A Neglected Defender of the Humane Tradition: Canon Bernard Iddings Bell
(October 13, 1886-September 5, 1958)Clergyman, educator and social critic, Bell was born in Dayton,Ohio, and educated at the University of Chicago (B.A., 1907),Western Theological Seminary (S.T.B., 1912), The University ofthe South (S.T.D., 1923), and he also received numerous honorarydegrees. In college Bell temporarily rejected his EpiscopalChurch upbringing. Under the influence of a local Catholicpriest and his reading of G. K. Chesterton's
, Bellreturned to a belief in the classic, consensual tradition ofChristianity, and would spend the remainder of his lifedefending such a faith. Ordained a priest in the EpiscopalChurch in 1910, he served as vicar and dean of a midwesternEpiscopal church and cathedral during the next nine years untilhis appointment as President (Warden) of St. Stephen's College(now Bard College), where he served from 1919-1933. As acollege president, Bell demonstrated an unusual propensity forspiritual and administrative leadership. During the last threeyears of his tenure at St. Stephen's (1930-1933) Bell alsotaught at Columbia University.
The remainder of Bell's life was devoted to the religioustraining of adults, serving as Canon of St. John's Cathedral,Providence, Rhode Island (1933-1946), as well as Canon of theCathedral of Saints Peter and Paul and St. James CathedralChurch in Chicago. He also served as a consultant to theEpiscopal Bishop of Chicago on education, and as a highly