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Collection Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers at the Library of Congress

1880 to 1887


  1. 1880

    The National Bell Telephone Company becomes the American Bell Telephone Company.

  2. February 15, 1880

    Marian (Daisy) Bell, a daughter, is born.

    Bell and his young associate, Charles Sumner Tainter, invent the photophone, an apparatus that transmits sound through light.

    [Marian Hubbard "Daisy" Bell, three-quarter length portrait, at eight years of age, standing, facing left, with dog]. Reproduction Number LC-G9-Z3-155,755-AB-2. Gilbert H. Grosvenor Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.
  3. Fall 1880

    The French government awards the Volta Prize for scientific achievement in electricity to Bell. He uses the prize money to set up the Volta Laboratory as a permanent, self-supporting experimental laboratory devoted to invention.

  4. 1881

    At the Volta Laboratory, Bell, his cousin, Chichester Bell, and Charles Sumner Tainter invent a wax cylinder for Thomas Edison 's phonograph.

  5. July-August 1881

    When President Garfield is shot, Bell attempts unsuccessfully to locate the bullet inside his body by using an electromagnetic device called an induction balance.

  6. August 15, 1881

    Death in infancy of Bell 's son, Edward (b. 1881).

  7. 1883

    At Scott Circle in Washington, D.C., Bell starts a day school for deaf children.

    Bell is elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

    With Gardiner Greene Hubbard, Bell funds the publication of Science, a journal that would communicate new research to the American scientific community.

  8. November 17, 1883

    Death in infancy of Bell 's son, Robert (b. 1883).

  9. March 3, 1885

    The American Telephone & Telegraph Company is formed to manage the expanding long-distance business of the American Bell Telephone Company.

  10. February 1887

    Bell meets six-year-old blind and deaf Helen Keller in Washington, D.C. He helps her family find a private teacher by recommending that her father seek help from Michael Anagnos, director of the Perkins Institution for the Blind.

    [Helen Keller, Annie Sullivan and Alexander Graham Bell, full-length portrait, seated outdoors]. Reproduction Number LC-G9-Z1 137 816-A. Gilbert H. Grosvenor Collection, Prints and Photographs, Library of Congress.