COLLECTION OF SIX EXTREMELY SCARCE OFFPRINTS BY ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL, INCLUDING FOUR PRESENTATION COPIES
BELL, Alexander Graham. Upon the Electrical Experiments to Determine the Location of the Bullet in the Body of the late President Garfield; and Upon a Successful Form of Induction Balance for the Painless Detection of Metallic Masses in the Human Body. WITH: Fallacies Concerning the Deaf, and the Influence of these Fallacies in Preventing the Amelioration of their Condition. WITH: Address upon the Condition of Articulation Teaching in American Schools for the Deaf. WITH: Growth of the Oral Method of Instructing the Deaf. WITH: The Question of Sign-Language and The Utility of Signs in the Instruction of the Deaf. WITH: The Growth of the Oral Method in America. Washington and Boston: Gibson Brothers, Rockwell & Churchill, and Sanders, 1882-circa 1917. Octavo, staple-bound or stitched as issued, original paper wrappers; pp. 58, 39, 72, 23, 29, 33. $2600.
First offprint editions, four of which are presentation copies, of six highly influential articles by Alexander Graham Bell on the subjects of deafness and his electrical experiments to find the bullet in the body of President Garfield.
A collection of six important first offprint editions of articles, speeches, and scholarly papers by Alexander Graham Bell. Drawn to the study of deafness by his mother's hearing impairment, "in 1868 Bell began his work for the deaf by teaching his father's system of 'visible speech' at a school for deaf children in Kensington… In 1873 he was appointed professor of vocal physiology and the mechanics of speech in the school of oratory of Boston University… So great was the interest aroused by his lectures and so successful were his methods, that he was invited by the University of Oxford to deliver a course of lectures on 'Speech' at the Taylor Institution in October 1878. Bell's chief aim in life was, indeed, to promote the welfare of the deaf" (DNB). In fact, it was through the study of physiological aspects of deafness that Bell invented the telephone, the proceeds from which he used to finance the Volta Laboratory, subsequently the Volta Bureau, an organization that worked to promote education and understanding about deafness. Although today many of Bell's ideas about deafness have grown outdated through the formation of a Deaf community, Bell nevertheless was an important advocate (along with his profoundly deaf wife Mabel Gardiner Bell) in a time when deafness was an almost insurmountable societal limitation. Also included among these works is Bell's report on the electrical experiments used to determine the location of the assassin's bullet in President Garfield's body. In 1881, Bell's "frantic efforts produced an adaptation of the induction balance that worked like a present-day mine detector and a probe combining a needle with a telephone receiver to produce a click when it touched metal. But the bullet was too deep for the first to pinpoint, and the surgeons chose not to try the probe, though afterward it was much used until superceded by X-rays" (ANB). Four of these works are presentation copies: Growth with pencil notation reading: "Gift Alexander Graham Bell," Articulation Teaching with slip reading: "Compliments of Alexander Graham Bell 1331 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, D.C.," Electrical Experiments and Fallacies with "With the Author's Compliments" printed on front wrappers.
Generally fine: a few small closed tears and faint creases, mild toning to wrappers of Fallacies and Articulation Teaching, one-inch chip to bottom corner of front wrapper of Articulation Teaching not affecting text. An exceptionally scarce collection of first offprint editions, including four presentation copies, in near-fine to fine condition.