Things look bright -- for now -- for Bell's Telegraphy

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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.


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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.


Favourable though it seemed that George Brown would apply for patents in England on his behalf, Alec soon would find that Mr. Brown was to be easily swayed by others. In this letter to his father, however, all was looking bright.

Queen’s Hotel
Dec. 28th, 1875

Dear Papa

I write these few lines to tell you not to expect me home till you see me. It is evident G[eorge] B[rown] intends taking up Telegraphy.

We had two long interviews to-day – and he requested me to wait and call again to-morrow. He asked me what interest I would give him.

I stated I would give him a one-half interest in foreign patents. He said it was satisfactory and he would think over it tonight. He and his brother seem very much interested.

Denouement soon.

Your loving

Prof. A.M. Bell

The Bell Letters are annotated by Brian Wood, curator, Bell Homestead National Historic Site.

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