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The Associates of the James Ford Bell Library is an independent, all-volunteer charity that supports and promotes the programs, collections, and public outreach of the James Ford Bell Library at the University of Minnesota.

We help to sponsor exhibits, lectures, publications, fellowships, and public outreach programs. We help to build collaborations throughout the community. We offer events and activities only available to members, and we provide support for public events.  

The Library’s collections, focused on trade and cross-cultural interaction before ca. 1800, are recognized around the world as unique and important intellectual resources. The collections include rare books, maps and manuscripts that illuminate the history of global exploration and trade – a contemporary and relevant focus both culturally and economically.

The Associates are on a quest to find, welcome, and engage new members in support of the James Ford Bell Library.

We invite you to join us as we launch our first major membership campaign and prepare to celebrate fifty years of service to this remarkable international resource. 

Please sign up to receive updates and special invitations at the link to the right.

Click “Donate Now” to join.


2013-2014 EVENTS   

February 20, 2014 - Associates Winter Seminar

Curator Marguerite Ragnow will be discussing the James Ford Bell Library's Atlantic Collection.

February 26, 2014 - An Evening with Steve Berry

Join the University Libraries at 7:00 pm, Coffman Memorial Union Theatre, for An Evening with Steve Berry. Steve Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of The Lincoln Myth, The King’s Deception, The Columbus Affair, The Jefferson Key, The Emperor’s Tomb, The Paris Vendetta, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Venetian Betrayal, The Alexandria Link, The Templar Legacy, The Third Secret, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Amber Room. His books have been translated into 40 languages with 17,000,000 copies in 51 countries. History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel. It’s his passion, one he shares with his wife, Elizabeth, which led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009 Steve and Elizabeth have crossed the country to save endangered historic treasures, raising money via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners and their popular writers workshops. To date, over 2,000 students have attended those workshops.  Tickets available at (Public $15, Associates $10).


  • 3rd Thursday in February – Winter Seminar, benefit for members at the Navigator level and above
  • Last Thursday in May – Patron Lunch, benefit for members at the Voyager level and above
  • October – James Ford Bell Library Annual Lecture
  • December – James Ford Bell Library Annual Holiday Party