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An independent charity, the Associates of the James Ford Bell Library is led by a board that is comprised of education, business, and civic leaders. The Associates take an active leadership role in assisting and supporting the Library’s collections, acquisitions, exhibits, and programs.

Board of Directors

James H. Anderson, President

Attorney at Law

James practices law in the areas of real estate, estate planning and probate. His favorite thing about the library is how it was created by Mr. Bell and the work that Jack Parker and his father, T.R. Anderson, and others did to make Mr. Bell’s collection part of the University of Minnesota and available to scholars around the world.

Wilson Yates Ph.D., Vice President, Planning

President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus in Religion, Society and the Arts at United Theological Seminary.

Dr. Yates is also the senior editor of ARTS, the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies and teaches in the field of religion and the arts.  His favorite piece in the James Ford Bell Library is the Martin Waldseemuller World Map.

Jennifer Johnson, Vice President, Communications

Senior Archivist, Corporate Archives, Cargill, Incorporated

Jennifer Johnson is the Senior Archivist at Cargill, Incorporated. She has previously worked at the Minnesota State Archives, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of History and Heritage Resources. She is active in leadership roles in professional organizations such as the Twin Cities Archives Round Table, Midwest Archives Conference, and the Society of American Archivists. As a member of the board of the James Ford Bell Library Associates, she hopes to help promote the collection to a broad audience. She is particularly intrigued by the French items in the collection.

Marguerite Ragnow Ph.D., Secretary

Curator of the James Ford Bell Library, member of the graduate faculty in History and Early Modern Studies at the University of Minnsota;  editor of Terrae Incognitae, the journal of the Society for the History of Discoveries.

One of Maggie's favorite items in the collection (since she can't choose just one) is a late 15th-century manuscript copy of Bartholomeus Anglicus’ encyclopedia, De proprietatibus rerum.  It is written on vellum in a beautiful hand with marvelous illustrations and illuminated decorations.  It is a symbol of both the state of knowledge and the transmission of knowledge on the eve of the Age of Discovery.

Ellen M. George, CFP, Treasurer

Principal, Family Philanthropy Advisors

While Ellen finds the entire collection fascinating, she particularly likes Waldseemuller's 1507 world map as it is the first map on which the name America appears. This, and other features depicted for the first time on a map, revealed a new European thinking about the world. 

Jaden Hansen

President, Museum of Minneapolis

Jaden is deeply interested in the collections of the James Ford Bell Library. He has a great interest in helping the Associates Board identify opportunities for collaborations and partnerships that may lead to a growing public awareness and understanding of this intriguing resource.

Victoria Harris Keller

Budding Nonprofit Leader

Victoria's favorite piece in the collection is the Homann, Johann Baptist, 1663-1724 (world 1719) due to the map detail, intensity of colors, references to the ancient world, celestial beings, and earthly changes (as seen with the sun and moon, volcano, rainbow).

David Lanegran

Professor Emeritus, Macalester College (Urban, human, and geographic education)

David is a retired professor of Geography at Macalester College, local historian, author, an avid map collector, and is active in the Minnesota Alliance for Geography Education. He is also a U of MN Alumnus and a former Bell Library seminar student. In 2010, David received the Association of American Geographers' (AAG) Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education award. David Lanegran loves to teach geography, explore the cities of the world and rural Minnesota. He is especially fond of local beers and the Nonya cuisine of Singapore. He is a great advocate for, and user of, the James Ford Bell collections.


Emeritus Trustees

Judith Anderson Brindley

Charles Hann

Martin Kellogg

John Larkin

Curtis Roy


Consultant to the Associates: Frances A. Nelson

Honorary Director: Ford Bell