Arthur Hornbui Bell

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Arthur Hornbui Bell
AHB LB Portrait.jpg
Born (1891-02-14)February 14, 1891
New York City
Died March 1, 1973(1973-03-01) (aged 82)
possibly Bloomfield, New Jersey or Trenton, New Jersey
Resting place
possibly Trenton, New Jersey
Known for Ku Klux Klan
Title Grand Dragon
Spouse(s) Leah Hamlin (1895–1951)
Parents William John Bell
Ellen M. Jepson

Arthur Hornbui Bell (February 14, 1891 – March 1973) was an attorney and the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in New Jersey.[1]

Early years[edit]

He was born on February 14, 1891 in New York City to William John Bell of England.[2] Arthur was a member of a vaudeville team known as "Bell and Bell", after marrying Leah Hamlin (1895–1951).[3][4] They went to Europe after World War I in 1919 to entertain the troops, "for the boys," as a members of the "Y" and "Overseas Theater League under Y.M.C.A.".[5][6][7] Leah Bell rode a unicycle and Art and Leah had ventriloquism dummies shows.[8] Arthur Bell is known to have been a member of the "Over There" theatre organized under Benjamin Franklin Keith and visited Belgium, England, France, and Holland.[9] Art and Leah are also listed in the official record of the "Over There" theater as vaudeville players.[10]

Klan years[edit]

Around 1922, Bell became the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan for New Jersey.[11][12][13] In 1925 he wrote the introduction to Alma White's pro Klan book, The Ku Klux Klan In Prophecy:

This book brings out vividly the titanic struggle now taking place, not only in the United States, but over the entire world, and while at the present time the battle raging has not reached the point where bullets, swords and poison gas are the reasons used, the time will soon arrive when the Roman Catholic craving for world-power will, if not checked, cause a revival of a religious war that will be far more disastrous than the late World War. Bishop White deserves the highest praise for her work on this truly wonderful book of "light" and it is hoped that it may reach out into the minds of Protestants and Catholics alike and bring them to a sense of realization as to where this great un-American movement to make the world Catholic will ultimately end.[14][15]

In 1926, he wrote the introduction to Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty and he headed a group that converted Camp Evans into a Klan resort.[16] In the same year, he was paid $1,596.96 by the King Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan in New Jersey, to save the Kleagle's son, Roscoe Carl Ziegler, from charges of embezzlement.[17] In 1928, he called the New York Governor, Al Smith unfit to lead.[18] In 1940, James Colescott had him removed as head of the Klan of New Jersey.[19][20][21] He was also vice president of the German American Bund. His first wife's Leah spoke at many Klan events.[22][23] In 1940 he was investigated by the Dies Committee for plans to merge the KKK and the Nazi movement.[24] Bell was interviewed by the Military Intelligence Service and investigated for "disaffection" in 1942. The case was closed, "no further investigation appears warranted," and the report sent to J. Edgar Hoover.[9] Later in life he had changed his outlook and said: "I think tolerance should be taught in the public schools."[25]

He died in March of 1973 in New Jersey.

Publications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chalmers, David Mark (1987). Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan. ISBN 0-8223-0772-3. Clad in yellow robes, Arthur H. Bell, the Bloomfield lawyer, who had led the New Jersey Klansmen in the 1920s ... 
  2. ^ Wild, Michael R., great-grandson of Arthur H. Bell and Leah: downloaded copy of WW1 draft card and 1920 census for New Jersey, Essex county, Bloomfield.
  3. ^ Wild, Michael R., great-grandson of Arthur H. Bell and Leah picture of tombstone for Leah in Ovid, Michigan.
  4. ^ Women of the Klan. University of California Press. 1992. ISBN 0-520-07876-4. 
  5. ^ Wild, Michael R., great-grandson of Arthur H. Bell and Leah
  6. ^ "Arthur H. Bell passport application page 2". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  7. ^ "Arthur H. Bell passport application page 1". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  8. ^ Wild, Michael R., great-grandson of Arthur H. Bell from family stories and pictures. Pictures show the Arthur and Leah in Y.M.C.A uniforms in Europe in pictures clearly taken after the war
  9. ^ a b Wild, Michael R., FOI/PA No. 1133485-000 Unclassified 17 September 2009 case #690F-09: Investigation Report of Arthur Bell Army Air Forces
  10. ^ Entertaining the American Army. Association Press. 1921. p. 251. 
  11. ^ "The good of the Klan". Archived from the original on 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2008-08-14. The KKK first spread to New Jersey from the states of New York and Pennsylvania early in 1921 and has had a history of being a peaceful Klan. Attorney Arthur Bell was N.J.'s first and longest reigning Grand Dragon. He ruled the New Jersey KKK right up to the Klan's disbandment in the 1940's. His wife, Leah Bell, was the state leader of the Women of the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan's first strongholds were in Passaic, Bergen, Essex, Union, and Morris counties and in the area around Trenton and Camden. But the Klan grew strongest in Monmouth county. 
  12. ^ "Dragon's Praise". Time (magazine). January 3, 1927. Retrieved 2008-06-14. As long as TIME plays fair, it will remain a pleasure for me to receive my weekly copy. I note that some subscribers take exception to things you say about their "pet" ideas. You have rapped my Organization several times but this has not changed my opinion of TIME. In such cases I smile at your mistakes and misunderstanding and wait for the time to arrive when you will know facts. You can rest assured that TIME has a great future before it and will continue to build up a first class list of subscribers. 
  13. ^ White, Alma (1926). Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty. Pillar of Fire. The Introduction to this book is by Arthur H. Bell, Grand Dragon, Realm of New Jersey, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. 
  14. ^ Charles Wright Ferguson (1929). The New Books of Revelations: The Inside Story of America's Astounding Religious Cults. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 1-4179-7955-0. This book brings out vividly the titanic struggle now taking place, not only in the United States, but over the entire world ... 
  15. ^ Alma White (1925). The Ku Klux Klan In Prophecy. Pillar of Fire. This book brings out vividly the titanic struggle now taking place, not only in the United States, but over the entire world ... 
  16. ^ "Klan Has Summer Resort. Buys Old Marconi Radio Station of 396 acres (1.60 km2) on Shark River.". New York Times. June 20, 1926. Retrieved 2008-06-14. Establishment of a Summer resort for the Ku Klux Klan on the Shark River at New Bedford is being fostered by officials of the New Jersey Realm of the Klan. The project is in its first stages, but tents and bungalows have been erected. Only members of the Klan or affiliated organizations are admitted to the 396-acre (1.60 km2) reservation, which until a year ago was owned by the Radio Corporation of America and was known as the Marconi Radio Station. The property was purchased by the Monmouth Pleasure Club, a holding company of Klansmen, and is now State headquarters of the organization. The Klan is to give demonstrations of its strength on July 3, 4 and 5, and on the last day will parade along the Ocean Boulevard of northern seashore resorts. 
  17. ^ "Jersey Klan Head Sued by Ziegler Kin. Eloping Pastor's Parents Seek $1,596 Paid, They Say, to Avert Embezzlement Action. He Was Freed By Court. Couple Declare They Acted Without Advice. Minister and Wife Now in Virginia.". New York Times. March 13, 1926. Retrieved 2008-06-14. Alleging that they paid $1,596.96 to Arthur H. Bell of Long Branch, King Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan in New Jersey, to save their son, Roscoe Carl Ziegler, from prosecution on a charge of embezzling Klan funds, Mr. and Mrs. William E. Ziegler of Milford, Pa., filed suit today in the Court of Chancery here to recover the money. 
  18. ^ "Klan Dragon Calls Smith Unfit". New York Times. September 8, 1928. Retrieved 2008-08-14. Governor Smith was characterized as unfit spiritually, mentally and morally for the Presidency in an address here a tonight by State Dragon Arthur H. Bell of the Ku Klux Klan before an audience of 600, some of whom wore the uniforms of the Klan private police. ... 
  19. ^ "Jersey Klan Leader Doubts His Dismissal. Grand Giant Says Wizard Sent Message for Bund Rally.". New York Times. August 24, 1940. Retrieved 2008-06-14. [Arthur H. Bell has] been removed from the Klan by James Colescott, Imperial Wizard of the organization, as the result of a Klan meeting at the GermanAmerican Bt;nd s camp . ... 
  20. ^ "Jersey Klan Leader Repudiates Bund. Declares Imperial Wizard Is Opposed to All Alien Groups.". New York Times. August 23, 1940. Retrieved 2008-06-14. Arthur Bell of Bloomfield, Grand Giant of the Realm of New Jersey of the Ku Klux Klan, said in an interview at the Tri-County Country Clubhouse tonight that it was "too bad the reporters did not remain to hear the final speech at Camp Nordland Sunday night." 
  21. ^ "Klan Official's Ouster Decreed". Los Angeles Times. August 23, 1940. Retrieved 2008-06-14. James Colescott, Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. said tonight he had ordered the removal of Arthur Bell of Bloomfield, N.J., Grand Giant of the New Jersey Klan, as the result of a Klan meeting in a German American camp Sunday. ... 
  22. ^ Chalmers, David Mark (1965). Hooded Americanism: the first century of the Ku Klux Klan, 1865-1965. So was Arthur Bell, who with his wife, Leah, often represented the New Jersey 
  23. ^ Wild, Michael R., great-grandson of Arthur H. Bell, Leah was his first wife. He and Leah divorced and he re-married
  24. ^ Wyn, Craig Wade (1998). The Flaming Cross. When asked what he thought about a Klan-Nazi merger, Bell said that he had thought it a good idea at the time, 'but I don't now.' 
  25. ^ King, Jan (December 30, 1979). "The Bedsheets Are Flapping Again". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-14. The community of West Hoboken no longer exists. But it did 50 years ago, when I was born there and it was the state head quarters of the Ku Klux Klan. ... Eventually, Arthur Bell, a one-time Klan leader in the state, would admit: "I think tolerance should be taught in the public schools ... 

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