Alexander Graham Bell

Photo of Alexander Graham Bell
Born Alexander Bell in Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 3, 1847, he later adopted the middle name 'Graham' out of admiration for Alexander Graham, a family friend. Many called Bell "the father of the Deaf." This title may be regarded as somewhat ironic due to his belief in the practice of eugenics as well as his strong audist stance. While both his mother and his wife were deaf, he hoped to one day eliminate hereditary deafness.

His family was associated with the teaching of elocution: his grandfather in London, his uncle in Dublin, and his father, Alexander Melville Bell, in Edinburgh, were all professed elocutionists. The latter has published a variety of works on the subject, several of which are well known, especially his treatise on Visible Speech, which appeared in Edinburgh in 1868. In this he explains his method of instructing deaf mutes, by means of their eyesight, how to articulate words, and also how to read what other persons are saying by the motions of their lips.

Alexander Graham Bell was educated at the Royal High School of Edinburgh, from which he graduated at the age of 13. At the age of 16 he secured a position as a pupil-teacher of elocution and music in Weston House Academy, at Elgin, Moray, Scotland. The next year he spent at the University of Edinburgh. He graduated from University College London.