In our world of electronic and digital communications, one wonders what evidence of our day-to-day lives will exist for our descendants in the next century. Modern technology has given us the ability to be in almost constant touch with one another. But, will our emails and texts still exist a hundred years from now? For decades, letter writing was often an everyday occurrence for most people. Keeping in touch meant sitting down with pen and paper. Receiving a letter was often an exciting event, especially from someone miles away. And, for many, including Alexander Graham Bell and his family, these letters were something to be kept, not simply discarded once read. The Bells were profuse writers and as a result, their story can be told today through thousands of letters.
Born in Scotland in 1847, Alexander Graham Bell lived a unique life. Influenced by his father, Melville, a professor of elocution, and his deaf mother, Eliza; the loss of his brothers, Melville and Edward, to Consumption; and marriage to his deaf pupil, Mabel Hubbard, Bell left a legacy to the world that few could imagine living without. How this came to pass is best revealed through the letters between these individuals. Here, we present those letters to you.
From Brantford, Alec wrote to Mabel that he had received word that George Brown, former premier of Canada West, was in Toronto. This could present him with the opportunity of obtaining patents for his telegraphic scheme in England, if he could convince Brown to do so on his behalf.
Melville House, Brantford
Dec. 27th 1875
My dear May
Many thanks for your kind note put into my hands this afternoon.
I have just received a telegram from Charlie (who has returned to Toronto) — saying that the Hon. George Brown is still in town and wants to see me immediately.
I am just off for Toronto — and shall write you the news when I get there. It will be just like my luck if all comes out right after all. Everything does with me in the end.
P. S. Please don’t “Esq.” me. I like “Mr.” better. How would you like me to retaliate and address my next letter to you “M. G. Hubbard Esqrs.”? I am thinking seriously of doing so!
My friends here say that I am beginning to look like a regular Yankee! I shall have to wear my hair long again or they may insult me again by the same remark!
I am glad that you prefer a Scotchman to an American — and are content to become a loyal subject of Queen Victoria!
With much love
The Bell Letters are annotated by Brian Wood, curator, Bell Homestead National Historic Site.