Mr. Ernest Bell, chairman of the board of directors of G. Bell and Sons, Limited, publishers, since the death of his elder brother, Edward Bell, in November, 1926, died yesterday at Hendon, at the age of 82. He was perhaps better known to the general public for his interest in and connexion with the cause of humane work for animals and as a prominent vegetarian than as a publisher.
Ernest Bell was born in 1851, of Yorkshire parents, his father, George Bell, having been the founder of the publishing firm. He was educated at St. Paul's School, where he gained a scholarship for Trinity College, Cambridge: in 1873 he took his degree in mathematics, and he afterwards spent some time in Dresden studying the German language. Then he entered the firm, in which he and his brother became partners, in 1888.
Since 1874 Bell had been a convinced vegetarian, and in that same year he became the hon. secretary of the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at Hampstead. He was chairman of the National Anti-Vivisection Society; was a prominent member of the Humanitarian League, which he joined within a few months of its formation; was on the council of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; and also on the council of the National Canine Defence League. He was treasurer of the Pit Ponies Protection Society, of the Cats Protection League, and of other animal societies, and until recently was proprietor and editor of the Animals’ Friend magazine. On October 26, 1929, at a meeting at the Central Hall, Westminster, at which 22 separate societies were represented, a presentation was made to him in recognition of his work for the animal cause.
His activities as a publisher were by no means negligible. Apart from writings on animal welfare and food reform, he was responsible for several translations from the German which appeared in “Bohn’s Standard Library,” and for the editorship of the “All England Series of Athletic Sports.” He was perhaps the first among English publishers to develop an interest in the works of those American followers of Emerson of which “In Tune with the Infinite,” by R. W. Trine; is the best known example. Of spartan habits and simple tastes, Ernest Bell had little use for money save for what might be done with it to promote the causes he had at heart. For the furtherance of those causes he employed his means as lavishly as he expended his personality. Humanitarians and food reformers the world over will mourn the passing of this gentle spirit, in whom they have lost a sage counsellor and a tried friend.
In 1893 he married Marie A. Von Taysen.
The Times, September 15, 1933, p. 14