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Alexander Graham Bell: Electrical Transmission of Articulate Speech, 1912

Keeping to Himself

The documents pictured at right reveal a written discussion between The Franklin Institute's secretary and Alexander Graham Bell, in which the secretary asks for the title of the remarks Bell will be making upon receipt of his Elliot Cresson Medal. Bell's reply asks in a somewhat biting tone if such remarks might be dispensed with, in the interest of allowing him to enjoy himself. Though a handsome man unafraid of the public eye, Bell was always a solitary creature and became increasingly so as he aged. When working on inventions he became completely consumed by his work, and was also a veritable night owl. His thoughts were most lucid during the early hours of the morning, and he often took to solitary nocturnal rambles. He also had a habit of playing the piano far into the night, though this peculiarity did come as a disturbance to other members of his household.

Bellevue Hotel
A Room with a View - Documentation in the case file indicates that Alexander and Mrs. Bell stayed in Philadelphia's Bellevue-Stratford Hotel when Bell came to Philadelphia to be awarded his Cresson Medal. Located on bustling Broad Street, the Bellevue hotel (pictured above) first started hosting guests in the early 1900s. It still stands on Broad Street today, currently under the ownership of Park Hyatt. (780K)
Courtesy Regional Digital Imaging Center at The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

Secretary to Bell
R.B. Owens to Bell, Confirming Bell's hotel reservation, 5/13/1912. (1.4M)