Outside the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site there is a phone booth emblazoned with the name Bell. Fitting as Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. But until I visited the National Historic Site dedicated to him in Baddeck, Nova Scotia I had no idea those phone booths could have someone else’s name on them if not for the love of a good woman.
Alexander Graham Bell followed in his father’s footsteps as a teacher of the deaf. One of his students, Mabel Gardiner Hubbard, captured his attention. Wanting to woo her, he quit as her teacher and undertook a successful campaign to become her fiancé.
Bell had created the telephone in 1876 and Mabel and her father wanted Bell to present it to the world at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Dedicated to his students, Bell refused, saying it would take him away from his work for too long.
Mabel changed history when she told Bell she wouldn’t marry him if he didn’t go to the Expo. Bell hurriedly packed a suitcase and became the star attraction when Emperor Dom Bedro of Brazil ordered 100 telephones. Mabel and Bell were married the next year.
Other inventors challenged Bell’s patent but he prevailed. According to interpreters at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site key evidence in his court defenses was a letter he had written to his mother describing his invention. From that point forward Bell carried a notebook to capture his musings.
The National Historic Site offers White-Glove tours with the chance to see artifacts from Bell’s life and touch some of them while wearing latex gloves. I felt like a historian as I gingerly picked up one of Bell’s notebooks and looked at the pages the great man had scribbled in. As a writer I always carry a notebook and pen to capture ideas or quotes, never knowing where inspiration will strike.
Now I know that isn’t just whimsy to write everything down. If I invent something, my notes might help me win a court case or if I become famous enough for a museum exhibit, there will be something to put in it!
If you go:
Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site is open from May to October. http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/ns/grahambell/index.aspxBr
The site overlooks beautiful Bras d’Or Lake. Take time to sail this inland sea with Sailing CBI Inc. http://sailingcbi.com
Keep your energy up with a lobster dinner at Baddeck Lobster Suppers www.baddecklobstersuppers.ca
Things you didn’t know about Alexander Graham Bell. Click to Tweet.
Discover how history was changed forever when Mable Gardiner Hubbard refused to marry Alexander Graham Bell. Click to Tweet.
Also published on Medium.