Program. The Business Opportunity Program began with 11 student participants in 1968 and, under Dr. Bell's leadership and guidance, it grew to include 500 minority undergraduate students and more than 300 minority graduate students. His efforts were widely recognized. He received the Special Boilermaker Award from the Purdue Alumni Association in 1987 for his contributions to the quality of student life at Purdue. He received the M. Beverley Stone Non-Academic Counseling Award in 1990, recognizing him as an individual who shows personal concern, gives unselfishly of time, and who shares love through outstanding service to Purdue students. He also received the Indiana Bell Award in 1991 and the Harold T. Amrine Visionary Award in 1994. Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh honored Dr. Bell with a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest award given by the governor, in 1996. That year, in recognition of his extraordinary efforts, the Business Opportunity Program was renamed the Cornell A. Bell Business Opportunity Program. Dr. Bell retired in 2006 and died on March 20, 2009.
Source: Purdue University web site. Business Opportunity Program: Dr. Cornell A. Bell. Retrieved on August 27, 2009 from />


12.00 Cubic Feet (Six photograph boxes, five cubic foot boxes, five flat boxes, and one slide box)

Language of Materials



Collection materials are arranged as follows:

1. Papers, 1933-2008 (2 cubic feet)

Subseries 1: Personal papers, 1973-2007 (0.5 cubic feet)

Subseries 1 includes the personal papers of Cornell A. Bell. Materials included are funeral programs, greeting cards and correspondence. This subseries includes documentation of his correspondence with many family, friends and former students. Materials in the series are arranged chronologically.

Subseries 2: Business papers, 1933-2008 (1.5 cubic feet)

Subseries 2 includes the business papers of Cornell A. Bell. Materials included are diplomas, newspaper clippings, licenses, pamphlets and correspondence relating to his work as an educator in Gary, Indiana and his work at Purdue University in the Business Opportunities Program at Krannert Graduate School of Management. Materials in the series are arranged chronologically.

2. Photographs, 1975-2007 (4 cubic feet)

Subseries 1: Personal photographs, 1975-2007 (3.5 cubic feet)

Subseries 1 includes the personal photographs of Cornell A. Bell. Materials included are photographic prints of various sizes and negatives. The subjects of these photographs are family and personal friends of Cornell Bell.

Subseries 2: Business photographs, 1975-2007 (0.5 cubic feet)

Subseries 1 includes the business photographs of Cornell A. Bell. Materials included are photographic prints of various sizes. The subjects of these photographs are Cornell Bell's students in the Business Opportunity Program, Appreciation banquet in 1989, and Society of Minority Managers.

3. Audiovisual materials and Artifacts, 1945-2007 (6 cubic feet)

Subseries 1: Audiovisual materials, 2004-2007 (0.5 cubic feet)

Subseries 1 includes personal and business audiovisual materials. Materials included are VHS and DVDs. The subjects of these materials are tributes to Dr. Cornell Bell, a wedding, and spring commencement at Purdue.

Subseries 2: Artifacts, 1945-2007 (5.5 cubic feet)

Subseries 2 includes personal and business artifacts. Materials included are a funeral guestbook, an office desk clock, ID tags, notebooks, plaques and awards.

Custodial History

Donation arranged by Dr. Sonia Winslett.

Acquisition Information

Collection materials donated by Roland Parrish, executor of the Cornell Bell estate, 2009-05-08.

Related Materials

UA 94, Purdue University Krannert School of Management Records, Purdue University Archives and Special Collection, Purdue University Libraries.

Separated Materials

Select artifacts were placed on display in the Krannert School of Management. For a list of the items that are on display, please view the complete finding aid (PDF).

Processing Information

Materials have been housed in acid-free folders and boxes.
Cornell A. Bell papers
In Progress
Shauna Borger and Amanda Rumba
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description first completed 2010-01-03 by Shauna Borger.

Revision Statements

  • 2020-04-27: Collection description updated by Amanda Rumba to align with data entry standards.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States