Resounding, Performing Community

Bells signal to the community, and community members respond. This is the pat truism presented as the standard historical narrative for bells in the European middle ages and beyond, but as usual—it’s not quite that simple. So what if citizens or lay parishioners didn’t want to respond to the bell’s call? What would that look … Continue reading Resounding, Performing Community

Chicago Bell Tolls for the 9/11 Victims


Serendipity led me to this story about a bell from Chicago that tolled for the 9/11 victims in Manhattan. Rev. David W. Schlatter, a fire chaplain in Wilmington, DE, wanted to remember his friend and colleague Rev. Mychal F. Judge, who was a NYC fire chaplain who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. … Continue reading Chicago Bell Tolls for the 9/11 Victims

Bells Across the Land 2015, Part II

low angle shot of the famous ulysses s grant memorial

Ever have those days where you think “Ack! I forgot my camera, and I really need it now!” Of course you don’t—you’ve joined the 21st century and have your phone, computer, and camera all rolled up into one device. I’m still stuck in 1999 with my technology. I forgot my camera yesterday, and so failed … Continue reading Bells Across the Land 2015, Part II

Bells Across the Land 2015

On April 9th, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox, Virginia, symbolically ending the Civil War. Next week, exactly 150 years later, bells will ring out across the United States at 3:00 EDT to commemorate the end of this war. The National Park Service is leading the effort in … Continue reading Bells Across the Land 2015

Belgian Bells to Stanford

the arched entrance of stanford university in california usa

The folks at Stanford rhapsodized about their bells even before they had arrived! This poem was published in the Stanford Illustrated Review, vol. 42, no. 8 in 1941. The carillon was installed later that year in the spring, and it was obtained from the Belgian exhibition at the New York World’s Fair in 1939-40. “The … Continue reading Belgian Bells to Stanford

The Harkness Chimes at Yale

white clouds

Ah! When I hear those bells, I feel nostalgic for my college days! Or when I hear that glee club sing or marching band play! And THAT, my friends, is my dissertation in a nutshell. I’m sure I’ll come back to the topic of bells and nostalgia more on this blog. As part of my … Continue reading The Harkness Chimes at Yale

Saved by the Bell

black ring bell alarm clock

Bells regulated daily life in European monasteries, then European churches, cities, and universities. New World colleges were fashioned after those of the Old World, and so bells found a home on our campuses. I love this depiction below of the college bell in the lives of Yale students in the nineteenth century. Under the elms … Continue reading Saved by the Bell