Guide to The Isaac Bell House Collection, circa 1879-1980


The Preservation Society of Newport County
424 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840
Tel: 401-847-1000
KGarrett-Cox@newportmansions.org

Published in 2018

Collection Overview

Title: The Isaac Bell House Collection
Date range: circa 1879-1980
Creator: The Bell Family
Extent: 1 hollinger box
Abstract: The Isaac Bell House Collection is comprised of materials relating to the home’s various occupants, spanning the period from 1879 until 1980. The collection includes images of the interior and exterior of the home from various points in its existence, as well as images from the families who lived there.
Language of materials: English
Repository: The Preservation Society of Newport County
Collection number: PSNCA.H.007

Scope & content

The Isaac Bell House Collection is comprised of two folders of photographs and a separate photo album. The objects date from circa 1879-1980, and formats include albumen prints, Kodak bullet photographs and gelatin prints. The photographs depict the exterior and the interior of the house under various periods of ownership. The album holds bullet photographs of the Barger family during their social forays around Newport, Rhode Island.

This collection has been fully digitized and is available for viewing online at newportalri.org

Arrangement

This collection is arranged by type of materials and subject matter in one document box. The collection has been divided into two series.
  • Series 1: Architectural Photographs
  • Series 2: Family Photographs

Biographical note

The Bell Family:

Isaac Bell, Jr. was born in New York City the son of a steamboat owner. He attended Harvard University in 1866 and 1867, but did not graduate. He became a successful cotton broker and one of the primary investors in the Commercial Cable Company which broke the transatlantic cable monopoly. He was a member of an established New York family, and retired at the age of 31 in 1877 with the fortune he had accumulated. The following year, he married Jeanette Bennett at the Newport, RI estate of her brother, James Gordon Bennett, owner of the New York Herald. The Bells had three children: Valentine Mott Bell, Olivia Bell, and Isaac Bell III. Isaac Bell Jr. was active in Rhode Island Democratic party. President Grover Cleveland appointed him the U.S. Minister to the Netherlands, which he served from 1885-88. Bell died in January of 1889, from typhoid fever. His funeral was held at Trinity Church, and he was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

The Barger Family:

Beginning when Isaac Bell, Jr. was serving as Minister Resident to the Court of the Netherlands, the house was rented to New York lawyer and capitalist, Samuel F. Barger and his family. After Bell's death, in 1891, Samuel Barger purchased the home from Mrs. Bell. Mr. Barger named the house “Edna Villa," after his wife, Edna Jeanie LaFavor, whom he married in 1869. There is an inscription of this name, still visibly carved into the stone gatepost at the entrance to the property. Samuel Barger was born in 1832 in New York City. He became a lawyer in 1854 and remained in practice until 1867, when he became one of the directors of the New York Central Railroad. In this position, Barger was responsible for overseeing the merger of the Hudson River Railroad with the New York Central. He further served on the executive and finance committees for various other railroad companies throughout the country. The Bargers had three children: Milton, Edna, and Maude. Samuel F. Barger died in New York City in 1914.

The DeSantis Family:

The house remained in the Barger family until 1952, when it was purchased by Leonard J. DeSantis. The DeSantis ownership was brief, but documentary evidence remains from the period. Leonard DeSantis and his wife, Ruth had four children: Janet, Elizabeth, Michael, and Leonard.

Access & Use

Access to the collection: The collection is open to the public, and there are no restrictions on access. However, the collection can only be seen by scheduled appointment.
Use of the materials: All researchers seeking to publish materials from the collections of the PSNC Archives and Special Collections are requested to contact the archivist, prior to reproducing, quoting, or otherwise publishing any portion or extract from this collection. Although the Preservation Society has physical ownership of the collection and the materials contained therein, it does not claim copyright ownership. It is up to the researcher to determine the owners of the copyright and to obtain any necessary permission from them.
Preferred citation: "Courtesy of the Preservation Society of Newport County"
Contact information: The Preservation Society of Newport County
424 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840
Tel: 401-847-1000
KGarrett-Cox@newportmansions.org

Administrative Information

ABOUT THE COLLECTION  
Acquisition: Architectural photographs taken for the PSNC by Robert Meservey, 1947 and John T. Hopf, 1980; Family photographs and album gifted to PSNC by Mrs. Ruth DeSantis, 1998
ABOUT THE FINDING AID  
Encoding: Finding aid encoded by Kate McNally, Digitization Archivist, 2018
Descriptive rules: Finding aid based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS).

Additional Information

Inventory


Series 1. Architectural Photographs, 1947-1980
Box 1, Folder 1

Container Description Date
Box 1, Folder 1 Photograph of the Isaac Bell House
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.1
circa 1947
Box 1, Folder 1 Photograph of the Isaac Bell House
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.2
circa 1980
Box 1, Folder 1 Photograph of the Living Hall at the Isaac Bell House
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.3
circa 1947
Box 1, Folder 1 Photograph of the Living Hall at the Isaac Bell House
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.4
circa 1947
Box 1, Folder 1 Photograph of the Living Hall at the Isaac Bell House
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.5
circa 1947

Series 2. Family Photographs, 1879-1956
Box 1, Folder 2, Album

Container Description Date
Box 1, Folder 2 Photograph of a Woman Holding an Infant
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.6
circa 1879 - 1885
Box 1, Folder 2 Photograph of Two Children
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.7
circa 1879 - 1885
Box 1, Folder 2 Copy of a Photograph of a Bride
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.8
circa 1952 - 1956
Box 1, Folder 2 Copy of a Photograph of a Bridal Party
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.9
circa 1952 - 1956
Box 1, Folder 2 Copy of a Photograph of a Bride
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.10
circa 1952 - 1956
Box 1, Folder 2 Copy of a Photograph of a Bride
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.11
circa 1952 - 1956
Box 1, Folder 2 Copy of a Photograph of a Bride and her Family
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.12
circa 1952 - 1956
Box 1, Folder 2 Copy of a Photograph of a Bride and her Groom
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.13
circa 1952 - 1956
Box 1, Folder 2 Copy of a Photograph of a Bride and her Father
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.14
circa 1952 - 1956
Box 1, Folder 2 Copy of a Photograph of a Wedding Party
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.15
circa 1952 - 1956
Box 1, Folder 2 Copy of a Photograph of a Bride and her Parents
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.16
circa 1952 - 1956
Box 1, Folder 2 Copy of a Photograph of a Bride and her Sister
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.17
circa 1952 - 1956
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph Album
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.1
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph Album Title Page
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.2
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Barger Family Shooting in the Catskills
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.3
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Barger Family Shooting in the Catskills
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.4
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Couple Standing Outdoors
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.5
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of Foxhall Keene
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.6
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Woman Playing Golf
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.7
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of Samuel Barger and Foxhall Keene
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.8
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of Samuel Barger
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.9
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Man with a Bicycle
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.10
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Barger Family Shooting in the Catskills
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.11
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Barger Family Shooting in the Catskills
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.12
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Newport Country Club
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.13
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Newport Polo Grounds
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.14
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Newport Polo Grounds
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.15
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Woman and Child
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.16
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Family
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.17
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Group Standing with a Carriage
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.18
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of Milton Barger
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.19
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Woman with a Dog
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.20
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of Milton Barger with a Young Girl
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.21
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of Two Young Children in Touro Park
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.22
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of Two Men
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.23
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Man with a Dog
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.24
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Man Holding a Small Child
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.25
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of Two Women in a Carriage
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.26
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of Two Women in a Carriage
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.27
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Couple in a Carriage
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.28
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Two Women in a Sailboat
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.29
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Woman and Child
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.30
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Woman and Child
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.31
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of Two Children in Touro Park
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.32
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Casino Horse Show
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.33
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Casino Horse Show
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.34
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Casino Horse Show
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.35
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Casino Horse Show
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.36
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Casino Horse Show
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.37
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Casino Horse Show
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.38
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Casino Horse Show
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.39
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Casino Horse Show
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.40
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Casino Horse Show
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.41
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of Witnesses at the Ocean House Hotel Fire
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.42
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Ocean House Hotel Fire
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.43
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of Witnesses at the Ocean House Hotel Fire
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.44
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of Witnesses at the Ocean House Hotel Fire
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.45
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Ocean House Hotel Fire
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.46
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of People Watching the Ocean House Hotel Fire
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.47
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of People Watching the Ocean House Hotel Fire
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.48
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of People Watching the Ocean House Hotel Fire
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.49
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of People Watching the Ocean House Hotel Fire
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.50
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Young Girl
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.51
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Man and a Little Girl
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.52
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of the Ocean House Hotel Fire
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.53
circa 1896 - 1898
Box 1, Album 1 Photograph of a Horse-Drawn Carriage
Accession Number: PSNCA.H.007.18.54
circa 1896 - 1898