The approximately 4,700 items in the online collection comprise correspondence, scientific notebooks, journals, blueprints, sketches and photographs documenting Bell's invention of the telephone, his involvement in the first telephone company, his family life, his interest in the education of deaf persons and his aeronautical and other scientific research.
The notebook in which Bell documents the famous command is described in the "Collection Highlights" section. Perhaps the
most humorous letter is one from Mark Twain to Bell's father-in-law, whom Twain addresses on the envelope as the "The Father-in-law of the Telephone." In this satirical complaint letter, Twain rails to Bell's father-in-law against the poor telephone service he has received in Hartford, Conn. Apparently, there is no night service and Twain is regularly cut off while practicing his cursing. The truth be told, despite his criticisms, Twain loved new gadgets, as evidenced by his embrace of the typewriter. It was Twain who submitted the first typed manuscript to a publisher.