Category Archives: Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell Typed Letter Signed Beinn Bhreagh letterhead

TLS, one page, 7.75 x 10.5, Beinn Bhreagh letterhead, November 27, 1907. Letter to S. R. Wrightington of Boston. In full: “Your note of Nov. 12 sent to Washington and the duplicate sent to me here have been received. I know nothing of any fund, ‘paid into court in Paris for my benefit which has never been withdrawn.’ I should be glad to have you look into the matter for me and let me know definitely the particulars.” Intersecting folds (one vertical fold passing through the last letter of his first name) and mild haloing to signature, otherwise fine condition. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope and duplicate note referenced in the letter, in which Wrightington informs Bell that he may have unclaimed money in a French account. Pre-certified PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.




Tags: , , , ,

RR Auctions Alexander Graham Bell Two original vintage notated photos

RR Auctions Alexander Graham Bell

Two original vintage notated photos. First glossy photo measures 5 x 3.75, is affixed to an 8.5 x 6.5 off-white mount, and shows a double wing kite high in the air. IN the lower portion of the mount, Bell writes “Kite A in the air flying from flag pole on top of . Photograph taken June 15/98 at Circle Kite Station.” Reverse of the mount bears an unsigned glossy 4.5 x 3.5 photo of Bell posing outdoors, string in his hands, with a small kite near his feet. Second glossy photo measures 5 x 3.5, also affixed to an 8.5 x 6.5 mount, shows a similar style kite high in the air, apparently tethered to a flag pole, notated in the lower border by Bell, “Kite A in the air flying from flag-post on top of Beinn Bhreagh. Photograph taken June 15 1898 at the Circle Kite Station.” Bell has crossed out an incorrect date to the notation, initialing the change “AGB.” Some light finish wear to kite photos, rippling and surface mark to photo of Bell, and some light toning and soiling to mounts, otherwise fine condition.

RR Auctions Alexander Graham Bell

When Alexander Graham Bell watched his friend Samuel Langley carry out early tests of his Aerodrome in the 1890s, the inventor’s mind turned to aviation. He began experimenting with kites made of many pyramid-like cells, which he called ‘tetrahedral kites,’ and believed they could be used as the basis for a heavier-than-air craft. Joining the race to design and build the first successful airplane, he assembled a small group of engineers and formed the Aerial Experiment Association (AEA). Though the AEA failed to beat the Wright brothers to success, they did make important contributions to early aviation (most notably Glenn Curtiss’s June Bug, which also brought extensive legal troubles from the famous brothers). These incredibly rare photos, holding Bell’s hand-written notes, offer a fascinating glimpse into the inventor’s lesser-known passion: aviation. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

Bidding for the Space & Aviation IV Auction opens Nov 15th & ends Nov 29th, 2012



Tags: , , , , , ,

RR Auctions Alexander Graham Bell “Bell’s letter to a trusted lab assistant”

TLS, one page, 8 x 10.25, Beinn Bhreagh letterhead, July 31, 1917. Letter to A.W. Clime, Volta Bureau, Washington, D.C. In full: “Many thanks for your note of July 27, with the proof of the first three pages of the Hyde Book. I return these, with one correction. They are O.K. and I want it gone ahead with.” Double matted and splendidly framed under glass in a 22.25 x 17.75 x 5.5 wooden display case with parts of an original Cracraft Leich Electric Co. wall phone. To the left of Alexander Graham Bell’s letter is the wooden panel of the wall phone with two bells and the mouthpiece. Two cloth cords attached to two of the six terminals beneath the panel extend to right and through a metal reinforced hole beneath the letter. Two wires from two terminals join in the space above the panel, forming one cloth cord which extends through the top of the display case and to the left where a receiver is hanging from the left side of the display case. Mounted on the right side of the display case is the crank and handle. In very good condition, with scattered blocks of toning, including over text and signature, a stamp remnant to top right corner, and a bit of mild rippling.

In 1880, the French government awarded Alexander Graham Bell the Volta Prize for the invention of the telephone. Bell used the prize money to establish the Volta Laboratory in Washington D.C. At the Volta lab, Bell, known for his work in a variety of research subjects beyond the telephone, worked on many projects with a small staff. Arthur Clime served as research assistant and office steward for Bell at the Volta Bureau in Washington beginning around 1911 at the age of 26. As noted in Bell’s lab notes, Clime would serve as a very useful lab assistant throughout his employment. Clime continued to work for Bell in a volunteer capacity as a steward of important research materials and archives in Washington while Bell spent more time in at Beinn Bhreagh, his estate in Nova Scotia, Canada. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

RR Auctions Alexander Graham Bell

Incredible and historically significant ALS signed “Your affectionate husband, Alec,” four pages on two adjoining lightly-lined sheets, 4.75 x 8, July 2, 1880. An outstanding letter to his wife, in full: “My darling, I am sorry to pain you-but I am thoroughly aroused as to the necessity of instant action on my part if I wish to avoid being deprived of whatever rights I may possess in the countries yet remaining to me. The action of the International Company is simply in-explicable and your father’s letter to Mr. Converse is so astounding (when we consider that he knows how dis-satisfied I have been) that I have determined that the International Company shall not be blindfolded regarding my feelings any more.

I am sorry that the letter was sent to the wrong Mr. Converse-but it cannot be helped now. I enclose a copy of my letter to the directors of the International Bell Telephone Co.-and a copy of the whole correspondence with Converse, Forbes, and the Intern. Co. will be sent to Mr. Hubbard. I think that I have contributed sufficiently to the pecuniary interest of the Hubbard family, and think it is now my duty to look after the Bells. I propose organizing a company myself for their benefit, and forego my Laboratory Yacht. I shall convert if necessary all my Continental stock into cash & invest it in the new company. Charlie will be here tonight to help me settle the preliminaries.

We can send Willie Ker to Europe and give employment to Charlie himself if he so desires. We will go to Europe on the top of the Photophone and Volta Prize-and I will make personal application for concessions &c. in the countries yet open to me and in this way try to place the members of the Bell family in as comfortable pecuniary circumstances as those of the Hubbard family.

‘The gods help those who help themselves’—and I intend to manage telephonic matters in future alone. I am worked up-tired-headaching-and all my nerves are trembling with excitement, so if there is anything in this letter extravagant, please excuse it. I will be with you Sunday morning. Don’t ask me to recall any letters. I believe I have only done what a MAN should do, and if the International & your father will not recognize me, I see no reason why I should continue to recognize them.”

In fine condition, with some scattered light toning, with one strip next to signature and passing through closing, light show-through from writing on opposing sides, and two horizontal mailing folds.

Bell married Mabel Hubbard in 1877 and gave her nearly all of his stock in the company as a wedding present, ensuring the “pecuniary interest of the Hubbard family.” She was the daughter of the Boston lawyer and later founder and first president of the National Geographic Society, Gardiner Greene Hubbard, who partnered with Bell and became the trustee and de facto president of the Bell Telephone Company. In 1879, Hubbard founded the International Bell Telephone Company to promote sales abroad. As the company sought to file patents and begin operations in Europe and around the world, Bell grew suspicious of its increasingly convoluted business transactions. At the same time, he was gifting the foreign rights to his invention to family members, occasionally coming into conflict with Hubbard’s actions as company president. During the summer of 1880, Bell’s resentment boiled over, and he charged Hubbard with mishandling a trust held for Hubbard’s own daughter and children. Bell’s letter refers to William Hathaway Forbes, an investor and later president of National Bell Telephone Company, as well as Elisha Converse, the rubber-soled shoe magnate and one of Bell’s first investors.

In his letter, Bell mentions the Photophone, a device he invented in 1880 allowing for the transmission of both articulated sounds and normal human conversations on a beam of light. Bell believed it to be his most important invention, but it took many decades for the principles of the device to be applied to practical applications. He also refers to the Grand Volta Prize, a French award established by Napoleon with a $10,000 cash prize that he won in 1880 for the invention of the telephone. An exceptional letter capturing the familial tensions surrounding Bell’s invention, with direct references to the invention that would change the world. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Alexander Graham Bell


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,