Bell pre­pares to pub­lish Vis­i­ble Speech pa­per

The Expositor (Brantford) - - WEEKEND - THE BELL LET­TERS

In our world of elec­tronic and dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions, one won­ders what ev­i­dence of our day-to­day 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.

A short let­ter from Alec to his par­ents re­vealed that he was in­tend­ing to take on the pub­li­ca­tion of a Vis­i­ble Speech pa­per. This, he felt, would give good insight into the progress that had been made with his father’s pho­netic al­pha­bet in teach­ing speech to the deaf. Although Alec was at this time work­ing at the devel­op­ment of his mul­ti­ple telegraph, no men­tion is made here. He knew his father did not ap­prove, feel­ing that his work should fo­cus on fur­ther­ing Vis­i­ble Speech.

Salem Mass Jan. 15th/74 Dear Papa, Mama, Car­rie and Char­lie

Just a line to re­port my­self in per­fect health. I am anx­ious to hear about Car­rie. Trust that the foot is get­ting on well.

I have not a mo­ment to spare. Work­ing like a Tro­jan. Up to all hours at night.

Con­ven­tion to be held at Worces­ter on the 24th of Jan­uary. Pre­par­ing a Pa­per for the oc­ca­sion.

Wish Papa could come. Why won’t you? Will you? Do come.

I in­tend com­menc­ing on the 1st of March “The Vis­i­ble Speech Pi­o­neer”. You have Ma­tri­ces for Vis­i­ble Speech types. Will you go halves with me in hav­ing some type cast from these for the use of the “Vis­i­ble Speech Pi­o­neer”? I can get the types set and the whole thing printed free of cost by let­ting it be done by the boys of Miss Fuller’s School. If you can let me have the ma­tri­ces here - I will take the ex­pense of types upon my­self if you will not be will­ing to share the ex­pense. I feel that it is im­por­tant that some­thing should be done NOW for the sys­tem - so as to be able to show progress be­fore the Con­ven­tion of Teach­ers of the Deaf and Dumb assem­bles in Canada in July. I shall write fully about Mr. Moyle etc., when I can snatch time. In the mean­time I must close. With fond love, Aleck P.S. Com­mence a new pupil (stam­merer) on Mon­day. Have three other ap­pli­ca­tions. AGB Prof. A.M. Bell, Brant­ford, Ont.

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

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