American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Reason

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"Mr. Watson -- come here!

Lab notebook, March 10, 1876
Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922)
Lab notebook, March 10, 1876
The Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers
Manuscript Division

Alexander Graham Bell's notebook entry of March 10, 1876, describes the first successful experiment with the telephone, during which he spoke through the instrument to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, in the next room. Bell writes, "I then shouted into M [the mouthpiece] the following sentence: 'Mr. Watson--come here--I want to see you.' To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said."

Bell was born into a family deeply interested in speech and hearing. Both his father and grandfather were teachers of elocution, and throughout his life Bell had a keen interest in teaching the deaf to speak. Both his mother and the woman he married--Mabel Hubbard, one of his pupils--were deaf.

The Bell papers were donated to the Library of Congress by his heirs on June 2, 1975, the centenary of the day Bell discovered the principle that made the invention of the telephone possible. This extraordinarily rich collection totals about 130,000 items and documents in great detail Bell's entire career, ranging from his work on the telephone to his interest in aeronautics and physics.

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